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Pickleball Pro Rankings: Who To Watch For

Anna Bright hitting a pickleball
(Image credit: Kerry Pittenger) Pro Player Anna Bright

Pickleball pro rankings for the Professional Pickleball Association Tour are the best way to track the top ranked pickleball players. Find out which factors determine pickleball player rankings and learn more about the leading players to watch for on the PPA Tour.

What Are the Pickleball Pro Rankings

The official standings for the PPA are rankings of professional pickleball players. These rankings are organized by division, including men’s and women’s doubles, mixed doubles and singles. Player rankings are based on a points system that includes the top 80% of a player’s tournament performance for the past 52 weeks.

PPA Tour events play a major part in determining pickleball player rankings. These rankings factor in overall points, race points and rank. Points are awarded based on finishing ranks and wins for finishers outside of the top four. 

The pickleball pro rankings maintained by the PPA currently account for some of the top-performing players in the sport. A number of top pickleball players have recently signed exclusive contracts with the PPA that range from one to three years, which makes PPA rankings even more relevant.

How Pickleball Pros Are Ranked

Players rank in PPA standings based on the divisions in which they play and their total points. You can refer to rankings for doubles, mixed doubles or singles or factor in points and rankings across all divisions to find top ranked pickleball players to watch.

Pickleball is conventionally played as doubles, which include men’s, women’s and mixed matches. Men and women are ranked separately, including for the Mixed Doubles division. The singles division can be more challenging, as each player has to cover the entire 20-foot court.

The standing of each player may not be entirely reflected by race points and rank, which can differ from overall standing. You can also refer to the number of points a player has earned at each PPA Tour event and in total. 

Men’s Pickleball Pros To Watch

The current pickleball player rankings indicate the best players to watch in the ongoing PPA Tour. Learn more about the backgrounds of some of the top-ranked men’s players in the doubles, mixed doubles and singles divisions and the likelihood that these players will win it all.

Ben Johns

Ben Johns is the first ranked player in men’s mixed doubles and singles and second in men’s doubles behind his brother and pickleball partner, Collin Johns. Ben Johns turned pro in 2016 and holds over 80 PPA Titles and more Triple Crowns, which refer to gold medals in all three divisions during a tournament, than any other male pro pickleball history. 

Ben Johns after swinging at a pickleball
(Image credit: Kerry Pittenger) Pro Player Ben Johns

The leading men’s pickleball player is currently only 24 years old and sponsored by Joola. He plays with a Joola Hyperion CFS 16MM paddle that he helped to design. Ben Johns is in a good position to lead the pickleball pro rankings for the current PPA Tour and upcoming tours.

Riley Newman

Riley Newman is a former tennis player who took up pickleball and turned pro in 2018. He ranked second on the 2021 World Pickleball Rankings in the doubles division and maintained this rank in 2022. On the 2023 PPA Tour, Newman currently ranks second in mixed doubles and third in doubles.

It is worth noting that Riley Newman also plays mixed doubles with a family member. Riley won gold with his sister, Lindsay, in the mixed doubles bracket of his first 5.0 tournament. The siblings played together again in the U.S. Nationals tournament in 2019. Look for Riley in the top five pickleball pro rankings for the doubles and mixed doubles divisions.

JW Johnson

JW Johnson is an up-and-coming pickleball player who turned pro in 2020. He ranked fourth in men’s singles and fifth in the mixed doubles division of the 2021 World Pickleball Rankings. In 2022, he ranked first in mixed doubles and second in men’s singles and doubles.

On the current rankings for the 2023 PPA tour, JW Johnson ranks third in men’s mixed doubles, fifth in singles and sixth in doubles. He has a chance to rise in the rankings, which makes him a pickleball pro to watch.

Women’s Pickleball Pros To Watch

Women’s pickleball is just as competitive as the men’s divisions, and women and men play together in the mixed doubles division. Find out more about the women who currently lead the pickleball pro rankings and their prospects for the 2023 PPA Tour.

Anna Leigh Waters

One of the most promising young pickleball pros currently holds the top rank in every women’s division. Anna Leigh Waters went pro at age 12 and is now only 16. Anna often plays doubles with her mother, Leigh Waters.

