'Sorry To Say': Ruud Gives Honest Verdict On Pickleball

'Sorry To Say': Ruud Gives Honest Verdict On Pickleball

by Nurein Ahmed

Pickleball has garnered mixed reactions from tennis players and fans in terms of relevance and Casper Ruud has weighed in on the discourse.

From a 2023 report by the Sports and Fitness Industry Association (SFIA), pickleball is estimated to have grown by 52% in the past year in the USA, which translated to 13.6 million Americans who played it.

It is the fourth most played sport in the United States, behind only basketball, tennis, and football. What is bewildering is that the number has grown exponentially year on year.

In 2022, a total of 8.9 Americans played it; the same year, pickleball was recognized as the official state sport of Washington. Now, it has its own tour and thousands of tournaments being held both at national and international levels.

Pickleball's popularity and mass appeal have netted even the biggest names in tennis to try it, with the likes of John McEnroe, Andre Agassi, Steffi Graf, and Maria Sharapova all taking part in the second edition of the Pickleball Slam, which offered $1 million in prize money to the winners.

Because of its short learning curve and the growing list of tennis players taking it up at a professional level, retired tennis legend Roger Federer is considering playing it at some point.

Recently, Eugenie Bouchard joined the likes of Jack Sock and Sam Querrey in coming pickleball pros. The Canadian won her first-ever pickleball match at the start of April.

But not all tennis players are massive fans of the sport. Three-time Grand Slam finalist Casper Ruud admitted he has never tried to play pickleball, calling it "odd" during an interview while promoting the tennis game TopSpin2K25.

"Pickleball, I'm gonna have to go with out. I know its big here in the states. I never tried it, but maybe I'm never the right one to say. Seems odd to me. Sorry to say."


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