I Played The #1 Team In The World And Had The Biggest Mixed Doubles Win Of My Career!

Mar 16, 2023

Hey!

After almost letting it slip away, we got the win. 

Now, before I tell you what happened, a quick note: I’m going straight Diary Entry here! 

The title? I got the biggest mixed doubles win of my career and later played the #1 team in the world.

LET’S GO! (can you tell I’m excited to share?)

_____________________________

Dear Diary,

Jennifer and I won our first Mixed Doubles Main Draw match against Tyler Loong and Regina Franco 12-10 , 11-8.

It’s about damn time. Jen and I have been so close to big wins time and time again. In fact, we played Tyler Loong two weekends ago in Minnesota and lost 13-11 , 11-7. That’s been a theme for us.

Almost winning against top teams.

But not last weekend. We got it done.

It was a mini breakthrough for us! And if you want to watch that match, it’s on youtube here!

In our next match, we played Tyson Mcguffin and Catherine Parenteau. It was my first time playing both. And I was hoping they’d put us on center court for this one. The storyline woulda been awesome. 

Tyson Impersonator goes up against the real Tyson. Now, that’s good content 😂.

Unfortunately, it didn’t happen! 

But what did happen is Jen and I played some really good pickleball in game 1. We were up 8-6 in the first game and honestly, I think they were surprised. For about 5 points, I played out of my mind.

Now, the tough thing about playing top players is, they stay consistent, limit unforced errors, and wear you down. 

Which is what they did. 

They came back and won that game 11-8 and then won the next one handily. Overall, a good match. About 5 minutes later, we got the call to get back on court to play Zane Navratil and Lina Padegimaite. We didn’t play well and they took care of us pretty good 15-6. 

Overall, A GREAT day of progress!

THEN CAME “MEN'S DOUBLES DAY.” 

I partnered up with my guy Craig Johnson. Trust me, no one loves pickleball more than this guy! In fact, the guy literally just called me and interrupted me writing this to talk strategy!

The call lasted 42 minutes. We talked about middle dinks and techniques for how to improve our backhand flicks 😂. We can’t get enough. But more on that another time. Back to what happened in Daytona. 

Our first round match was TOUGH. We played Michael Forster and Jack Foster. We ended up winning 10-12 , 11-7 , 11-8. 

While Craig and I have trained together a lot and played rec, we’d never played a tournament. And it showed. We both had nerves. But it felt good to push through, dig deep, and earn that win.

After reflecting on the match, we both shared something similar with one another... We didn’t want to let the other one down. There’s definitely a mutual respect between us where we really wanted to win for the other player. That’s pretty neat! 

After we won, we were pumped. We knew the Johns Brothers, the #1 team in the world, were our likely 2nd round match.   

ALTHOUGH, they had a tough first round. Shoutout to my guy John Davison and his partner Joshua Reason. They pushed the Johns brothers to 3 games. Eventually losing 11-1 , 7-11 , 11-5. 

As we waited for the match, Craig and I sat in the players lounge. We got some food in us and hydrated — mentally preparing for what was to come. Then the text came! 

Against the Johns brothers, the odds are always against you. They’re undefeated on the year and unquestionably the toughest team in pickleball. So with nothing to lose, we kept telling each other, “Just play free.”

We lost 11-2 , 11-9.

The first game was a bit odd. Craig and I were definitely nervous, and the brothers definitely weren't taking it seriously. Honestly, it felt a bit disrespectful to the game for how nonchalant they were playing. You’ll see what I mean if you go watch.

The worst part was, they were still whooping us playing that way — because they’re just that good.

After game 1 ended, Craig and I reminded each other to compete! We wanted to get the fans involved because we knew they were rooting for us. And that’s exactly what happened.

We came out playing well. And led most of the game. In fact, we had the longest point in PPA history (i think history). 109 Rallies. Trust me. Craig’s legs were sore after this one!

We got up 9-8 in the second game. And during two different points, I had a forehand speed-up that would have put us up 10-8. If I woulda just made one of those, I woulda lost my mind. Lol. because I've been relentlessly working on both of those shots that sailed just long. They were two frustrating misses I would go for again because I believed they were the right shot. 

Near the end, we made a few errors and they took the second game 11-9. You can watch the match here! Overall, Craig and I were pumped with our performance on the day.

Both our phones blew up from our friends back in Phoenix! That was a cool feeling. Another cool text I got was from my aunt. It really put things in perspective for me.

This was neat to read. 👇

Besides reading that text from my aunt... Maybe the coolest moment of this whole day was, after we finished the match, Craig and I walked up to the Players Lounge, where about 15 players were sitting. AJ Koller, Thomas Wilson, Rafa Hewett, Dekel Bar, and Dave Weinbach to name a few.  

And when we walked in, they were just clapping and cheering us on. Craig and I know most of those players there, so they were rooting for us. BUT also, they were taking bets on how we would do so they were extremely engaged in the match 😂.

Side Note: I’m smiling as I write this days later because that whole day was incredible. The atmosphere. The competition. The support. All incredible.

And my final thoughts:

  1. This was a tournament where I started to see things I’ve been working on come together. That was cool! 
  2. I’ve played 10+ tournaments with Jennifer and we’ve grown together to have this breakthrough moment. That was cool! 
  3. More than ever, I believe I can play with the best. No, actually, now more than ever, I believe I can become one of the best. That is cool!

I’m off to bed soon! Waking up tomorrow to go at it again at the PPA Austin tournament this weekend!

Talk to you next week,

Kyle

PS: I made a video breaking down the rules of the game and how the scoring works. And I know most people reading this already know the rules, but save the link and send it to a friend who’s just starting out. I made it to speed up the process for new players to learn and save the heartache for experienced players to try to teach. Hope it helps!

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