Pickleball is an extremely entertaining sport that took off in America in 1965. Despite being a relatively new sport, it has quickly risen to the top to become one of the most played sports in America.
To date, more than 36 million Americans play pickleball. That figure doesn’t account for the millions of people that play it outside of America too.
This fast-paced racket and ball game is fun to play and watch.
If you’ve never played or watched pickleball before, you might be keen to learn a bit more about the sport. If you are, you’ve come to the right place.
In today’s post, we’re going to tell you more about the 10 best pickleball players in the world.
Looking at past champions and current professionals from the men’s and women’s games, you’ll soon know the names of pickleball’s most iconic players(see also: 11 Best Warm Up Exercises That Every Pickleball Player Should Know).
Let’s dive straight in!
1. Ben Johns
The first pickleball player on our list is Ben Johns. At just 23 years old, Ben Johns is currently ranked No. 1 in the world for singles, mixed doubles, and doubles.
Considered by many to be the best player to ever play pickleball, Johns already has a pickleball history rich in success, with most of his career still ahead of him.
Johns started playing racket sports at the age of 8 when he started playing tennis. He played tennis for a decade before making the switch to pickleball.
Not long after that, he competed in the U.S. Open in Florida.
Just a year later, he went on to win it. Since then, Johns has been unstoppable, winning gold in singles, mixed doubles, and doubles at every tournament.
2. Kris Anderson
Kris Anderson is one of the best female pickleball players in the world. Originally a tennis player, Anderson only picked up a pickleball paddle in 2014 when a friend suggested a game when harsh weather saw her tennis match postponed.
Anderson quickly fell in love with the speed and skill the game entailed. Shortly after, she bought her first paddle set and started playing competitively. Fast forward almost seven years and Kris is one of America’s best women’s pickleball players.
Originally from Scarsdale, New York, Anderson has won the USAPA Nationals in the women’s 50+ division, the Texas Open with doubles partner Dave Weinbach, the US Open, USA Nationals, and the Tournament of Champions.
3. Anna Leigh Waters
The next pickleball player on our list is Anna Leigh Waters.
Anna Leigh Waters, a pickleball phenomenon, is currently ranked No. 1 in the world by the Professional Pickleball Association for women’s singles, mixed doubles, and doubles, Anna has taken the world of pickleball by storm.
What makes all of this success so impressive is that she is only 16 years old. Unbelievably, Anna Leigh Waters became the youngest pickleball pro in the world when she turned pro at the age of 12.
Astonishingly, she only turned pro in 2019, just two years after first picking up a paddle.
Clearly a generational talent, current titles include the Orlando Cup, the Texas Open, and a bronze medal in the US Open.
4. Tyson McGuffin
Tyson McGuffin started playing pickleball at the age of 24. Once a tennis coach, McGuffin was encouraged to try the sport of pickleball when a student invited him to play. The rest is history.
He quickly made a name for himself in the sport, winning the 2017 USA Pickleball National Championships within two years of starting his pickleball journey.
He currently has 4 PPA titles and has won almost $100,000 in tournament prize money.
Consistently sitting in the top five players in the world on the men’s world rankings, Tyson McGuffin is one of Ben Johns’s biggest competitors, with the two regularly facing each other in tight battles.
5. Tony Girodo
The next pickleball player to make our list is Tony Girodo. Tony Girodo has a remarkable pickleball story that makes him one of the best senior players in the game.
Competing in the 65+ category, Tony was once one of the best in the world for his age.
A full-time RV’er, Girodo’s pickleball journey starts on the road. One day, he watched a pickleball game from his RV. The game got the better of his curiosity and he decided to give it a try.
Tony was captivated by the game. He loved how fast and entertaining it was. After that, he decided to travel around America with his wife so he could compete in pickleball tournaments.
6. Frank Anthony Davis
In recent years, Frank Anthony Davis flew up the professional pickleball rankings. Born in Philadelphia, Davis quickly climbed from the top 25 to the top 3, winning the Atlantic Region Singles and multiple doubles titles with his partner Kyle Yates.
Today, Davis currently sits 6th in the world rankings. Known for his perseverance and athleticism on the court, Frank started playing pickleball in 2013. Alongside playing pickleball, he works as an electrical engineer.
7. Kyle Yates
The next pickleball player on this list is Kyle Yates. Kyle Yates has been a force to be reckoned with in pickleball for many years.
Despite being 18th in the men’s world rankings in 2022, he is still considered one of the game’s very best.
Having played for longer than most because he started in his teenage years, the now 26-year-old has had a distinguished career that once saw him top the world rankings and win various tournaments.
Some of the competitions he won included the USAPA National Tournament and gold in the men’s doubles. Yates has also won gold in the doubles at the French Open.
8. Salome Devidze
Salome Devidze is relatively new to the world of pickleball but that hasn’t stopped her from becoming one of the very best.
Currently ranked No. 2 in the women’s world rankings, sitting only behind Anna Leigh Waters, Devidze actually has a background in tennis.
Devidze is a Georgian tennis player who had reasonable success in the sport. She never won any notable tournaments but she did achieve a world ranking of 250.
After switching from tennis to pickleball, Devidze quickly began to experience success.
9. Kaitlyn Christian
Another female pickleball player with a history in tennis is Kaitlyn Christian. Christian, who once played the body-double role of Emma Stone in The Battle of the Sexes was a tennis pro that decided to move over to pickleball.
Her most recent pickleball win came in the 2018 USAPA Margaritaville National Women’s Open Singles where she won a bronze medal. Her game focuses heavily on power and she puts most of her pickleball success down to her past career in tennis.
Other wins Christian has in pickleball include gold in the Lakes Spring Fling and bronze in the 2018 Engage Golden State (see also: 10 Best States For Pickleball)Championships.
10. Lea Jansen
The final pickleball player on our list is Lea Jansen. Lea Jansen is one of the best upcoming prospects on the PPA Tour, despite being 30 years old.
Known for her fiery on-court persona, explosiveness, and competitiveness, Jansen only started playing pickleball in 2019.
She quickly found her feet in the sport, medaling in some of the biggest tournaments in all three disciplines.
In 2021, she took two PPA gold medals – one in the Rocky Mountain Championship and the other in the Orange County Cup.
That concludes this post looking at pickleball’s best players. As you can see from our list, pickleball is blessed with a wide range of immensely talented players.
On our list, we included players from the men’s, women’s, singles, doubles, and senior categories. In some instances, the players on our list excel in all of the categories.
Now you’ve made your way through our list, you should know a lot more about the 10 best pickleball players in the world(see also: 10 Best Pickleball Champions In The World). Who knows, if you start playing now, you might find yourself on a list like this one day.