Riley Newman just announced on Instagram that he will no longer be partnering up with Matt Wright in men’s doubles. Despite the fact that they’ve medalled 27 times together over the last year and a half, Newman says it’s time for a change.
The Wright/Newman duo has consistently been one of the top men’s doubles teams in the PPA this year, with their most recent success being a silver medal finish at the Orange County Cup. While it’s common for players to have a rotating cast of partners, it is surprising to see one of the top-performing doubles teams disband at this point in the season.
Following last weekend’s MLP Super Finals, there is a short break in the PPA Tour’s schedule, which will resume July 12th with the Denver Open. So, this does feel like an opportune moment to make some changes and maybe shift momentum going into the back half of 2023.
But who will Wright and Newman partner up with now? Newman left us with a cliffhanger, censoring his new partner’s name before the video cuts off, implying that he will likely be making an announcement soon.
The comment section of Newman’s post is full of speculation, with people shouting out all of their favorite players, a favorite seems to be AJ Koller, and pickleball personalities like legendary analyst Jim Kloss.
To several comments guessing Koller, Newman responded with, “Good guess, stay tuned,” suggesting that this might be the case. This would make sense as the two have played all year together in the MLP for the Hard Eights and share a mutual sponsor in Takeya.
As for Wright, it’s hard to say what his next move might be. A lot of the top competitors are locked in right now – the Johns brothers, JW Johnson and Dylan Frazier, Federico Staksrud and Pablo Tellez to name a few.
Dekel Bar feels like a solid option for Wright, as he’s been rotating partners this season and playing well. However, he could also switch things up and pair with an up-and-coming star, like Collin Shick or Hayden Patriquin, which could really shake up his game.
Whichever direction Wright and Newman decide to go, it will be exciting to see how this change affects their game. We’ve all grown so used to how they play together as one of the best men’s doubles teams; I’m sure there are plenty of exhilarating matches to be had in the near future.
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