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A tweet from a professional pickleball player raises the ire of James Blake, Andy Roddick and Nick Kyrgios

Updated: Apr 4

Screenshot from a news report from Fox where we see someone playing tennis outside with a tennis ball at the forefront

Pro pickleball player Christian Alshon makes a controversial statement

Let's start by looking at the tweet itself :

Let's be honest here, this tweet had a 100% probability of causing a stir in the tennis community, it raised the ire of multiples former and current professional players. There was already a small war going on between the two sports and that tweet won't do anything to ease the tension between the two groups.

Who is Christian Alshon?

First of all, let's establish the tweet author's credentials. Christian Alshon is a professional pickleball player on the Professional Pickleball Association Tour (PPA Tour), he's currently ranked in the top-5 in the world. Prior to moving to pickleball, the 23-year old athlete from Boca Raton in Florida had a great career in tennis in the junior ranks, going as far as being the number 1 junior in the nation. However, he finished his tennis career in the 3rd division of the NCAA. He's still qualified to know what it takes to perform at a high level in tennis, maybe just not at a professional level.

A statement that set fire to Twitter

If Christian Alshon's motive was to promote pickleball, he was successful in a way. Following his tweet, multiple former and current professional tennis players came to the defense of tennis, or rather directly attacked pickleball and Alshon . Andy Roddick, James Blake, Nick Kyrgios, Chris Eubanks, Jessica Pegula and Corentin Moutet all had something to say.

James Blake

Andy Roddick

Nick Kyrgios

Corentin Moutet

James Blake offers to settle it on the court

After another user suggested that Blake and Alshon settle it on the court, Blake was quick to jump on the opportunity :

But unfortunately, he was even quicker to decline Alshon's offer :

What WE think about that

There's a good chance that Christian Alshon developed his athletic abilities and skills that make him the 5th best player in the world by playing tennis at an elite level during his junior years. Even if the two sports share a lot of similarities, they're also different in multiple ways. Tennis requires more power, tactical planning, conditioning and variety to be able to win a point and cover a court double the size of pickleball.

Pickleball is in constant evolution and is standing at the very beginning of its ascension from hobby to professional sport. As more people picks up a pickleball racket, the sport and the skill level will grow over time. But it would be a plain exaggeration to think that pickleball requires more skill and athleticism than tennis does at the professional level. The two sports are not far away from each other at a recreational level, but miles away on a professional one.

This simplest way to demonstrate that is to look at former pro tennis player Jack Sock who picked up pickleball a year ago. He just lost a close 3-setter against the number 1 player in the world in the semifinals of a tournament. Christian is also a good example, after wrapping up his collegiate career, he's already at the top of his sport without having trained during 15 years like he did for tennis, a sport where he wasn't able to make it to the pro circuit.

Nevertheless, pickleball remains an exciting sport and an excellent way to stay in good shape, but it's not comparable to tennis when played at an elite or pro level.


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