Meet The Pros – Cherie Chao

Meet The Pros – Cherie Chao

Cherie Chao and Irene Mah

Cherie Chao and Irene Mah at the 2019 USAPA Nationals

Cherie comes from a background of many different racquet sports. She has her own style and loves to help grow the sport of pickleball. Enjoy!

Can you list for us your major wins so we can correctly introduce you to our readers?

2019 Nationals- 5.0 Women’s Doubles age with Deb Mascarin -Gold
2019 Colorado Open- 5.0 Mixed Doubles age with Ken Lehman – Gold
2019 Great Lakes Regional – 5.0 Mixed Doubles age with Gregg Whitfield – Silver
2019 US Open – 5.0 Women’s Doubles age with Deb Mascarin – Silver
 5.0 Mixed Doubles age with Scott Lennan – Silver
2018 Huntsman Senior Games – 5.0 Women’s Doubles age with Rachel Kroog – Gold
 5.0 Mixed Doubles age with Byron Freso – Silver
 5.0 Women’s Doubles open with Rachel Kroog – Bronze
2018 Great Plains Regional – 5.0 Women’s Doubles 35’s with Daria Stakiw-Harlow – Silver
2018 Colorado Open – 5.0 age 19-59 Women’s Doubles age with Vivian Edwards – Silver
2018 US Open – 5.0 Women’s Doubles age with Susan Baze – Gold
2018 The Lakes Spring Fling – 5.0 Women’s Doubles age with Deb Mascarin – Gold
2017 US Nationals – 5.0 Women’s Doubles age with Leticia Brambila – Silver
2017 Great Plains Regionals – 5.0 Mixed Doubles age with Randy Coleman – Gold
2016 Southern Utah Shootout – 5.0 Women’s Doubles age with Marilyn Eves – Gold
 5.0 Mixed Doubles age with Jeff McFall – Gold
2016 Great Plains Regionals – 5.0 Women’s Doubles age with Carolyn Bagley – Bronze
2016 Southern Utah Shootout – 5.0 Women’s Doubles age with Kellie Banisky – Gold

Cherie Chao Nationals Gold

2019 USAPA Nationals: Deb Mascarin and Cherie Chao with gold medal

What paddle do you play with and why?

The Selkirk Amped Omni, mid-weight, I love it because I can hit with power and still have touch. It also helps me reach balls with its longer length.

What is your pickleball story? How were you introduced to pickleball?

I discovered pickleball when my town of Arvada, Colorado put in 24 courts soon after I had my hip replaced. It  seemed like a natural transition from tennis since I could cover the court easier. I played 5.0 tennis for years in addition to platform tennis in the winter. I also played badminton, squash and racquetball competitively. Pickleball was a perfect sport after playing so many different racquet and paddle sports.

What is your preference: playing indoors or outdoors?

I definitely prefer playing outdoors – love the surface and the elements. If indoors, I prefer tennis court surfaces with good lighting!

Do you like singles or doubles better? Why?

I love doubles and working together with my partner towards a common goal. I enjoy being able to talk to my partner and work on strategy together. My goal is to make my partner look good!

What is your favorite place to play? Why?

I love playing in my home town! We have 24 individually-fenced, lit courts 8 min from my house. The people are awesome! If I have to travel, I really enjoy St. George, Utah. Great courts, great people and amazing surroundings!

What is your secret sauce? Any tips for players?

My secret sauce is my slice. Most people hate it, but I’ve used it in all my racquet sports with success- so I guess I’ll keep it!

My tips for players – Don’t just play games… make time to drill and get comfortable with your shots. 

What is your day job?

I have 2 day jobs – I’m a registered dietitian working at a local hospital in cardiac rehab and outpatient nutrition.  My second job is being a grandma – I care for my 2 year old grandson and newborn granddaughter 1-2 days/week. Best job ever!

