James Ignatowich is widely regarded as an exciting player on the PPA Tour with powerful drives, quick hands, and an energetic approach to the game. In Saturday’s mixed doubles semifinal match at the Desert Ridge Open, he proved exactly why he has earned his reputation: Ignatowich hit an around-the-post (ATP) shot that not only impressed pickleball fans but also secured the number one spot on ESPN SportsCenter’s Top 10 plays.
The Ignatowich ATP
While there have been many impressive ATPs on the tour, none have done it the James Ignatowich way. Tied at 5-5 in the second game against Thomas Wilson and Vivienne David, Ignatowich chased down a cross-court dink, flicked his wrist, and executed a no-look backhand ATP. He utilized the flip side of the paddle to strike the ball, delivering a powerful and clean passing shot in David's direction.
The shot is a true testament to Ignatowich’s exceptional athleticism and also marks a significant milestone for the sport, as it is the first pickleball shot to achieve the top honor on SportsCenter.
While SportsCenter has been showcasing their Top 10 plays segment for decades, pickleball was not featured until 2022. Since its initial inclusion, the sport has gradually gained more recognition on the segment, but it had never reached the number one spot until now.
Pickleball has already secured three mentions in the 2024 ESPN Top 10, with Catherine Parenteau among the notable shot-makers. Now with the season in full-swing, we can hope to see more remarkable shots from the PPA Tour featured.