The Top Talent in Pickleball Are Heading To ATL for the PPA Peachtree Classic
The PPA is going to Georgia for the Peachtree Classic this weekend, in…you guessed it… Peachtree City, 30 miles southwest of downtown Atlanta!
Storylines entering the tournament:
- Riley Newman makes his return after a one-tournament hiatus
- JW Johnson and Dylan Frazier back in a PPA event
- No James Ignatowich, Hunter and Yates Johnson nor Lindsey Newman
- Parris Todd could once again challenge Anna Leigh Waters in singles
This event is kicking off with men’s singles, so we will do the same! With no APP tournament this weekend, the PPA will receive some additional top-level talent, including Federico Staksrud, who has won gold in his last three tournaments, JW Johnson and Dylan Frazier.
These players will clash with the PPA’s best singles players, leading with number one-ranked Tyson McGuffin, along with Ben Johns and Jay Devilliers. Since Johns missed out on some hardware last weekend, look for the 23-year-old to have some extra pep in his step.
Missing from this bracket are last weekend’s PPA silver and bronze medalists Hunter Johnson and Yates Johnson, respectively. Yes, they’re brothers! Yes they’re twins! In addition, former division I tennis player James Ignatowich will be out of the action.
This is exactly what pickleball fans have been waiting for: the possible rematch between Anna Leigh Waters and Parris Todd. The last time these ladies faced, Todd gave the 15-year-old phenom her first singles championship loss of the year at the PPA Orange County Cup in July. Todd is scheduled to play, but remains undecided at the time of writing. She hasn’t played singles in a tournament since her injury at the MLP Newport Beach event in August.
Waters has been on an absolute roll this year in singles, clearly establishing herself as the number one women’s player. Todd has been the only woman to stand in her way. Outside of these two ladies, Catherine Parenteau and Lea Jansen have frequently earned second, with former Georgian tennis player Salome Devidze consistently podiuming as of late.
Waters and Johns enter this bracket as the clear favorites, though the wizards of Wichita in Lucy Kovalova and Matt Wright are technically ranked number one. Kovalova and Wright will look to make amends from their last performance where they missed out on the podium losing to Jessie Irvine and Devilliers. Irvine and Devilliers got their first silver medal as a duo last weekend and will look to exchange that for a gold, in a stacked field.
JW Johnson is not competing in this bracket, meaning we won’t see Johns and Johnson battle it out in mixed. Riley Newman is back on tour after his one-tournament hiatus. With his sister, Lindsey Newman out, he will team up with former Michigan State tennis player Catherine Parenteau. That will leave Collin Johns, who has partnered with Parenteau in the past, to play with Lina Padegimaite. Todd will get a new partner in Missouri-product, Frazier.
The rivalry should continue! Now that Newman is back, he will play alongside his 2022-partner Wright, where they have beaten the Johns brothers in the finals the last two times they have met there. The last time they played each other was at the PPA Tournament of Champions, where things got extremely heated. Both Newman and Wright were jawing at the brothers throughout the match, with Newman even wagging his finger at them after the conclusion of one of their games. If everything goes well for the fans, this rivalry will be revitalized.
Standing in their way will be Johnson and Frazier, who create lots of noise almost every time they enter a PPA tournament. In their last tournament together in the PPA, they took bronze after battling back in the consolation bracket. McGuffin and Devillers, last weekend’s silver medalists, could be on track to attend back to back championship Sundays, especially with Devilliers playing some of his best pickleball we have seen. No Thomas Wilson, so AJ Koller is playing with hard-hitting Ben Newell.
This bracket is almost always a four-team race: Kovalova/Callie Smith, Anna Leigh/Leigh Waters, Irvine/Anna Bright and Parenteau/Jansen. Irvine and Bright showed last tournament that they can compete with the best of the best, winning their first gold as a duo. It was also Bright’s first PPA first place finish. With the Waters not even medaling (after withdrawing after their winner’s bracket loss), they will definitely be hungrier than ever for some hardware.
Same goes for Kovalova and Smith, who also didn’t stand on the podium their last go around. Outside of these top four, the one team that could surprise the bracket would be Todd and Irina Tereschenko. Todd got her first women’s doubles gold medal last weekend, doing so at the APP tournament. While they’ll be hoping for gold, anything on the podium would be very impressive for this team.
When to Watch
This tournament follows the traditional PPA format, meaning singles will start the event on Thursday, mixed doubles Friday, gender doubles Saturday and all gold matches on Sunday.