For a guy who until recently seemingly did not like pickleball, John McEnroe seems to want to be involved in the growing sport (if one can call it a sport). McEnroe even joked in April 2022 at his Johnny Mac Tennis Project Comedy Night, “Pickleball sucks. But if they pay enough, you go and do it.” Well, John McEnroe must be getting paid enough by OWL Sport because Johnny Mac has been playing and selling pickleball lately.
McEnroe’s latest foray into the world of pickleball was made in conjunction with OWL Sport and former New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees. OWL Sport has made a paddle it claims is 50 percent quieter than previous paddles. Brees owns a Major League Pickleball team, the Los Angeles Mad Drops. John McEnroe and Brees recently hit the pickleball around at The Reflectory at Chelsea Square in New York City to help promote the OWL Sport paddle.
This past April, McEnroe participated in a pickleball event with Michael Chang, Andre Agassi, and Andy Roddick, and Agassi and Roddick earned $1 million by winning the match. That’s not chump change. And sure, pickleball has grown 202 percent over three years, according to the Sports and Fitness Industry Association‘s website. But John McEnroe playing the sport, even if his participation also helps bring people to the real sport of tennis, just seems, well…wrong.
John McEnroe plays pickleball, Kevin Costner plays tennis
In other news akin to tennis, Kevin Costner was recently seen on billionaire Richard Branson’s Caribbean island to play in a tennis pro-am that is considered the world’s most expensive. Celebrities pay as much as $100,000 to hit the ball with tennis players such as Genie Bouchard and Mike Bryan.
That either means Kevin Costner had a bunch of money he wanted to waste – I am sure he is well-known enough to have friends who are also professional tennis players who will hit the ball around with him – or he just really loves the Bryan brothers or Bouchard. Either way, at least he chose a great sport to spend his money on.
Marko Ducman needs a permanent ban
In the last bit of news, speaking of money and tennis, umpire Marko Ducman recently received a 10-year ban from the International Tennis Integrity Agency for reportedly wagering on tennis matches and manipulating data from matches in which he was an official to facilitate betting of the match. That is obviously very bad.
Along with the 10-year ban, Ducman also has to pay a fine of $75,000 of which $56,000 was suspended. The biggest question I have is why isn’t Ducman simply banned forever. Wagering on tennis matches one might also be officiating is the worst thing one can do in terms of betting on the sport. He needs a permanent ban.