Meet The Pros: Pothen Varughese
Dr. Varughese is new to the USAPA Nationals competition and brings a life-long love of tennis to his experience on the pickleball court. Enjoy!
Can you list for us your major wins so we can correctly introduce you to our readers?
In the past 5 years, I have won gold medals in singles and men’s doubles in my age group at the Senior Games in Tucson, AZ, and singles and mixed doubles in the Ohio Senior Games and singles in the Pennsylvania Senior Games. Of Course, this year I won a Silver medal in singles and Bronze in the doubles at the USAPA Nationals at Palm Creek.
What paddle do you play with and why?
I play with the Rally Graphite Power paddle made by PickleballCentral. The weight of the paddle is light enough for me which helps prevent elbow problems. I like the feel of it when the ball strikes the paddle and it generates good power on the serves and volleys. It also gives me good control on my dinks.
What’s your pickleball story? How were you introduced to pickleball?
When I retired in 2005, a friend of mine invited me to visit The Voyager RV Resort in Tucson, AZ in the winter of 2005. My wife and I spent 10 days there during Christmas vacation. Pickleball is a very popular game at the Voyager Resort and I was introduced to it there. Since I had been a tennis player for most of my life, it was very easy for me to learn the game of pickleball.
What’s your preference – playing indoor or outdoor?
I play both indoor and outdoor and I enjoy both, but my preference is to play outdoors.
Do you like singles or doubles better? Why?
I play mostly doubles and occasionally singles. In my age group, it is difficult to find players who want to play singles.
What’s your favorite place to play? Why?
My favorite place is the Voyager RV Resort in Tucson. I spend 5-6 months there in the winter. There I can play with a lot of different men and women who are highly skilled and give me very challenging games. A number of Canadian players also vacation there and I enjoy the international atmosphere.
What’s your secret sauce? Any tips for players?
My secret sauce is returning the serve with a heavy under-spin deep in the backhand corner. My advice to players is to be patient, patient, patient! Many good players miss an easy shot because they are impatient and rush the return.
What’s your day job?
I am a retired college professor and I enjoy reading books on religion, history and politics when I am not playing pickleball or tennis. I am also a track & field enthusiast and have competed regularly in Senior Olympics and won numerous gold medals over the past 10 years.
How many hours a week do you play? How do you make time to play?
I play pickleball about 3 hours each day, except Sundays. Since I’m retired, I have plenty of time available. Generally, I play 2 hours of tennis in the morning and then 2-3 hours of pickleball. Then in the afternoon, it is time for me to read my favorite book. I also go to the gym and work out for about 90 minutes twice a week.
Any lucky rituals before a big tournament?
I’m not superstitious so I don’t have any particular rituals, but I do like to stretch my leg and arm muscles for a few minutes before a match.
Do you have any pickleball goals you’d like to share?
My goal is to win a gold medal in pickleball singles and doubles and mixed doubles at the National Senior Olympics to be held in Birmingham, Alabama in June 2017.
Anything else you’d like to share about your experience being one of the best pickleball players in the world?
Playing pickleball keeps me healthy at the age of 80. Participating in various tournaments gives me the opportunity to meet new people and players and increase my circle of friends. Pickleball friends are the best people in the world.