Can Pickleball and Tennis Coexist?

Can Pickleball and Tennis Coexist?

In the last couple of years when tennis players hear the word “pickleball,” you’ll get all sorts of responses. Some people hate it, some love it, some don’t care. Whatever the opinion of pickleball, you’ll surely get a lively response from tennis players. 

Some former tennis players have joined the professional pickleball ranks, and others like John Isner and Jack Sock will gladly join exhibition matches. In addition to that there’s former pros like Kim Clysters that have doubled down on pickleball by investing in their professional league. 

Not all tennis players are keen on pickleball though. It’s well known that there’s a massive battle raging all across the country between recreational tennis players and pickleball players.  The main point of contention is as follows: tennis players are tired of pickleball players taking over their courts all across the country. 

Because pickleball rarely has dedicated courts, a lot of public parks have decided to turn tennis courts into pickleball courts, and that has invited legions of pickleball fanatics to invade tennis courts all around the country. Tennis players complain that the format of pickleball is distracting and is taking over their courts. Usually there’s a whole social element associated with pickleball and one tennis court can be seen hosting 10 pickleball players that are coming in and out of a doubles game. Additionally, tennis players hate the noise that the pickleball creates. It’s noisy and sharp. 

Those are just some of the things that you hear tennis players complaining about. On the other side of that coin, pickleball players complain that there’s not that many tennis players around to begin with, and they are taking advantage of unused courts. Pickleball players also feel like tennis players are a bit snobbish in their expectations of protocol on public tennis courts. In the end this debate seems to be more about culture and turf than anything else!

As an avid tennis player and a non-pickleball player, I think there’s room for both sports. However, I think park districts and tennis clubs around the country need to establish true pickleball courts instead of repurposing and ruining existing tennis courts. It’s not ideal to have multiple lines (pickleball and tennis) drawn all over the courts, in addition to drilling additional holes in the court for pickleball netting. This helps nobody. I’m sure pickleball players feel the same. 

So, let’s coexist! But, build specific pickleball courts. Let’s not have to worry about waiting for pickleballers to get off the court so that I can play some tennis or vice versa. It’s two different sports and they should be treated as such!

I’ve never seen a basketball hoop at the end of a soccer pitch. Imagine that?


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Comments: 1

  1. Nalini Lasiewicz

    Hi Marco. I am the west coast admin for a facebook group that includes people across the country dealing with the noise and disruption at local parks and neighborhoods caused by the takeover of tennis courts by pickleball enthusiasts. We are hosting national Zoom calls every two weeks and I would like to know if you would be available to join us in August for a call dedicated to the conversion and “mixed-use” of tennis courts. You have given this topic a lot of thought and it would be an honor to have you as a special guest. I look forward to hearing from you! Nalini Lasiewicz