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Tennis stars now playing pickleball as sport continues its rise in popularity

Pickleball is the fastest-growing sport in America

Recently, Andy Roddick, John McEnroe, Andre Agassi and Michael Chang stepped onto a smaller court than usual to offer an unprecedented display of mastery. The four legends faced off in the inaugural Pickleball Slam, an action-packed sporting event with a $1million purse held at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Hollywood, Florida.

For some, it may seem like the sport has rocketed to popularity out of nowhere. In truth, pickleball has been slowly gaining popularity for over a decade. Recently, however, the sport hit a tipping point and became the fastest growing sport in America.

In this article: Franklin Sports Pro Pickleball Paddle, Onix Graphite Z5 Graphite Carbon Fiber Pickleball Paddle and Gamma Sports 2.0 Pickleball Paddle.

How does pickleball differ from tennis?

In a NewsNation article, Roddick is quoted as saying, "As I'm walking through the (pickleball) rules, I saw they took away my youth with (limited) movement, and they took away my serve with having to serve underhand." But those aren't the only differences between pickleball and tennis.

  • Pickleball uses a hollow plastic ball.
  • Instead of racquets, pickleball uses paddles.
  • A pickleball court is smaller than a tennis court.
  • A pickleball court has a non-volley zone to prevent spiking.
  • A pickleball net is lower than a tennis net.
  • The rules of pickleball are considered to be easier to grasp than tennis.
  • The serving player/team gets one point for each score.
  • You must win by at least two points in pickleball.

Results of the Pickleball Slam

The Pickleball Slam was not without its engaging drama as McEnroe had a comical meltdown over Agassi's complaint that he wasn't ready for the winning serve. At the end of the event, however, Agassi and Roddick bested McEnroe and Chang in a 3-1 victory.

The singles matches were worth 1 point. In the first match, McEnroe defeated Agassi: 15-13, 16-14. In the second match, Roddick defeated Chang: 15-10, 15-10. The doubles game was worth two points, and Agassi and Roddick defeated McEnroe and Chang: 21-15, 23-21 and 12-10.

Best pickleball products

If you want to get started playing the sport, there are only three things you need: pickleball paddles, pickleballs and a court. With over 10,000 pickleball courts in the U.S., you should be able to find one relatively nearby, so all you really have to worry about are the paddles and pickleballs.

Franklin Sports Pro Pickleball Paddle

This is a pro-quality paddle that features vibration-dampening technology and a large sweet spot for exceptional control and precision play. It has a rugged polypropylene core for durability.

Sold by Amazon

Onix Graphite Z5 Graphite Carbon Fiber Pickleball Paddle

Onix is a leading pickleball paddle manufacturer. This medium-weight option has a carbon fiber frame with a honeycomb core that's suitable for any player, beginner through advanced.

Sold by Amazon and Dick's Sporting Goods

Paddletek Tempest Wave Pro Pickleball Paddle

The Paddletek Tempest Wave Pro is a high-end graphite pickleball paddle. It gives you power while offering precision and speed, making it an ideal option for the strategic player.

Sold by Amazon and Dick's Sporting Goods

Gamma Sports 2.0 Pickleball Paddle

If you're looking for quality at a reasonable price, this pickleball paddle is a solid option. It provides a balance of power and control that gives the beginner an advantage.

Sold by Amazon and Dick's Sporting Goods

Vinsguir Pickleball Set

This pickleball set comes with everything you need. You get two fiberglass paddles, two outdoor pickleballs (40 holes), two indoor pickleballs (26 holes) and a carry bag. 

Sold by Amazon

Amazin' Aces Pickleball Set

If you're looking for an entry-level option, this set comes with four paddles, four balls and a travel bag. The set comes with a one-year warranty.

Sold by Amazon

Monarch Outdoor Pickleballs (6-Pack)

This pack of six pickleballs features smaller holes, giving them a better flight for outdoor courts. They're built tough to retain their shape, even after big smashes.

Sold by Dick's Sporting Goods

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Allen Foster writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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