September 16, 2022
By Alice Tym
Hometown: Palm Desert, CA
Family status: Single
Rating: DUPR 6.56
Favorite tournament: Orange County Cup PPA in San Clemente, CA
Q: Coaching is a lucrative profession as pickleball continues to explode around the world, and you’ve coached some of the greatest players in the game. In the last few years, however, you’ve switched your attention to announcing. What is it about announcing that appeals to you?
A: I realized people love to hear an accent, and my phone had just enough battery life to get through a livestream. I like the challenge of announcing…being able to quickly decipher what has happened and explain it in a way that makes sense to people. As the game changes, so does the challenge, and I love that.
Q: Tennis Channel recently started broadcasting the PPA Tour events and hired you to be its lead analyst. What do you think gives you the edge as an announcer?
A: I made a name for myself as a professional player, which gives me credibility—that helps. I also love my work as an announcer, and I think that comes out in the broadcast. Finally, the people I work with make all the difference—my main wingman Dave Flemming has helped me immensely.
Q: What makes a good analyst?
A: Knowledge of the game and the co-ability to explain complex things to a 6-year-old. You need to have clear communication skills.
Q: What things would make pickleball popular on TV?
A: Engaging camera angles and highlighting the personalities of the players.
Q: What is your strongest teaching skill?
A: I make learning as fun as possible. My strongest asset as a player is deception.
Q: How has pickleball evolved?
A: From a game to entertainment to a business—now as a big business with billionaires fighting with millionaires.
Q: Do you think pickleball should use rally scoring?
A: No. It probably needs to, but I hope it doesn’t. Television has found a way to open up airtime.
Q: What is the most important physical attribute to becoming a strong pickleball player?
A: The ape index figures into this since height is an important factor. Your wingspan length relative to your height can be a huge advantage.
Q: Where were you born?
A: In Farnborough, UK, then we moved to Australia when I was 5.
Q: What brought you to the States?
A: I was living in Sardinia with my girlfriend, and she kicked me out. My brother had moved here to be the director of tennis at Shadow Mountain in Palm Desert.
Q: In what country would you like to introduce pickleball?
A: Ghana. The power of the game can lift a whole community. The game helps them make their own happiness.
Q: If you were building a railroad, what two places would it connect?
A: New York City and San Diego. Live in New York once, but leave before it makes you too hard. Live in San Diego once, but leave before it makes you soft.
Q: Are you a wall builder or a bridge builder?
A: I’d like to say I’m a bridge builder, but I’m probably a wall builder. •