Everyone is getting into pickleball it seems these days. And I mean … everyone.
ESPN will televise the inaugural Pickleball Slam at the Hard Rock Live on Sunday, and despite the participation from some big names in tennis, one, in particular, isn’t a fan of the sport.
Still, he’s not holding back on why he decided to attend the event.
Tennis legends Andre Agassi, Michael Chang, John McEnroe, and Andy Roddick all will be will featured in two matches, a singles and a doubles. However, McEnroe isn’t keen on the idea of this new sport.
“This came to us, like, ‘What, you’re going to throw some money at us? OK,” McEnroe told the Miami Herald.
Can’t hate on him for the honesty. After all, the International Tennis Hall of Famer is known for his bluntness.
And while pickleball is growing in popularity, McEnroe is sick of hearing it.
“I don’t look at pickleball like, ’Oh my God this is great!,’” he said. “If I hear one more time that pickleball is the fastest-growing sport I’m gonna throw up.”
OK then …
“I look at like, there’s the NFL and then there’s arena football. It’s hard to imagine something small like pickleball being great on TV. It’s like watching ping-pong on TV. Tough to see how that can really work. But I’ve had people say they started watching tennis because of pickleball. Hopefully, it’ll be a win-win for both.”
The doubles teams will take a shot at competing for a $1 million purse, the largest in pickleball history. There also will be a $100,000 donation to a charity of their choice.
And while pickleball is a form of tennis, in a way, McEnroe doesn’t love it.
“No, I don’t enjoy it. Tennis is my game,” he said. “But it’s something I’ve been enjoying with friends because it’s sort of an equalizer. You can learn and pick it up and be reasonably good at it.”
McEnroe said his friends believe they can beat him in a game of pickleball, but it’s not like he’s new to the entirety of the game.
Patrick McEnroe, John’s younger brother, and Chris Fowler will be commentating on the event that takes place at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Fla.
What did Patrick have to say about John’s pickleball game?
“I’ve seen John play, and I’m confident that he is going to be pretty darn good,” he told ESPN Front Row. “He’s got the perfect tennis strokes for pickleball.”
John also has one extra special incentive for the event.
“Playing for $1 million, that is enjoyable also,” he said.