Pablo Tellez apparently doesn’t have an axe to grind with any of his fellow tour players; it’s just the fans he can’t tolerate!
One Of The Top Players
For just of you who aren’t completely au fait with the guy, here’s a potted history:
Tellez is a professional pickleball player from Colombia who currently resides in Florida. He has won several major tournaments on the professional pickleball circuit, including gold medals in men’s singles and mixed doubles at the 2022 Pan American Championships.
With his aggressive play style and powerful forehand shots, Tellez is considered one of the top international pickleball players.
And there you have it… aggressive.
Although he’d rather not be known as the “Bad Boy” of the PPA Tour, ppatour.com says Tellez is the prime candidate to fill that role.
Yet, Tellez isn’t making excuses – “I’m just trying to be me,” he asserts.
Clashes With Fans
He’s exceptionally talented, and although dominating the pickleball tour, he’s also a wildcard whose temperament has led to unpredictable clashes with fans. His recent altercation in April at Newport Beach led to a fine for an obscene gesture and venturing into the crowd.
As mentioned, Tellez doesn’t shy away from it, stating, “This sport needs a little bit of fire from some people. I don’t know if I’m that guy, and I try to be as calm as I can. But I do snap sometimes.”
He did so again recently at the Seattle Open, throwing his paddle and damaging equipment.
While Tellez might not be “that guy,” he’s undeniably one of the most emotional. Not quite like the readily discernible Tyson McGuffin, Julian Arnold, or James Ignatowich – Tellez’s intensity is less apparent.
“I’m not an extrovert like Tyson is, but I’m not the kind of guy to stay quiet. I’m not backing down from anyone,” he asserts.
Twice he’s stood his ground against raucous crowds, knowing he’s straying into dangerous waters. “Obviously, there’s a pattern there with me,” he acknowledges. “The outside gets to me. I have to be able to not react in a bad way. I can get along with everyone; it’s just that part with the crowd.”
Playing alongside Federico Staksrud in Newport Beach, the partisan crowd got under Tellez’s skin, and after the match, he confronted some spectators.
“The Pablo story resonates with pro pickleball and the PPA,” remarks Zane Navratil. “People are drawn to conflict and emotional reactions.”
Tellez is exceptional – a player who acknowledges his temper’s folly. While many athletes are known more for their emotions than their skills, few recognize the problem. You rarely heard John McEnroe admitting he was in the wrong and the line judge was right!
PPA Tour player Travis Rettenmaier acknowledges Tellez’s emotional edge but finds him immediately likable. It’s a rare mix – being known as “The Bad Boy” while being genuinely popular.
“He’s a great guy,” Rettenmaier affirms. “He’s being himself.”
Another tour player, Dylan Frazier, echoes this sentiment, noting Tellez’s passion. “He’s got a little edge, and everyone got a glimpse of that… That’s what people could be saying about him.”
Learn And Improve
Tellez hails from Colombia and is familiar with how raucous South American soccer crowds can be due to his father’s profession. “I grew up with that,” he shares. “The fields were always packed, but I’ve always had a problem with outsiders criticizing players when there’s no need for it. I try to ignore it as much as I could, and you try to learn from it and improve.”
Indeed, he’s progressing – securing consistent wins and striving to control his emotions. While it’s crucial for pickleball to have fiery matches, Tellez acknowledges the line between passion and danger.
“I’m working on not getting out of control,” he acknowledges. “It was the right thing for the PPA to fine me. You won’t see that out of me again. I’m learning. It’s good for pickleball to have those fiery matches. But you don’t want it to get dangerous. That could have gotten worse. I’m glad that it stopped. It could have escalated, and you don’t know what might have happened.”
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