Cherie Chao Team Selkirk

TEAM SELKIRK having fun at the 2019 USAPA Nationals: Pam Stevenson, Susan Baze, Cherie Chao, Takako Tourangeau, Jan Yu and Miok Lee

How many hours a week do you play? How do you make time to play?

In the warmer months I play 6-10 hours a week, but in the winter or when the outdoor courts are not playable, I play 3-5 hours. I play anytime I can around my work and babysitting – I have great support from my husband, Ken.

Any lucky rituals before a big tournament?

Not really – just try to get a good night’s sleep and eat the same food I train with. I often bring food with me to tournaments since I don’t eat meat/dairy.

Do you have any pickleball goals you would like to share?

I’d like to continue playing competitively but also spend time helping the sport to grow. I love introducing new people to the game. Pickleball changes lives!

Anything else you would like to share about your experience being one of the best pickleball players in the world?

It’s been a blast meeting so many wonderful and talented players!

Meet The Pros – Athena Trouillot

Meet The Pros – Athena Trouillot

Athena Trouillot

Catherine Parenteau and Athena Trouillot, 2019 Canadian Nationals.

Athena represents some of the young tennis players who are finding their competitive edge fits well with the game of pickleball. She also likes to give back by sharing her best skills in training others. Enjoy!

Can you list for us your major wins so we can correctly introduce you to our readers?

2019 USAPA Nationals Margaritaville, Women’s Skill/Age Doubles 5.9:19+ with Catherine Parenteau – Silver
2019 Canadian Nationals, Women’s Doubles Open with Catherine Parenteau – Gold
Mixed Doubles Open with Steve Deakin – Silver

What paddle do you play with and why?

I am sponsored by Paddletek and I play with the Bantam EX-L. I love it! It has pop and power. It allows spin and is solid enough to be good with blocking. I don’t have to do much to get the ball back over the net.

What is your pickleball story? How were you introduced to pickleball?

I grew up in Miami and played tennis at Michigan State on a full scholarship. Simone Jardim was my instructor for the first 3 years. Catherine Parenteau started 2 years before me. I graduated 2 years ago.  I was home schooled before college and I played tennis 3-4 hours a day, including 3 of 4 weekends a month. Tennis was necessarily a singles game to be eligible for a scholarship and to compete at the college level. I burned out. I was introduced to pickleball by Cliff and Erica while at Michigan State. We played 2-3 times a week, and then we’d go out to eat afterwards. I needed a different sport, and it was exactly what I needed. Pickleball is competitive, and I was quickly good at it, but a main difference was I could play with friends and be social afterwards.

Women's Doubles 2019 Canadian Open

2019 Canadian Open, Women’s Doubles, Jessica Kawamoto/Ellen Kawamoto -Silver, Athena Trouillot/Catherine Parenteau – Gold, Kim Brent/Barbara Kerr – Bronze

What is your preference – playing indoors or outdoors?

Outdoors.

Do you like singles or doubles better? Why?

I started singles, loving the adrenaline rush. With singles though you get exhausted. When I picked up pickleball, I wasn’t in my top competitive fitness level. After that I started with a personal trainer to stay on top of my game. I play more doubles now.

What is your favorite place to play? Why?

Indian Wells! It is an incredible facility where they make you feel professional. Playing on the center court had a special ambiance. The energy there was electric.

Being at home in Naples is great too, playing with friends.

What is your secret sauce? Any tips for players?

Keep fit! I work out 3 days a week with a trainer. I also do cardio. This helps me to be in the best shape for competition.

Canadian Nationals Athena Trouillot

Athena Trouillot and Steve Deakin, Silver at 2019 Canadian Nationals

Make sure you drill to have quick hands, to block well. I have a reputation for “quick hands.” People who play with me the first time often remark, “I can’t believe you hit all those balls. You are so fast in blocking!”

What is your day job?

Before I moved to Naples Florida, my day job kept me from being able to play and drill. Now I teach at the Mediterra Country Club and help Catherine and Simone at Simone’s Academy with their training workshops.

