Eugenie Bouchard shocked the tennis world this week by announcing she will join the Professional Pickleball Association (PPA) Tour in 2024.
The former Wimbledon finalist and world No. 5 is the latest tennis pro making the switch to the fast-growing sport of pickleball. She joins other big names like Jack Sock, Madison Keys, and the Bryan brothers who have also traded their tennis racquets for pickleball paddles.
Pickleball, a sport that combines elements of tennis, badminton and ping-pong, has exploded in popularity in recent years. With its smaller court size and dual court setup, pickleball is easier on the joints than tennis. This appeals to current and former tennis players looking to prolong their athletic careers.
The PPA Tour offers big prize money and attracts major sponsors like Hyundai and Barbasol. These factors likely appealed to Bouchard as she looks to revive her career. She has struggled with injuries and has seen her tennis ranking plummet to No. 1,028.
Switching sports is always risky, but Bouchard sees major upside in pickleball. She already has a killer instinct from tennis, and her solid groundstrokes should transfer nicely to pickleball’s smaller court. Her crisp volleys will also be an asset at the net.
Bouchard has the athleticism and competitive drive to thrive in her new sport. Her star power gives pickleball an even bigger boost in credibility and popularity. She will surely inspire more tennis players to make the jump.
The influx of tennis stars has sparked debate in the pickleball world. Some think it will elevate the sport, while others worry the pros will dominate tour events and freeze out amateur players.
One thing is certain – Bouchard’s move has made major waves. Love it or hate it, her presence in pickleball will shake things up. Expect fireworks when the PPA Tour tees off in 2024.