The Best Picklers: The World’s Most Elite Pickleball Players


many, pickleball is a delightful pastime, a way to enjoy some friendly competition and stay active. However, for a select few, this sport has become a professional pursuit, leading them to the pinnacle of athletic achievement. These top-tier athletes have transformed their passion into a career, earning accolades and recognition on the global stage. Here, we introduce you to the top three men’s and women’s singles players, as ranked by Pickleball Global.

Top Male Pickleball Players

1. Benjamin Johns

At just 23 years old, Benjamin Johns stands as the premier men’s singles player in the world. Remarkably, Johns only discovered pickleball a few years ago, drawn to its unique blend of tennis and table tennis, both of which he played during his youth. His rapid ascent in the sport is marked by numerous gold medals in both singles and doubles tournaments. Recently, Johns made history by signing a deal with Franklin Sports, becoming the first professional pickleball player to secure such a sponsorship.

  • Age: 23
  • Background: Tennis and table tennis
  • Achievements: Multiple gold medals, Franklin Sports sponsorship

2. Zane Navratil

Zane Navratil transitioned from a successful tennis career to become the second-ranked men’s singles pickleball player globally. Starting tennis at age 10, Navratil’s skills earned him a spot on the University of Wisconsin men’s tennis team. Now 26, he turned to pickleball at his father’s suggestion and has since become a top competitor and respected instructor in the sport.

  • Age: 26
  • Background: University of Wisconsin men’s tennis team
  • Achievements: Ranked second globally, pickleball instructor

3. Tyson McGuffin

At 31, Tyson McGuffin is the eldest among the top three male players. A former wrestler and college tennis player, McGuffin discovered pickleball after a stint as a tennis coach. Despite initial struggles, he turned professional within six months and has maintained a position among the top five players worldwide for the past four years. McGuffin is also a dedicated father and instructor.

  • Age: 31
  • Background: Wrestling, college tennis
  • Achievements: Top five global ranking, professional within six months

Top Female Pickleball Players

1. Simone Jardim

At 41, Simone Jardim is the highest-ranking women’s singles player. Her journey began with a stellar tennis career, including being a two-time All-American at Fresno State. Jardim later coached collegiate tennis for eight years at Michigan State. She took up pickleball in 2015 and has since amassed nearly 90 medals in tournament play. Jardim and her husband run the Peak Performance Pickleball Academy, balancing their professional commitments with raising two children.

  • Age: 41
  • Background: Two-time All-American, collegiate tennis coach
  • Achievements: Nearly 90 medals, Peak Performance Pickleball Academy

2. Catherine Parenteau

27-year-old Catherine Parenteau ranks just behind her mentor, Simone Jardim. Parenteau played tennis under Jardim at Michigan State, where Jardim introduced her to pickleball in 2015. Today, Parenteau not only competes at the highest level but also dedicates time to teaching the sport to others.

  • Age: 27
  • Background: Michigan State tennis team
  • Achievements: Second-ranked globally, pickleball instructor

3. Lea Jansen

Lea Jansen transitioned from college tennis at Washington State University and Aquinas to become one of the top female pickleball players. Recently completing a graduate assistant program at Grand Valley State University, Jansen has returned to her hometown of Spokane, Washington. She trains with Tyson McGuffin, crediting him with significantly enhancing her game.

  • Age: Not specified
  • Background: College tennis at Washington State University and Aquinas
  • Achievements: Training with Tyson McGuffin, top-ranked player


These elite athletes, all with roots in tennis, demonstrate that even the best can face challenges when transitioning to a new sport. Their stories of perseverance, hard work, and passion serve as inspiration for anyone looking to elevate their pickleball game. Whether you play for fun or aspire to compete at a higher level, take a lesson from these pros: stay dedicated, enjoy the journey, and

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Written by Billy Pickles

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