Gold Athena Trouillot

2019 Canadian Open, Athena Trouillot/Steve Deakin – Silver, Catherine Parenteau/Riley Newman – Gold, Jessica Kawamoto – Bronze

How many hours a week do you play? How do you make time to play?

Most days I am teaching pickleball up to 5 hours a day, often drilling with students. Repeating strokes helps and it adds to the hours I practice. When I practice, it’s about 1-1 ½ hours a day. A month before a tournament it is 4-5 hours a day.

Any lucky rituals before a big tournament?

I eat light and drink lots of Pedialyte. No meals, just snacking after a light breakfast.

Anything else you would like to share about your experience being one of the best pickleball players in the world?

I enjoy travelling to tournaments. What’s fun about travelling is that Catherine, Simone and I always put on clinics wherever we go.  We like to give people an opportunity to train with us. We offered it at the Canadian Nationals in Kingston Ontario. People love learning and we love to do clinics.

Meet The Pros – Leigh Waters

Meet The Pros – Leigh Waters

 Catherine Parenteau and Leigh Waters, Bronze

USAPA Margaritaville Nationals, Catherine Parenteau and Leigh Waters, Bronze

Can you list for us your major wins so we can correctly introduce you to our readers?

2019 Minto US Open Mixed Doubles Age with Dave Weinbach – GOLD
2019 Tournament of Champions, Women’s Doubles Open Pro with Anna Leigh Waters – GOLD
2019 Chicago Pickleball Open, Mixed Pro Doubles with Dave Weinbach – SILVER
Women’s PRO Doubles with Anna Leigh Waters – SILVER
2018 USAPA Margaritaville Nationals, Women’s Skill/Age Doubles with Catherine Parenteau – GOLD
2018 Texas Open – Women’s Open Doubles with Anna Leigh Waters – SILVER
Women’s Singles – GOLD

Leigh and Anna Leigh Texas Open

Texas Open Leigh and Anna Leigh Waters, Silver; Simone Jardim and Lucy Kovalova, Gold; Catherine Parenteau  and Corrine Carr, Bronze

What paddle do you play with and why?

I use the Paddletek Element because it has good pop while being able to maintain control, plus the head of the paddle is a bit smaller so it’s not overly cumbersome.

What is your pickleball story? How were you introduced to pickleball?

My father introduced us to pickleball when we evacuated Florida from Hurricane Irma last year. We went to Pennsylvania and played for two weeks straight. We haven’t stopped since!

What is your preference – playing indoors or outdoors?

Outdoors. I prefer playing on a tennis court surface with a Dura Fast 40.

Do you like singles or doubles better? Why?

I definitely prefer doubles. I enjoy having a partner next to me. Singles is such a physical game and it’s just you out there battling it out. It reminds me too much of my tennis days and I find dubs to be much more fun and social.

Mom and Daughter

Leigh and Anna Leigh Waters Pickleball Pros

What is your favorite place to play? Why?

I love to play in South Florida with all my pickleball friends. We have multiple facilities where we play and I have the most fun when I’m with them.

What is your secret sauce? Any tips for players?

I love mixing in power shots from the kitchen. Throwing in a fast-paced shot keeps your opponent honest and wondering when you might surprise them.

What is your day job?

I’m an attorney.

How many hours a week do you play? How do you make time to play?

I play 6-8 hours a week. I make time by taking my daughter with me. That way we are not missing family time and we get to practice together. Some nights I practice while my daughter has soccer practice. Most important to me is being with her and my family, so I always time practices around Anna Leigh’s busy schedule.

Any lucky rituals before a big tournament?

Not really. I’m not a superstitious person. A good meal is super important, and I like to get to the facility a day or two early to practice.

Do you have any pickleball goals you would like to share?

