The Best Pickleball Paddles For Tennis Players

The Best Pickleball Paddles for Tennis Players

Tennis players have been flooding into pickleball in record numbers year after year, and we are glad they are here! Although by no means required to be a successful pickleball player, a tennis background often gives players a “jumpstart” because of the years of developing proper swing mechanics.

The Best Pickleball Paddles for Tennis Players

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Overall best paddle for tennis players

The Ultimate Power and Spin Paddle, the Power Air is the preferred paddle of former tennis player and current top Pickleball Pro, Tyson McGuffin.

The most Aerodynamic Paddle we have produced, this edgeless design and ProSpin+ Texture gives you the effortless spin and power tennis players are accustomed to.

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Best paddle for tennis players under $150

Similar to the Power Air, but without the air dynamic throat, the SLK Omega Max is the power and spin paddle for the everyday player. 

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Best paddle for tennis players that want to improve their soft game

If you are a tennis player but feel like you want to improve your soft game, check out the Vangard 2.0 Invikta (Also, check out the AMPED Invikta which will have slightly more power and is $150.)

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Best paddle for tennis players who want a traditional shape

The Power Air Epic has the classic paddle shape. You sacrifice a small amount of power for a larger sweetspot (compared to the invikta/elongated shape). Also, check out the AMPED Epic if you want more control for $150



Do tennis players have an advantage on the pickleball courts?

Let’s be clear, you can excel in pickleball with or without a racquet or even an athletic background. It’s one of the great things about pickleball that anyone can play and be successful!

That being said, there is a correlation between the top players in the world and having tennis experience before pickleball:

  • 8 of the top 10 men’s pro doubles players (World Pickleball Rankings) have a high-level tennis background (shoutout to AJ Koller and Dylan Frazier for beating the odds).
  • All 10 of the top 10 women’s pro doubles players were former tennis players.

It seems like each tournament we see a "surprise" newcomer in the pro division who dominates the field in one of their first tournaments, and they almost always have a high level tennis background. James Ignatowich (featured right) played division I tennis at Vanderbilt University and has medaled in several pro tournaments just 8 months into his pro pickleball career.

So yes, it can be an advantage!

What should I look for in a pickleball paddle if I played tennis?

Tennis players should choose a paddle with similar features to a tennis racquet. There are paddles that not only help you transition to pickleball but allow you to use your tennis skill set to dominate the pickleball courts. 

Generally, the best pickleball paddles for tennis players have a:

1) Longer handle

2) High spin capability

3) Heavier weight

4) Elongated Shape

What are the advantages of a “long handle pickleball paddle”?

A longer handle gives you additional room for your non-dominant hand when executing a two-handed backhand.

About 80% of tennis players use a two-handed backhand and when transitioning to pickleball, it is only natural to continue the two-handed backhand. And they should! The two-handed backhand is a weapon in pickleball giving players more power and increased stability.

Pickleball paddle handles range from 4 to 6 inches on average. But a “longer handle paddle” is considered 5.25 inches or greater. The Mach6 is the longest handle offered by Selkirk (5.875in) and the Invikta and Epic are not far behind (5.25in).

About 80% of tennis players use a two-handed backhand and when transitioning to pickleball, it is only natural to continue the two-handed backhand. And they should! The two-handed backhand is a weapon in pickleball giving players more power and increased stability.

Pickleball paddle handles range from 4 to 6 inches on average. But a “longer handle paddle” is considered 5.25 inches or greater. The Mach6 is the longest handle offered by Selkirk (5.875in) and the Invikta and Epic are not far behind (5.25in).

A side note: Most players prefer a long handle even if they do not utilize the two handed backhand. They would probably just not opt for the "extra long" handle like the Mach6. A long handle allows you to generate more power and spin with either one or two hands on the paddle.

Why do tennis players use pickleball paddles that generate maximum spin?

Tennis players often learned to strike the ball to generate spin. A pickleball paddle designed to maximize spin will be a huge weapon in the hands of the former tennis player. 

We realized that the amount of spin you can put on the ball doesn't mean a whole lot if the spin performance deteriorates in just a week of play. We found this to be an issue on nearly every major paddle out there, so we took it to our team to come up with a solution.

The Vanguard Power Air uses the ProSpin+ NextGen Texture for long-lasting maximum spin surface: Formulated in Selkirk Labs to generate more spin than any technology on the market, our ProSpin+ NextGen Micro Texture technology features a longer-lasting spin surface and provides unparalleled consistency, ensuring you can shape and control the ball with ease, to dominate on the court.

You can review an independant review of how our Pro Spin+ texture stood up against the competition:

We also recently improved the paddle surface in our Vanguard 2.0 Series to give players more spin than ever before with a grittier carbon fiber surface!

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 racquet, but you can select a paddle with a heavier weight to give you that “familiar feel” if you are coming from a tennis background.

  • Average Tennis Racquet weight: 10.6 oz
  • Average Pickleball Paddle weight: 7.8 oz

The heavier paddle makes your groundstrokes more consistent and controlled if you are coming from a tennis background. And not to mention you can generate more power with a heavier paddle. 

Many former tennis players use heavier-weight paddles including the world number one player, Ben Johns, who used a paddle weighing 9.0 oz in 2021. Many players, Including Ben, add lead tape to their paddles to increase the weight. 

You can pick up lead tape at your local sporting goods store for a couple of bucks if you want to experiment with a heavier paddle than what is available.

Why do tennis players often use elongated pickleball paddles?

Once again, the goal is to find a pickleball paddle that closest resembles a tennis racquet. An elongated-shaped paddle has a“longer” face which feels similar to a tennis racquet because of the “higher” sweet spot (further away from the handle).

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. 

So, what is the best pickleball paddle for Tennis Players?

There isn’t one definitive answer to this question, but now you know what to look for if you want a pickleball paddle that takes advantage of all you learned in tennis!

To help you narrow it down, here are our top 5 suggestions:

1. The Vanguard Power Air Invikta was designed with Tennis Players in mind and has

  • A long handle (5.25”)
  • A carbon fiber/fiberflex paddle face that not only imparts insane spin on the ball, but the spin capabilities won’t wear off in a week like some paddles out there.
  • a mid-weight option (7.7oz - 8.2oz) for that slightly heavier feel. You can always add a bit of lead tape to increase the weight further
  • Elongated shape for that higher sweet spot.

2. The Vanguard 2.0 Mach6:

  • although every paddle on this list has a "long handle" the Mach6 has the longest handle offered by Selkirk (5.875 in).
  • an improved carbon fiber paddle face designed to generate spin.
  • a midweight option (7.7oz - 8.2oz) for that slightly heavier feel. You can always add a bit of lead tape to increase the weight further.

3. The Vanguard 2.0 Invikta gives you:

  • a long handle (5.25 in) though not quite as long as the Mach 6.
  • an improved carbon fiber paddle face for maximum spin.
  • mid-weight option (7.7oz - 8.2oz).
  • an elongated shape for that higher sweet spot more similar to a tennis racquet.

4. The SLK Omega Max: This paddle uses very similar technology to the Vanguard Power air, but without the air dynamic throat. This paddle was designed to bring Power and Spin to the everyday player and retails at $140. You can check out an independent, comprehensive review of the Omega Max HERE.

We have found the Epic Shape (specifically the Power Air Epic or the Vanuard 2.0 Epic) as great options for tennis players who want to focus on their soft game (dinks and dropshots). It gives you a longer handle (5.25in) and a high spin potential similar to a tennis racquet. But the “classic” paddle shape (as opposed to elongated) gives you a larger sweet spot optimal for the soft game.

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