Major League Pickleball: Fri Nov 5 - Mon Nov 8, 2021 (Recap)
By all accounts, the first season / weekend / tournament of Major League Pickleball was a huge success! Players loved it. Team owners loved it. The crowds loved it. And the production team is just happy for a nice long nap after four days of 11+ hour broadcasts! (Hats off to Ray & team!)
Congrats to Team BLQK (Irina Tereschenko, Andrea Koop, Ben Johns, and Rob Nunnery) for overcoming the Chimeras (Anna Leigh Waters, Lee Whitwell, AJ Koller and Kyle Yates) during the exciting finale on Monday night.
Here's the full standings:
HOW TO RE-WATCH: MLP's YouTube channel.
No word yet when Season 2 will happen, but I'm sure everyone at the MLP camp is excited to do it all over again in 2022. After a long nap, of course. ;-)
The following was written before MLP began...
WHAT: Major League Pickleball (MLP) is a fresh new event where 8 teams of 4 pros each (16 men & 16 women) will play each other in a weekend long tournament against every other team. (It's kind of like Ryder Cup meets Davis Cup meets Team Tennis. Should be FUN!)
WHEN: Fri Nov 5 - Mon Nov 8. Matches begin each day at 9am ET / 8am CT / 6am PT until approx 10pm ET / 9pm CT / 7pm PT.
There are 8 matches per day: schedule is posted here (scroll down the "Event Schedule" section, and also in this handy graphic courtesy of thedink (all times on this graphic are Central Time).
Please note the championship match (aka. "DUPR Bowl") between the final two teams will be played on Mon Nov 8 at 9pm ET / 6pm PT. (Subscribe to this website for updates.)
FORMAT: Each match consists of 4 games to 15 points (win by 1).
The first game is women's doubles game, then men's doubles game, and then 2 mixed doubles games.
In the mixed doubles games, the "home" team choose their first mixed team, then the "away" team has a minute to decide their team.
If there is a 2-2 tie after 4 games, a 5th game of singles will be played, and this is where it gets rather interesting…
Singles is modified “rally scoring” — where a point is scored on every rally, regardless of who is serving — until you get to game point, and that 15th point must be won by the serving team. (Win by 1.)
Second, a new player from each team will rotate in every 4 rallies.
The "away" team decides their lineup first, and then the "home" team has 1 minute to respond with their lineup.
So if, for example, Team BLQK and ATX Pickleballers go into a 5th game tie breaker, you might have Ben Johns vs. Yana Grechkina for the first 4 rallies, then Irina Tereschenko vs Catherine Parenteau for the next 4 rallies, then Andre Koop vs Tyler Loong, then Rob Nunnery vs Pat Smith, or various permutations thereof.
And who knows what the score will be if/when they circle back around to Ben vs Yana? But this new unique game 5 concept almost starts to feel like penalty kicks in soccer, which is always an exciting, edge-of-your-seat finish for a match!
ANALYSIS: For insight check out Slim & Gritty's Big Questions, Live Blog, and the review of all 8 teams. (Disclaimer: Once again, I have no affiliation with this site, I don't know who the authors are, and I don't agree with everything that they write, but I appreciate their commentary.)
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And check out the full upcoming Pro Pickleball schedule here.