Personally I just want to have fun and play high-level pickleball and do this with my daughter. Obviously, everyone has goals of winning, but I think it’s something really special to be able to travel the country playing pickleball with Anna Leigh and making memories that will last a lifetime. She is always my first priority, and I just want to teach her to be a good person on and off the court. This journey wouldn’t be half as good if she wasn’t a part of it.

Meet The Pros – Kris Anderson

Meet The Pros – Kris Anderson

Kris Anderson action

2019 Texas Open, Kris Anderson and Dave Weinbach

Kris is a great competitor and a doubles master. She has played with the best and competes against the best. Enjoy!

Can you list for us your major wins so we can correctly introduce you to our readers?

2019 Texas Open, Senior (Sr) Mixed Open with Dave Weinbach – Gold
Sr Women’s Open with Lisa Naumu – Gold
2019 Tournament of Champions (ToC)  Senior Mixed Doubles Pro with Kevin Booth – Gold

Sr Women’s Doubles Pro with Lisa Naumu -Silver
2019 The Lakes Spring Fling, Women’s Doubles 50+ with Lisa Naumu – Gold
2019 US Open, Sr Open Mixed Pro with Scott Moore – Gold
Sr Open Women’s With Lisa Naumu – Silver
2018 USAPA Nationals,
50+ Women’s Doubles with Bonnie Williams – Gold
Sr. Open Mixed with Scott Moore – Gold
Sr. Open Women’s with Bonnie Williams – Silver
2018 ToC, Sr. Open Mixed with Kevin Booth – Gold
Sr Open Women’s with Bonnie Williams – Silver
2018 US Open, Sr. Open Mixed Doubles with Kevin Booth – Bronze
2017 USAPA Nationals, Sr Open Mixed with Kevin Booth – Gold
2016 USAPA Nationals, Sr. Open Mixed with Scott Moore – Gold
Sr Open Women’s with Mona Burnett – Silver
2016 US Open, 50+ Mixed with Mike Gates – Silver
Sr Open Mixed with Mike Gates – Gold
Sr Open Women’s with Tracy Worley – Bronze
2014 USAPA Nationals, Women’s 50+ with Tracy Worley – Gold

2019 US Open Sr. Mixed Pro Kris Anderson

2019 US Open Sr. Mixed Pro, Steve Kennedy and Lisa Naumu, Bronze, Kris Anderson and Scott Moore – Gold, Cammy MacGregor and Brian Staub, Silver

What paddle do you play with and why?

I just switched this week to the new Onix Evoke Premier Paddle. I love it. It has a great grip, nice texture and balance.

What is your pickleball story? How were you introduced to pickleball?

I was playing tennis one day and it started raining so someone said let’s go in the gym and try pickleball. I loved it immediately and couldn’t wait to play again.

What is your preference – playing indoors or outdoors?

Outdoors. We rarely play indoors in Southern California.

Courts at The Tennis Club at Newport Beach

Do you like singles or doubles better? Why? 

Doubles.

What is your favorite place to play? Why

The tennis club at Newport Beach. Great club and close to home.

What is your day job?

Being a mom.

How many hours a week do you play? How do you make time to play?

I’m blessed with an amazing husband and family who are totally supportive of each other and I have all the time I want to play.

Meet The Pros – Tony Girodo

Meet The Pros – Tony Girodo

Tony Girodo with Linda Dillon

Tony is a full-time RV’er, so he gets to play pickleball with folks from all over. He must have a fantastic array of pickleball friends. Enjoy!

Can you list for us your major wins so we can correctly introduce you to our readers?

