Racquet sport enthusiasts recognize the names of Federer, Nadal, Williams, and Graf as some of the greatest tennis players ever to play the game. However, with pickleball rising to prominence worldwide—especially in the Pacific Northwest—it’s nice to know the five best pickleball players of all time.
5) Irina Tereschenko
One of the driving forces on the women’s pickleball circuit has been Irina Tereschrenko. The Moscow native is in the top 10 rankings for both singles and doubles. Tereschenko’s prowess today is quite the feat, considering she’s been dazzling on the court since 2016.
Tereschenko was an avid tennis player at Texas Tech University before another professional player, Chris Miller, had her compete in the Pickleball Tournament of Champions. After winning the first tournament, she turned to pickleball full-time, winning five majors and two USA Pickleball Association titles.
4) Jay Devilliers
Although the history of pickleball begins in the Pacific Northwest, Jocelyn “Jay” Devilliers proves the game has international appeal, as the Frenchman has been a major player since 2019. Devilliers has an extensive racquet sports background, including tennis, badminton, and squash. But he suffered a serious injury that derailed his tennis career, leading him to pick up a pickleball paddle.
Devilliers has over 20 APP titles and won the Triple Crown—which is winning gold medals in all three (singles, doubles, mixed doubles) divisions—at the 2021 Pacific NW Classic. Besides having a top-five ranking in men’s singles, Devilliers is an ambassador for the French Pickleball Federation to spread the joys of the game throughout France.
3) Simone Jardim
Young superstars like Lea Jansen and Anna Leigh Waters shine on the circuit today, but they have much to prove before surpassing Simon Jardim as the most decorated women’s pickler. The Brazilian player has been a professional since 2015, accumulating 90 medals.
Jardim is a two-time Triple Crown winner at the US Open Pickleball Championships, and her 36 PPA titles are the most in PPA history. The Queen of Pickleball is a recent retiree from the singles competition, but she still competes in doubles tournaments.
2) Tyson McGuffin
Every sport has a heated rivalry, and pickleball is no different. While we argue until we’re blue in the face about who the G.O.A.T. is between Michael Jordan and LeBron James, pickleball fans debate about Tyson McGuffin and Ben Johns.
McGuffin didn’t have much of a learning curve to overcome, winning his first tournament after only playing the sport for a month. McGuffin’s accolades include the 2017 USA Pickleball Association National Champion and five major championships.
1) Ben Johns
It’s hard to argue against Ben Johns being the greatest pickleball player on Earth. Johns remains the top-ranked male player in the world and is atop the men’s doubles rankings with his brother, Collin. We’ll just let Johns’s resume speak for itself:
- Johns has over 60 PPA titles.
- At one point in his career, he was the world’s number one in all three divisions.
- He was the first male pro to win the Triple Crown at a major and holds the record for most Triple Crowns over his career.
- Johns was the first pickler to get a lucrative endorsement deal.
The five best pickleball players of all time continue to prove why they sit atop a pedestal. Young pickleball players know the bar is high to overtake Jardim and Johns, but as the game continues to grow, more phenoms will be in the pipeline.