Anna Leigh Waters is the youngest professional pickleball player ever, playing in her first-ever pro event at twelve years old. Jorja Johnson and her brother JW Johnson are two of the other youngest active players on the pro circuit.
9 Of the Youngest Pro Pickleball Players
Anna Leigh Waters
Birth Year: 2007
No list of young pickleball prodigies is complete without mention of Anna Leigh Waters.
Waters’ pickleball journey started under inauspicious circumstances. As Hurricane Irma battered their Florida home, the Waters family evacuated to their grandparents’ home in Pennsylvania. It was here that Waters (alongside her mother and fellow professional pickleball player and doubles partner Leigh) was first taught the game.
Since then, Waters’ rise has been meteoric. Aged just twelve, she became the youngest professional pickleball player to compete on the pickleball court. Since then, she has cemented herself as something of a phenom: seven PPA Tour (professional pickleball association) triple crowns, six US Open gold medals, and six USAPA nationals gold medals.
Birth Year: 2007
Jorja Johnson is another young player making waves on the women’s tours. Born the same year as Anna Leigh Waters, Johnson won 26 medals and recorded seven first place finishes in pickleball tournaments during her first full season on the APP Tour.
Jorja Johnson comes from a family of pickleball stars: her brother JW is ripping things up on the men’s APP Tour, while her mother, Julie, is highly ranked on the senior circuit.
Birth Year: 2004
Jack Munro is the youngest player currently ranked 5.0 or above. A huge baseball fan, he picked up the sport after a torn rotator cuff prevented him from playing.
He joined his dad on the pickleball court (playing left-handed because his dominant arm was in a sling!) and immediately fell in love with the game.
A few years later, Jack is fully committed to pickleball and already has an impressive trophy cabinet. At age 11, he took home three medals from the USAPA Nationals for his age group: gold in the boys’ singles, gold in the mixed doubles, and silver in the boys’ doubles.
Birth Year: 2003
JW, the older brother of Jorja, is another member of the quickly forming Johnson pickleball dynasty on the APP Tour.
JW reached the number one ranking for men’s singles on the APP Tour at age 19. His stats in 2022 were nothing short of ridiculous: 47 medals, including three triple crowns.
Birth Year: 2002
Dylan Frazier breached the top ten in the men’s pickleball world rankings at an age of 20 years old.
Like many other pickleball pros, Frazier was a talented sportsman long before he found the game. However, he wasn’t a tennis player like many of his peers, but a lover of basketball, soccer, and baseball.
A trip to Florida and time spent at the recreation center with his mum changed all that. Frazier discovered a love and aptitude for pickleball, and in just five years – while still studying at college – has become a highly ranked professional athlete.
Birth Year: 1999
Ben Johns is already a legend of the game, and he’s only in his early twenties!
Every statistic about Johns reveals more of his dominance. He is the number one ranked player in the world for men’s singles, men’s doubles, and mixed doubles pickleball – a rise to the top that includes an unbeaten run since 2019 in singles and mixed doubles!
Johnson’s dominance has brought him fame and sponsorships at a young age, including a partnership with JOOLA to develop his own paddle. His skill has also earned him over $145,000 in prize money, making him one of the most well-paid athletes pickleball has ever seen!
Birth Year: 1994
Jay Devilliers, known as ‘The Flying Frenchman’ to pickleball fans, is a hugely supported player on the pro circuit.
Born in France and trained in Barcelona, Devilliers moved to the US when he won a tennis scholarship to study at Wichita State University.
At 28 years old, Devilliers ranked #4 in the world. He is an ambassador for the French Pickleball Federation.
Birth Year: 1994
Catherine Parenteau was previously a tennis professional, ranking in the top five female tennis players in her home country of Canada. In 2016 she was introduced to pickleball by her coach Simone Jardim while playing tennis at Michigan State University, and has never looked back.
Within six months of starting the game, Catherine was competing at the US Open as a professional pickleball player. Not only did she compete, but she won, taking home the gold medal for the 5.0 skill level mixed bracket. Since then, Catherine has won two more US Opens and an incredible 16 PPA Tour championships.
She currently ranks #2 in women’s singles and #3 in women’s doubles worldwide, making her one of the best pro pickleball players ever to grace the game.
Birth Year: 1979
We’ve had a list of some of the newer faces to the game, but Simone Jardim ranks as one of the elder statesmen of this relatively new sport.
Jardim’s achievements are almost unmatched. Ranked as the number one women’s player in the world from 2016 to 2020, Jardim secured the US Open singles gold medal four times in a row. 2017 and 2018 also brought mixed doubles and women’s doubles crowns, making her a two-time triple crown winner.
Jardim has stepped away from singles matches but continues to dominate as a doubles player, as well as coaching the rising stars of the game.
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