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Top Male Pickleball Players to Watch Out in 2024

Top Male Pickleball Players: As pickleball continues to grow in popularity, 2024 is shaping up to be an exciting year for the sport. Whether you’re a seasoned fan or new to the game, these players are assured to make significant impacts on the courts: Here’s a look at the top male pickleball players to watch this year.

Path to Professional Pickleball

Becoming a professional pickleball player involves more than just talent. Both major tours, the Professional Pickleball Association (PPA) and the Association of Pickleball Players (APP), allow any player to pay the registration fee and enter professional draws. However, new entrants often face qualifying rounds before reaching the main draw, where top-ranked players compete.

For new pros, covering expenses, which can total over $40,000 annually, is crucial. This includes entry fees, travel, lodging, and meals. With about 150 contracted players in the PPA and Major League Pickleball receiving travel expense coverage and salaries, only those who advance in the main draw earn prize money, making each match essential.

In 2024, The Top Contenders

Ben Johns: Ben Johns, from Laytonsville, Maryland, now residing in Austin, Texas, has dominated pickleball since its inception. The 2023 PPA Tournament Finals champion in men’s singles, men’s doubles, and mixed doubles. He remains the player to beat in 2024.

Federico Staxrud: Federico Staxrud, originally from Buenos Aires, recently overtook Ben Johns as the number one ranked player in men’s singles. His consistency is notable; he reached the singles final in the first nine events of 2024 and won nine career singles gold medals. Staxrud also ranks in the top 10 in doubles, showcasing his versatility.

Colin Johns: Colin Johns, Ben’s older brother, excels in men’s doubles. Since partnering with Ben in 2021, the duo has won over 30 men’s pro doubles titles. Colin consistently holds a top-five doubles ranking, making the Johns brothers a formidable team.

J.W. Johnson and Dylan Frazier: Florida-based J.W. Johnson and Dylan Frazier have emerged as dominant forces in men’s pro doubles. With four doubles titles in 2024 and a total of nine career titles, they are considered the second-best men’s pro doubles team. Their synergy and strategic play make them a team to watch.

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Veteran Players and Rising Stars

Tyson McGuffin: Tyson McGuffin, a veteran with 13 career gold medals, was the top player when professional tours began in 2020. Despite the rise of new talent, McGuffin maintains his top-10 rankings, remaining competitive and respected in the sport.

Thomas Wilson: Thomas Wilson has risen to prominence in mixed doubles, currently ranked number two. Known for his skills as a right-side doubles player, Wilson’s strategic play makes him a key figure in doubles competitions.

Riley Newman and Matthew Wright: Riley Newman and Matt Wright were the second-best men’s doubles team for years, making 20 straight podiums together in 2022 and 2023 before parting ways. Both players remain highly ranked and dangerous in doubles and mixed events, showcasing their individual talents and experience.

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New Entrants Making Waves

Jack Sock: Former top US professional tennis player Jack Sock transitioned to professional pickleball in 2024. Despite being new to the sport, Sock quickly found success, ranking in the top eight in men’s singles and earning three medals—one silver and two bronzes. His tennis skills have seamlessly translated into pickleball.

James Ignatowicz: James Ignatowicz has faced challenges with injuries in 2024, but he remains a seasoned player with over 20 career medals. His resilience and determination keep him competitive, and he is ready for a comeback.

Jay De Villiers: Jay De Villiers, a veteran player with nearly 40 career medals, is also one of the busiest coaches in the sport. His extensive experience and strategic insight make him a formidable opponent and a respected figure in the pickleball community.

Andre Dascu: Andre Dascu dominated the APP circuit in 2023 and early 2024 before switching to the PPA. With 26 career gold medals on the APP and a first-round draft pick in the MLP, fans eagerly await Dascu’s transition to the PPA. His aggressive play and adaptability make him a top contender.

Christian Alshon: Christian Alshon has quietly risen to become one of the best all-around pro players on the PPA Tour in 2024. With 13 PPA medals, top 10 rankings in all three disciplines, and being a first-round MLP pick, Alshon’s consistency and skill set him apart as a player to watch.

Christopher Haworth: Former Oklahoma State tennis player Christopher Haworth has quickly climbed the ranks in pickleball. Currently ranked number one on the APP, Haworth made headlines by defeating Ben Johns at the USA Pickleball Nationals and recently winning his first PPA Singles Pro Medal. His rapid ascent and tennis background make him a standout player.

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News in Brief: Top Male Pickleball Players

The competitive pickleball scene in 2024 features top male players like Ben Johns, Federico Staxrud, and emerging talents such as J.W. Johnson and Dylan Frazier. Ben Johns remains dominant with over 125 titles, while Staxrud has recently surpassed him in singles.

Veterans like Tyson McGuffin and Jay De Villiers continue to excel, and newcomers like Jack Sock and Christian Alshon are making significant impacts.

Dynamic doubles teams, including the Johns brothers and Riley Newman with Matt Wright, remain formidable. The evolving landscape is marked by intense competition, strategic play, and rising stars shaping the future of professional pickleball.

Our Reader’s Queries

Q. Does Collin Johns play mixed doubles?

A. He is currently ranked No. 2 in Men’s Doubles and No. 26 in Mixed Doubles on the PPA Tour. Previously, he was in the top 10 in Men’s Singles. He is also the brother of Ben Johns, and together they have won over 25 Men’s Doubles titles.

Q. Who is the top male pickleball player?

A. Ben Johns, from Laytonsville, MD, and now living in Austin, TX, is the undisputed #1 male pickleball player in the world. In 2023, he won the PPA Tournament Finals in Men’s Singles, Men’s Doubles, and Mixed Doubles.

Q. Where is Federico Staksrud from?

A. A native of Buenos Aires, Argentina, Staksrud was ranked among the top seven in the nation’s under-18 rankings.

Q. How old is Dylan Frazier pickleball?

A. At only 21 years old, Dylan Frazier is one of the most impressive pickleball players. He began playing at 14 and has built an impressive history for his age, despite not having a professional tennis background.

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