Meet The Pros – Riley Newman
Riley Newman hit the floor running in this auspiciously named sport, and has been a force to reckon with ever since, especially paired up with his twin sister, Lindsey. Enjoy!
Can you list for us your major wins so we can correctly introduce you to our readers?
-Canadian National Indoors in Chilliwack, BC – triple crown winner
-National Indoors in Centralia, WA – Mixed Open Gold with my sister Lindsey
-Columbia Basin Classic in Kennewick, WA – Men’s Open Singles Gold, Mixed Open Gold with Lindsey
-Pickleball Station Pre-Nationals Tournament in Kent, WA – Men’s Open Doubles Gold
-Frontier Days Pickleball tournament in Sun River, OR – Mixed Open Gold with Lindsey Newman
What paddle do you play with and why?
I play with the Bantam EX-L Pro by Paddletek. This paddle gives me the most power but also steady control at the kitchen line. I highly recommend it!
What is your pickleball story? How were you introduced to pickleball?
I was introduced to pickleball by a great friend in Seattle, Mark Cook (4.5 soon to be 5.0 player). He knew I had played Division 1 tennis and felt if I gave the sport with a funny name a shot I would fall in love. Sure enough, he was right! He took me to a local YMCA where I was clearly the youngest player by many years, not knowing how to keep score or what the heck a “dink” was. But everyone in the pickleball community has been so welcoming to my sister and I, even though we were just a couple of “tennis players.” We entered our first tournament 3 days later and ended up taking home gold. We have been hooked ever since that weekend!
What is your preference – playing indoors or outdoors?
Growing up on Whidbey Island, Washington, the weather wasn’t always the greatest for playing pickleball outdoors. Now that I live in Southern California I can play outdoors anytime I want, which has helped my pickleball game tremendously!
What is your favorite place to play? Why?
So far in my young career I have played on the US Open center court in Naples, Florida. It was a great opportunity and an amazing venue.
What is your secret sauce? Any tips for players?
I’d say my secret sauce is my two-handed backhand. I am confident from that side whether I want to speed it up with my opponent or dink all day. The tip I would recommend to any beginner or tennis player would be just to play! Go out and play lots of practice games with all sorts of different players and skill types. Receiving coaching is great, but I have learned that being in a competitive environment where you can learn what works and what doesn’t is most beneficial to the learning process.
Do you have any pickleball goals you would like to share?
My dream is to referee Division 1 Men’s college basketball. This works great with pickleball because my basketball games start at 7 pm, so during the day I can play pickleball. When I’m not on a pickleball court, you can find me on the basketball court! My pickleball goal for 2019 is to win a major tournament: the US Open, USAPA Nationals or Tournament of Champions.
Anything else you would like to share about your experience being one of the best pickleball players in the world?
I would like to thank my family for their continued support, especially my sister Lindsey, and also Paddletek for being an amazing sponsor that has provided me with an opportunity to grow in this great game!