Twenty-nine-year-old Jaume Martínez Vich, 19th seed (yes, 19th!) at the PPA Texas Open, earned his first shot at a final, cutting a swathe through the world’s top pickleballers on his way to the final at the Texas Open championships currently being held at the Oasis Pickleball Club in Rockwall.
Check out this article to read a preview of the PPA Texas Open.
Rafael Nadal’s Former Hitting Partner
Martínez Vich was Rafael Nadal’s former hitting partner back in Spain before becoming a tennis teacher and a full-time pickleball player in Hawaii.
As he says: “I’m just a Spanish boy living in Hawaii, playing pickleball and making it to Championship Sunday. I’m a nobody; hopefully this makes me less of a nobody. I want it all. I’m here to stay.”
Martinez Vich has defeated the best the PPA Tour can offer at the tournament so far, starting with a first-round win over 14th-seed Hunter Johnson. He then took revenge on Jay Devilliers in the second round by 12-10 and 11-6. Devilliers had beaten him earlier in the season at the North Carolina Open. He bested number 6 seed Dylan Frazier in the third round, winning 11-7 and 11-0, and then hit the stratosphere with his victory over second seed Federico Staksrud. At least Staksrud took a set off him, with the final score coming in at 11-6, 4-11, 11-5.
“I had all this respect for the top players. When it was time to close, I didn’t. Now that I’ve seen them, it’s allowed me to close things out. I am committed now. I’ve been playing the back-courts and now I’m finally making the breakthrough. I hope people are looking at me and believe in me.”
Living In Hawaii
Living in Hawaii, so far away from the kind of players that would truly test his mettle, Martinez Vich commented he was unable to practice properly and consequently improve. His words reached the attention of high-ranking pickler Tyson McGuffin, who told him to come over so he could train him. The rest is history, as Martínez Vich’s impressive progress in the tournament attests to.
He explains: “I couldn’t dedicate much time to pickleball except maybe two or three days a week, and they were games for fun with people from there. Martínez Vich then went on to mention how McGuffin, and he got together: “Tyson heard me and said, ‘Come train with me.’ Everything changed. My confidence is up, and I believe in myself.
He also issued a rousing battle cry: “This is the first time I haven’t bought a flight on Saturday. I’m staying until Sunday.”
From ‘Nobody’ to Championship Sunday | Professional Pickleball Association https://t.co/RhaiCH4Oda— Carvana PPA Tour (@PPAtour) June 2, 2023
Top Seed Ben Johns
His next showdown in Texas is on Sunday, when he pits his wits against the top seed Ben Johns. Bearing in mind it’s only his third-ever match on Championship Court, it’s quite a leap from isolation in Hawaii not so long ago.
His teacher McGuffin also had a great tournament in singles, taking bronze with a hard-fought victory over Staksrud. McGuffin has an impressive 14-3 run and three medals in his four most recent tournaments, including gold at the Red Rock Open in Utah back in April.
He has faced tough match-ups these last few days, with every one of his opponents having made a final this season. His other victims were Pablo Tellez and J.W. Johnson.
We are sorry that this post was not useful for you!
Let us improve this post!
Tell us how we can improve this post?