Kyle Lewis Interview
Kyle is a Pro Pickleball Player Ranked #23 in the World
What do you like about pickleball?
It’s amazing to me how fun pickleball is and how social/inclusive it is. I’ve seen hundreds of people playing pickleball that otherwise wouldn’t be outside exercising with friends and family.
For me personally, it’s been a new and exciting challenge to switch from high level tennis to a new sport and see how far I can go with it. Pro pickleball is growing so quickly and no one really knows where it will end up, even in just a few years. It’s just really fun to be a part of something like that.
What got you interested in pickleball?
At 26, I started training again for pro tennis and was going to give it one more shot. Then, Covid happened and all tennis tournaments were shut down. Apparently, the government didn’t know they should also shut down pickleball tournaments, so I entered a few during that time and realized there might be an easier pathway to playing pro and making a living at it than in tennis.
What did you do before pickleball?
I lived at a tennis academy when I was 19 and played tournaments for a few years up and down California. My highest ranking was about 58 in California in tennis. At 23, I started coaching tennis in Santa Monica, California.
Where did you grow up? What was your life like as a child?
I grew up in Santa Barbara and had a pretty fun, activity filled childhood. I played a lot of tennis and went to the beach often.
What do you like about singles as opposed to doubles?
Singles is much closer to tennis in my opinion, so I’ve had more early success on the singles side with a ranking of around #20 on the PPA tour for the last couple years. My doubles is catching up now that I’ve been playing pickleball for nearly 3.5 years. Doubles has a lot more strategy and touch shots, whereas singles tends to be more power with shorter points.
What problems have you encountered as a pro player, with pickleball players, or pickleball in general?
With such a new sport, there have been several “growing pains” from the pickleball tours, but overall, it’s been a fairly smooth ride. On the player side, there can be some cheating here and there because players make their own line calls, and referees tend to watch the kitchen line for foot faults more than the ball. This seems to be getting resolved with video replay in the finals, two referees in bigger matches, etc.
Have you had anything unusual happen at a match?
Several times! Wind so strong the ball goes sideways, balls melting because it’s so hot, heated moments with other players who were cheating, and many more.
Kyle’s pickleball website is LewisPickleball.com.
Kyle is now also designing Shopify stores for pickleball companies and other small businesses. You can reach Kyle through KyleLewisDesigns.com. Tell him Jeff sent you!