2019 National Senior Games Mixed Doubles with Sandy Scanlan – Silver
2019 Wickenburg Ranch Men’s Doubles Age – Gold

2019 Grand Canyon State Games Mixed Doubles Skill/Age with Sandy Scanlan – Gold
2019 Robson Ranch, Mixed Doubles Skill/Age with Sandy Scanlan – Silver
2018 Margaritaville USAPA Nationals, Mixed Skill/Age Doubles with Sandy Scanlan – Silver
2018 US OPEN Men’s Doubles Age with Bob Costanza – Gold
            Mixed Doubles – Skill with Connie Reker – Bronze
2018 Happy Trails, Mixed Doubles Skill/Age with Sandy Scanlan – Gold
2018 Duel in the Desert, Men’s Doubles Skill/Age with Doug Cook – Gold
2017 Round Up@ Sun City AZ, Men’s Doubles Skill/Age with Bill Marshall – Gold

Tony Girodo Gold

2016 🌵🏅Duel in the Desert🏅🌵 Mixed Doubles Age/Skill Groups 65+: 4.0, GOLD Audrey Sherfey and Tony Girodo, SILVER Terry Saunders and James Saunders BRONZE Diane Hill and Donald Bangs

What paddle do you play with and why?

I currently play with the Tempest Wave. I used to play with an original Paddletek pickleball paddle, no model name, and had it for about 7 years.

What is your pickleball story? How were you introduced to pickleball?

Ten and a half years ago my wife and I started RV’ing. At our first stop in Palm Springs I kept hearing this “ping – ping – ping” sound and went to investigate. I was invited to play, and the rest is history. I have a tennis and racquetball background. My wife plays recreationally. Pickleball has turned out to be a great social sport. We’ve made a lot of good friends. No matter where we go, we find people who play pickleball.

What is your preference – playing indoors or outdoors?

Ninety-five percent of the time I play outdoors.

Do you like singles or doubles better? Why?

I prefer doubles. I may venture into singles at some time in the future.

Tony Girodo, bronze

Marriott Desert Ridge Holiday Classic December 1, 2017 Men’s Doubles 70+ 4.5: Gold: Barry Jeff Stone & Malcolm Derr, Silver: Jim Saunders & Brian Parkes, Bronze: Tony Girodo & Doug Cook

What is your favorite place to play? Why?

Indian Wells is my favorite place this year, also Happy Trails and Pebble Creek. The Surprise, Arizona area has 16 public area courts that are great. They may be expanding the number of courts in the future.

What is your secret sauce? Any tips for players?

I have a supportive spouse, and that really helps. It also helps to get the right partner. Get one who plays like you or better. Make sure you drill all the time and seek to play with better, skilled folks. This builds confidence. It helps to use a Sports Tutor machine to practice drills.

What is your day job?

I am a full-time RV’er with my wife. Just recently visited Portland, Maine and the beach in New Jersey.

How many hours a week do you play? How do you make time to play?

I play 2-3 hours a day, 15-20 hours a week. I usually take a day off during the week to let my body heal. Thankfully, I ‘ve had no major injuries.

Any lucky rituals before a big tournament?

I pet our dog “Mojo,” a schnauzer who gives me big “MOJO.” 

Do you have any pickleball goals you would like to share?

My current goal is to medal at the USAPA Nationals.

Anything else you would like to share about your experience being one of the best pickleball players in the world?

This is a great game to play and for meeting new friends. I keep playing to keep active. Eighty percent of my commitment to the game is so that I can continue to eat ice cream! I try to improve every day. I suggest working on 1 or 2 things at a time, like dinks, lobs and 3rd shot drops. That’s the best way to improve your game, in my opinion. 

Meet The Pros – Gregg Whitfield

Meet The Pros – Gregg Whitfield

Gregg is retiring so that he can TEACH PICKLEBALL! Awesome! And he brings his tennis techniques into the pickleball training equation. Enjoy!