Anna Leigh Waters
(Image credit: Kerry Pittenger) Pro Player Anna Leigh Waters

The Waters are known for “banging” and “ripping,” which describe their aggressive approach to reflex volleys, resets and defenses. Anna Leigh Waters partners with top-ranked male players, including JW Johnson, for mixed doubles. Her rank in this division has risen from sixth in 2022 to first in 2023.

Anna Bright

Another promising young pickleball player recently turned pro in 2022. Bright made her debut on the 2022 World Pickleball Rankings in seventh position for women’s singles. She currently ranks second in women’s doubles, third in mixed doubles and tenth in singles on the 2023 PPA Tour.

Anna Bright was formerly a collegiate tennis player at Cal and played on the Major League Pickleball and Association of Pickleball Players circuits before becoming a Gold Card touring pro with the PPA. She is sponsored by Joola and Thorlo and is another player to watch during the 2023 PPA Tour and future tours.

Catherine Parenteau

Catherine Parenteau is another former tennis player turned pickleball pro. Parenteau was one of the top five Canadian tennis players before she picked up a pickleball paddle in 2015. Within six months, she competed in the US Open, won the 5.0 mixed bracket and became one of the top ranked pickleball players.

Parenteau and her pickleball partner Callie Smith won the US Open Pro Women’s Doubles division in 2021. The following year, Parenteau ranked second in Women’s Singles, first in doubles and third in mixed doubles. On the 2023 PPA tour, she currently ranks second in mixed doubles and third in women’s doubles and singles.

Ben Johns and Anna Leigh Waters currently lead the PPA rankings for men’s and women’s pickleball and are likely to hold their positions through the 2023 tour. In 2021, Ben Johns ranked first in all divisions of the World Pickleball Rankings. His rank in the men’s singles bracket slid to fourth and he ranked third in mixed doubles in 2022, but he is on track to win both of these divisions in 2023. Ben currently ranks second to Collin Johns, his brother and pickleball partner, in men’s doubles.

Anna Leigh Waters ranked first in singles and third in doubles in the 2021 World Pickleball Rankings. She maintained the top spot of the singles division in 2022. Anna Leigh is currently the leader of all women’s divisions in the 2023 PPA Tour and is a promising young player who is likely to keep competing.

Leading paddle brands sponsor both of these top players. Ben Johns, who was formerly sponsored by Franklin, announced a new partnership with JOOLA Pickleball in April 2022. He also collaborated in the design of the official JOOLA Ben Johns Hyperion CFS 16MM paddle. Anna Leigh Waters recently re-signed with Paddletek, which offers a signature edition of the Bantam TS-5 Pro paddle bearing her name.

Pickleball Events To Watch

The PPA has partnered with broadcast networks and internet streaming services to make it easier than ever before to watch pickleball. At least 273 hours of 2023 pickleball season coverage will air on sports channels and streaming services. From Opens to Championships, many events could shuffle pickleball player rankings. Check the PPA Tour Schedule to see broadcast and streaming options for any stop on the 2023 Tour.

The Selkirk Texas Open in June airs on ESPN and CBS Sports Network, and you can watch the Denver Open in July on the Tennis Channel, ESPN 2 and ESPN. In August, catch the Takeya Showcase on CBS Sports Network and Paramount+ and the Vulcan Kansas City Open on Prime Video and the Tennis Channel. These events lead up to the PPA Championships in October, which will stream on Prime Video, and the Finals in November, which you can watch on the Tennis Channel.

Results from these and other events in the past year factor into 2023 pro rankings. It is also worthwhile to note that recent exclusivity contracts could limit pros’ participation in non-PPA competitions. Events on the PPA Tour are likely to be the most competitive pickleball matches. 

Stay Up To Date On Pickleball Pro Rankings

Watch the PPA Tour and check updated pickleball pro rankings after each tour event. The best way to get the latest pickleball news is to subscribe to Pickleball Portal. We review equipment, offer giveaways, provide tips to improve your game and report on the top ranked pickleball players and changes in pickleball player rankings.

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About Dan Langston

With experience in the ecotourism industry and time well spent as a fly fishing guide in the remote absaroka mountain range for 6 years, Dan brings a unique perspective on customer service to the digital world. As the operator, Dan is now committed to revitalizing Pickleball Portal and plans to build a support system for content creators and provide helpful information for the pickleball community. dan@pickleballportal.com

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