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The best pickleball paddles for tennis players

By Stephen Bass

on Aug 25, 2022

Catherine Parenteau hits a volley with her Selkirk Power Air.

Do tennis players have an advantage on the pickleball courts?

Although anyone can play and succeed in pickleball, regardless of their athletic background, individuals with experience in racket sports often exhibit accelerated proficiency. 

Notably, newcomers with a high-level tennis background frequently make impressive debuts on the professional pickleball scene. For example, James Ignatowich, a former Division I tennis player at Vanderbilt University is a mainstay on the PPA Tour.  

So yes, it can be an advantage. 

Key considerations for tennis players choosing a pickleball paddle

Tennis players transitioning to pickleball should look for pickleball paddles that mimic the feel and performance of a tennis racket to leverage their existing skills.

Optimal paddles for tennis players generally feature:

1) Longer handle for a familiar grip, which is especially useful for two-handed backhands

2) High spin capability to utilize topspin and backspin in shots

3) Heavier weight for a feel similar to tennis rakets

4) Elongated shape to mimic the racket's sweet spot

Advantages of a long-handled paddle

A longer handle on a pickleball paddle offers extra space for your non-dominant hand, which is essential for players who prefer a two-handed backhand. 

About 80% of tennis players use a two-handed backhand and when transitioning to pickleball because it gives players more power and increased stability.

On average, pickleball paddle handles range from 4-6 inches. A paddle that features a handle measuring 5.25 inches or longer is considered "long-handled."   

susannah barr at a pickeball tournament holding her paddle

The importance of spin in pickleball

Tennis players often learned to strike the ball in such a way to generate spin, a practice that easily translates to pickleball. That's why a paddle specifically designed to generate spin is a massive weapon for former tennis players. 

Several Selkirk Sport pickleball paddles, such as the Vanguard Power Air feature a long-lasting maximum spin surface, allowing players to maintain consistent control and shape their shots effectively.  

See how our Pro Spin+ texture stood up against the competition:

Why should I want to put spin on the ball?

It is not uncommon for new players to put too much focus on spin, so don’t overdo it if you are just starting out. 

But when you become more comfortable striking the ball, spin adds to your shot selection and allows you to be more aggressive. You can put topspin, backspin, and even side spin on the ball to make your shots difficult for your opponents to handle.

As the game evolves, aggressive playing styles are becoming more common. To stay competitive, it is important to be comfortable using power and spin to control the court. Your paddle should allow you to generate that power and spin with ease.

Why should a tennis player use a heavier pickleball paddle?

A pickleball paddle is obviously going to be lighter than a tennis racket, a heavier paddle can simulate the weight and feel of a tennis racket, allowing consistent and controlled groundstrokes. 

A typical tennis racket weights 10.6 ounces, while the average pickleball paddle weights 7.8 ounces. However, several Selkirk paddles offer weights up to 9.0 ounces to give tennis players a more familiar option. 

Heaver paddles allow player to generate more power. And if you still feel 9.0 ounces is too light, you can reach your desired weight with the addition of lead tape. 

Benefits of an elongated paddle

If the goal is to find a pickleball paddle that closely resembles a tennis racket, the elongated shape is the best option. An elongated-shaped paddle has a“longer” face which feels similar to a tennis racquet because of the “higher” sweet spot. 

But what is an elongated paddle?

Elongated paddles increase the length of the paddle face, which requires you to decrease the width to stay within the total surface area allowed by the USAPA rule book. This creates a slimmer paddle face than a “traditional” or “classic” paddle shape, but it increases your reach. 

Recommended pickleball paddles for tennis players

There isn’t one definitive answer to this question, but these paddles offer the features discussed above to help you translate your tennis skills to the pickleball court.

1. The Vanguard Power Air Invikta 

  • A long handle (5.25 inches), a carbon fiber face for enduring spin, and an enlongated shape for a higher sweet spot. 
  • Weight: 7.7-8.2 ounces

2. The Luxx Control Air Invikta

  • With a long handle (5.35 inches), thick core, and carbon fiber face, the Luxx is beneficial for tennis players looking to add spin and control to their game. 
  • Weight: 7.8-8.1 ounces

3. The Vanguard Control Invikta

  • An octagonal handle (measuring 5.5 inches), which many former tennis players prefer because it allows them to easily switch between continental and other grips. 
  • Raw carbon paddle face, designed to offer supreme spin
  • Weight: 7.7-8.1 ounces

4. The SLK Halo XL

  • Used by former tennis player Parris Todd, the SLK Halo XL features an elongated face and ultra long handle (5.75 inches)
  • Perfect for players ranging from beginners to professionals
  • Weight: 7.7-8.0 ounces

Selkirk Sport provides a range of paddles designed for different playing styles. Use our paddle comparison tool to find the best paddle for you, whether you're looking for power, control, or spin.

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