Can you list for us your major wins so we can correctly introduce you to our readers?
2019 U S Open: Silver in Men’s 60+ Doubles with Joe Nguyen
Gold in Mixed 65+ with Hilary Marold, Bronze in 65+ Singles

2018 U S Open 65+ Mixed 5.0 Gold with Carolyn Bagley
Silver Men’s Doubles Skill 60+ with Steve Paranto

Steve Paranto and Gregg Whitfield

2018 US OPEN, Steve Paranto and Gregg Whitfield – Silver

2018 Pasadena Senior Games Gold in Men’s Doubles, Silver in Mixed, Gold in Singles
2018 So Cal Classic Gold in 60+ Men’s Doubles
2018 West Regionals Gold in Men’s Doubles 60+, Gold in Mixed 60+, Gold in Singles 60+
2018 Huntsman Senior Games: Gold in Men’s 65+, Gold in Mixed 65+, Gold in Singles 65+
2018 USAPA Nationals Bronze in Mixed 65+
2018 Southwest Regionals Gold in Men’s Doubles 65+, Gold in Mixed 65+, Silver in Singles 65+
2018 Grand Canyon State Games Gold in Men’s Doubles 60+
2016 Nationals 55+ 5.0 Mixed Bronze with Kathy Pederson

What paddle do you play with and why?

I’m a sponsored player with Paddletek and play with the Tempest Pro because it’s a great all-around paddle that allows for soft touch drop shots and still has power when needed.

What is your pickleball story? How were you introduced to pickleball?

My background was in tennis. I played through high school and college where I played #1 for Occidental College. I taught tennis under David Reed, who played with Arthur Ashe at UCLA, and Sven Davidson, who played in 4 Grand Slam Finals winning two titles. I became the head tennis pro at Altadena Town and Country Club in the early 1980s. In 2016 I found pickleball at a local club in Cambria, CA and became addicted to the sport.

What is your preference – playing indoors or outdoors?

I prefer outdoor play as the visibility is better for me and I live in California where we have nice weather year round.

Do you like singles or doubles better? Why?

I prefer doubles because singles is so physically demanding, especially as we age. Doubles allows one to develop a soft game where you can play with players at all levels.

Gregg Whitfield

Gregg Whitfield

What is your favorite place to play? Why?

My home town of Cambria has 6 newer beautiful dedicated courts. The weather is great being 65 to 70 degrees year round. 25 miles to the east is Paso Robles where it can reach 105 during the summer. So I love my home town.

What is your secret sauce? Any tips for players?

My advice is to learn the two basic spins that all top level players use: topspin and under spin. These 2 techniques are required for tennis teaching professionals. The two techniques are the basics of the drive and drop shots.

What is your day job?

I am retiring from a home painting contractor business and developing a website on teaching pickleball.

How many hours a week do you play? How do you make time to play?

Being semi-retired allows ample time to play, so I get in about 20 hours per week.

Gregg Whitfield - Dink Drills

Gregg Whitfield – Dink Drills

Any lucky rituals before a big tournament? 

Train with drills in your weekly play and develop all of the shots from hard drives to soft drop shots.

Do you have any pickleball goals you would like to share?

One of my goals was to win gold at either the USAPA Nationals or US Open Pickleball Championships in the 5.0 division. I have medals in both with 2 gold medals at the US Open. Now my goal is to finish my training website which is focused on teaching different shots and strategies so players of all levels can play a better game and have fun with great friendships and exercise.

2019 US OPEN 60+ men's doubles: Ted Meyer/Gary Miller - Bronze, Jim Hackenberg/Dan McLaughlin - Gold, Joe Nguyen/Gregg Whitfield - Silver

2019 US OPEN 60+ men’s doubles: Ted Meyer/Gary Miller – Bronze, Jim Hackenberg/Dan McLaughlin – Gold, Joe Nguyen/Gregg Whitfield – Silver

Anything else you would like to share about your experience being one of the best pickleball players in the world?

My background in tennis was a great benefit. In tennis, the young guns could hit very fast serves where my skill set forced me to block the return of serve back. All top tennis players know how to have a very short backswing which allows a small compact technique to easily block the ball back and keep it in play. This technique is as simple as you getting to the ball and catching it with your hand. I start players out by hitting a serve to them and asking them to catch the ball with their hitting hand. First, that requires moving to the ball. Then, when catching the ball, there is no backswing and large follow through. From the basic skill, players quickly learn how to hit the ball back over the net and get it in play. Keeping the motion simple is the key to becoming a good player.

