James Blake ruthlessly slams pickleball player for ridiculous comments

Blake took umbrage at a former college champion praising pickleball.
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James Blake was a very good player in his time and he reached a career high of No. 4 on the ATP tour in 2006. He won 10 titles and reached three total quarterfinals at Grand Slam events. He is now the tournament director at the Miami Open and he does an excellent job in that role. If anyone is going to rightfully stand up for tennis and defend the sport against any perceived slight, that would be Blake.

He recently got into a discussion with someone on X/Twitter. The person Blake disputed facts with lists that he is an "All-American NCAA Champion" (this appears to be in pickleball) and is named Christian Alshon. Alshon appears to be a professional pickleball player currently.

On Tuesday, Alshon tweeted out this fairly ridiculous statement: "Pickleball has made me a much better athlete than Tennis ever did. Faster reaction time and speed are needed since the ball is only coming from 10 feet away. Point for point, pickleball requires more skill than tennis."

James Blake battles pickleballer on social media

The hope here is that Alshon is simply a bot or a troll who is simply making silly statements in order to drum up some drama. If that was his hope, he got a response - several, actually - from James Blake. And for the record, Alshon hurts his own argument by pointing out that pickleball players are only ten feet away from each other.

Tennis, especially at its highest levels compared to pickleball, is tremendously much more difficult than the other game because, among other aspects, a person has to cover much more area and then hit the ball further away than a pickleballer would and place the ball with pace and/or precision in order to win a point. There is little doubt the energy and skill it takes to win a competitive tennis match is much harder than a pickleball match.

Blake saw Alshon's tweet and said, "Haha. That might be because you were playing a pretty low level of tennis. Maybe if you were familiar with the athleticism it takes to excel at the sport you would realize how ridiculous this statement is."

There were some who defended the pickleballer in terms of Blake being too harsh. Some said that Alshon had played well in college for a short time. Of course, that leaves out the logic that playing well in college compared to playing well at any level of professional tennis is completely different.

Alshon responded that he had hit the ball around ("practice sets") with Taylor Fritz and Frances Tiafoe and implied he understands what it takes to play tennis. Obviously, he must not. Playing practice sets would be massively different from playing real matches.

To this, Blake made the extremely logical argument of saying he took batting practice against an MLB pitcher, but that does not mean he could play professional baseball. Blake said, "I took batting practice with an MLB team. That doesn’t mean I have any clue the talent, skill, and work ethic it takes to get to that level of baseball." Well said.

Alshon's original tweet also got Andy Roddick's attention as well. Roddick said the topic was a "dumb discussion." He is right, of course.

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