OWL Sport recently introduced the inaugural USA Pickleball Quiet Category-certified paddle, claiming it could reduce the noise of ball-on-paddle by 50%.
In order to demonstrate that claim is no hollow promise, tennis icon John McEnroe, ex-NFL quarterback Drew Brees, and USA Pickleball CEO Mike Nealy joined professional players to exhibit the quietness and high-performance capabilities of this technology.
Chelsea Square, NYC
Here, the high-profile entourage showcased the diverse features of the new paddle. These include its layers for cushioning vibrations, balanced ‘anti-head heavy’ design for effortless handling, and the exclusive Acoustene™ sheath.
OWL touts its paddle as “the first to offer a 50% reduction in total noise profile.”
“Revolutionize The Game Of Pickleball”
“I think the OWL paddle technology is going to revolutionize the game of pickleball,” said John McEnroe, now OWL Sport ambassador but former 17-time Grand Slam tennis champion. “Unlike me, it is quiet, but like me, the OWL really performs, and you know how much I like to win!”
“My buddies like to play [pickleball] with me, and it’s an equalizer, so that was how I started playing originally,” McEnroe told Adam Zagoria for Forbes during an exclusive interview.
“And then all of a sudden, during the pandemic, everyone was like, “Pickleball.’ And I’m like, ‘What? What about tennis?’”
The King Of Racket Sports
McEnroe believes that tennis will always be the king of racket sports, but he can’t deny that the huge attraction of pickleball can only be good as it draws more and more people to the sphere of racket sports.
“When I compare it to tennis, you see the athleticism that is incredible on the men’s and women’s side,” McEnroe said, “so I look at it as the king of all racket sports. Everything else is below it; it’s just a question of how much below it?”
He added: “As I reflect, I’m hopeful that this helps both sports potentially because everyone’s like, ‘Is this going to hang on, pickleball? What’s with this thing?’ A lot of people that hadn’t had much time on the court and they aren’t that athletic, they get out [playing pickleball and say], ‘Hey, I can play,’ which is good, get people going.’”
Majority Owner Of The Mad Drops
Drew Brees is now the majority owner of the Los Angeles Mad Drops in Major League Pickleball. He told Zagoria, “I think it’s becoming so popular because literally anyone can pick up a paddle for the first time, play, and have a lot of fun.”
“You could pick four people off the street, and you could put together some semblance of a pickleball game.
“You can’t do that in tennis, though. Tennis requires a lot more skill and time on task than pickleball. So, I’d say pickleball has much more of a chance of becoming a popular amateur sport from the perspective that everybody can play.
And honestly, you can get a decent workout in 45 minutes.”
Interviewed the great Johnny Mac at an event for @OwlPickleball— Adam Zagoria (@AdamZagoria) November 21, 2023
He said he hopes the growth of pickle ball spurs interest in all racquet sports.
Full story coming later on @ForbesSports pic.twitter.com/QI9sHQtHWv
An Attractive Proposition
McEnroe interestingly pointed out that the top pickleball player in the world, Ben Johns, cut his teeth playing tennis and table tennis.
He believes that pickleball may be an attractive proposition to those who can’t quite make the top tier of the tennis hierarchy.
“To me, you’ll see guys that didn’t quite make it in tennis in college saying, ‘Well, I’m going to turn to this. That’s what the No. 1 guy in the world did.”
Mike Polisky, President of the Association of Pickleball Players, is more bullish and says that we’ll see the day when pickleball definitely overhauls tennis in the U.S. as a people’s sport, and it may have already:
“I tend to think it’s going to,” he said. “That’s not a knock on tennis, but at the trajectory right now, it just keeps growing and growing. I think tennis is growing as well, but pickleball is catching on. It’s just exploding.
Depending on who you listen to, it’s either 10 million or up to 40 people who are playing on a consistent basis. That’s a huge number.”
John McEnroe is on record as saying pickleball was the “worst” and even made fun of it during the Johnny Mac Tennis Project Comedy Night earlier this year.
“By the way, pickleball sucks,” he said. “But if they pay enough, you go and do it.”
He did just that when he appeared in the first Pickleball Slam and will reprise his role in Slam 2.
He’s not joking now and is philosophical about the future of the two sports:
“I just hope that people think of it as a racket sport, and they sort of recognize the difference, what it takes to cover a tennis court as opposed to what they’re doing in pickleball,” he said.
“I’m hopeful that just the interest in racket sports in general will help both. That’s what I’m hoping.”
We are sorry that this post was not useful for you!
Let us improve this post!
Tell us how we can improve this post?