Meet The Pros – Dan McLaughlin

Meet The Pros – Dan McLaughlin

Dan McLaughlin Action

Dan McLaughlin

Dan McLaughlin is a platform tennis and paddleball convert who really is a team player. He loves the game and he loves the pickleball community. He also loves to win! Enjoy!

Can you list for us your major wins so we can correctly introduce you to our readers?

2019 US OPEN Men’s Skill/Age Doubles with Jim Hackenberg, Gold
Mixed Doubles with Jo Anne Russell – Bronze
2018 US OPEN Men’s Doubles Age 65+ with Seymour Rifkind – Silver
Mixed Doubles Age 65+ with Deb Harrison – Silver
        Men’s Skill/Age Doubles with Jim Hackenberg – Gold


Mixed Doubles Skill/Age with Deb Harrison – Silver
2017 US OPEN Men’s Doubles Age with Jim Hackenberg – Silver
Men’s Doubles Skill 50+ 4.5 with Pat Sinicki – Gold
Mixed Doubles Skill 50+ 4.5 with Nancy Robertson – Bronze
2017 Huntsman Senior Games Men’s Skill Doubles 4.5 50+ with Pat Sinicki – Silver
2014 USAPA Nationals, Mixed Doubles 65+ with Yvonne Hackenberg – Bronze

What paddle do you play with and why?

I am sponsored by Paddletek and I play with the TS-5 Pro. Paddletek is just an hour from where I live. I like the way the TS-5 Pro plays, especially the way the grip is rounder and feels more like a tennis grip.

What is your pickleball story? How were you introduced to pickleball?

I used to play tennis with Matt Wright at the University of Michigan. He was finishing his training and I was starting with the same coach. I knew Jim and Yvonne Hackenberg. years ago. They lived in Detroit, Michigan and I lived in Kalamazoo, where I lived for 35 years. They asked me to play pickleball, but I was into playing platform tennis and paddleball at the time. They didn’t give up. When I started playing in 2014 I was quickly hooked, and playing with the Hackenbergs put me on the fast track to being competitive at the national level.  I now live in Holland Michigan and winter in Naples, Florida. It is so easy to participate in the US OPEN each year.

What is your preference – playing indoors or outdoors?

Outdoors! I like being outside in the fresh air. I grew up in Southern California and loved the sun and the challenge of the wind.

Do you like singles or doubles better? Why?

I prefer doubles. Singles are too rough on me. I get too spent with little left to bring to the doubles match. I don’t want to let my doubles partner down by mixing singles and doubles in a tournament.

2019 US Open, Dan McLaughlin and Joann Russell - Bronze, Jim and Yvonne Hackenberg - Gold

2019 US Open, Dan McLaughlin and Joann Russell – Bronze, Jim and Yvonne Hackenberg – Gold

What is your favorite place to play? Why?

St. George Utah. Great courts and there are neat places to visit.

What is your secret sauce? Any tips for players?

Get old enough to watch the competitive field thin out through attrition. Pick good partners and stay out of their way.

What is your day job?

I am a semi-retired root canal specialist, otherwise known as endodontist. Mention you know me, and you might get a discount… or not. I also do wildlife photography. I have traveled to Alaska and Africa on photography excursions. I also take pictures at pickleball tournaments.

Do you have any pickleball goals you would like to share?

I have no big goals. I have been successful at the last few US OPEN tournaments. I now play pickleball as a fun way to stay fit and I love playing with family and friends. I’m satisfied with playing at a high level and keeping in contact with mentors.

Anything else you would like to share about your experience being one of the best pickleball players in the world?

I have been given the privilege to know all the top folks in most of the country.  I’m surprised to be included in this category. It is an honor to be sponsored by Paddletek. I like Paddletek because they recognize good players at all levels and gave support to someone like him, a small fish in a BIG pond.