PPA MASTERS PREVIEW: 2023 SEASON KICKS OFF WITH NEW PARTNERSHIP AND HISTORICALLY DEEP BRACKETS
In what promises to be another landmark year in professional pickleball for the PPA Tour, the 2023 tournament schedule kicks off with a bang in the form of the Masters held in the beautiful desert city of Rancho Mirage, California. On top of having some of the deepest and most competitive brackets in professional pickleball history, the Masters will also mark the return of the classic all-green courts and all-white attire that this event has become known for.
Following the historic merge between the Professional Pickleball Association (PPA) Tour and Major League Pickleball (MLP), many pros will be hoping to impress and kick off the 2023 campaign in a particularly challenging field. Below is an event preview for what promises to be an intriguing weekend of high stakes pickleball:
Thursday, January 12:Women’s Singles - In a field of 17, Catherine Parenteau enters the singles bracket to kick off a big weekend for her as she makes her debut as a member of Team Selkirk after the announcement of her new sponsorship was released on Tuesday. Top seeded Anna Leigh Waters will seek to kick the year off with another PPA Singles title, and perhaps will be eyeing a triple crown as well this weekend. Other names to keep an eye on include Mary Brascia, who made noise in singles on the APP Tour last year, as well as Salome Devidze and Lea Jansen.
Men’s Singles - A stacked field of competitors will take the court in a bracket of 76 total participants. Tyson McGuffin and his crafty forehands will be on center stage against other massive names, including the likes of Ben Johns, JW Johnson, Dylan Frazier, Ryan Sherry, Jay Devilliers, Zane Navritil, and many more. The name that jumps off of the page in this field has to be former professional tennis player Sam Querrey, who makes his return to the largest stage in pickleball after participating in the PPA Bubly Team Championships in Las Vegas last month. Following his selection as the #1 pick of the MLP Challenger Division Draft, eyeballs will be on Querrey all weekend.
Friday, January 13:
Mixed Doubles - A new year comes with new partnerships at the highest level of pickleball. Mixed Doubles will include both a play-in and main draw, with several new partnerships of note. The all-Selkirk duo of Tyson McGuffin & Catherine Parenteau will look to make some noise. A team of youngsters in Dylan Frazier & Anna Bright will also be a pairing to keep an eye on. Jessie Irvine has paired up with Matt Wright in what will be an interesting stylistic partnership, and they will be among the favorite contenders considered to pull off an upset over the top seeded Ben Johns & Anna Leigh Waters. Other pairings that will be looking to make a run at some silverware at the Masters include Jay Devilliers & Callie Smith, JW & Jorja Johnson, and Mary Brascia & Mario Barrientos.
Saturday, January 13:
Women’s Doubles - As Leigh Waters continues to recover from a knee injury at the end of last year, top-ranked Anna Leigh Waters enters 2023 with new teammates in women’s doubles, and this weekend she will be taking the court alongside the hard-hitting Anna Bright. This first-time partnership will be tested against a high-level pool of contenders. The Southern-California based Brascia sisters, Mary and Maggie, will look to kick the new year off strong in their home state. The accomplished Callie Smith & Lucy Kovalova also enter this weekend as favorites to reach the podium. Other teams to keep in mind include Irina Tereshenko & Jessie Irvine, Lea Jansen & Allyce Jones, and Catherine Parenteau & Yana Grechkina. Sam Querrey will also make his official mixed doubles debut as he enters the qualifier bracket alongside the experienced Christa Gecheva.Men’s Doubles - The top two men’s doubles partnerships of 2022 remain intact to kick off 2023 in the form of Ben & Collin Johns and Matt Wright & Riley Newman. Tyson McGuffin will kick off his year by giving the nod to the fast-rising star James Ignatowich, as this new partnership guarantees to bring firepower and energy with their Vanguard Power Air Invikta paddles. Dylan Frazier & JW Johnson, both in their early 20s, will hope to make a podium run. Other intriguing partnerships include Jay Devilliers & DJ Young, and Thomas Wilson & Zane Navritil. Sam Querrey will also be active in the bracket alongside the athletic and always-entertaining Wes Burrows.