The debate occurred when Brett Haber, a commentator for the Tennis Channel, revealed that he was unimpressed with pickleball as he managed to crush the head pro at his club in the first singles match he ever played.
"Here’s the biggest problem with Pickleball I’ve seen so far: I beat the head pro at my club tonight 11-0 — in the first singles match I ever played. And just to alleviate the suspense: I ain’t that good. As you were," he remarked.
Reading about Haber’s incident, former tennis players James Blake and Kim Clijsters, who are now two of the many owners of Major League Pickleball, tried to defend their new venture.
"So you got to a proficient level very quickly. That’s a problem with a sport so now you can play with many different levels in a short amount of time? So you and I could probably play together sometime and it would be fun for both of us. Would that be true in tennis for us?" James Blake said.
"I beat most of my tennis coaches in singles too ;-)" Kim Clijsters noted.
Breaking into the debate, Andy Roddick wondered if Clijsters would be able to defeat her coaches the first time she ever played a singles match similar to Brett Haber’s pickleball experience. Roddick also chimed in with Haber to provide an evaluation of the credibility of the sport and suggested that sports are entertaining to watch only if they come with a level of difficulty and effort.
"Did you beat them the first time you ever played singles?" Andy Roddick asked Kim Clijsters.
"It’s strengths are its weaknesses. On the plus side, it’s not hard, so everyone can play (except for the head pro that Brett skunked in his first attempt) On the down side, it’s easy, and people tend to wanna watch sports that aren’t," Andy Roddick remarked.
"You think Brett is gonna win four pickle majors and be one of the best ever ? That’s the apples to apples comp?" he further asked Clijsters.
Kim Clijsters eventually accepted Andy Roddick's view but noted that the game could be good for the elderly.
"No chance , but the pro might be really (good) for the elderly that want to play," she said.
"Will only play pickleball if I can’t run at all anymore" – Tennis legend Martina Navratilova shares views similar to those of Andy Roddick
Martina Navratilova also voiced views similar to those of Andy Roddick and stated that pickleball requires minimal effort unlike the vastly challenging sport of tennis. She also remarked that she won’t play the game unless she is incapable of running at all in the future.
"Biggest reason pickle ball is so popular, (in my not so humble opinion), is that you can be decent and feel successful rather quickly. Unlike tennis, which- in the words of my friend Joel Drucker- takes a long time not to suck" she tweeted.
"It’s a great sport for sure:), will only play pickleball (who came up with that name?!?) if I can’t run at all anymore," she stated.
Pickleball has caused significant hoo-ha in recent months, especially in the United States. However, the racquet sport has received plenty of criticism, with sports fans calling it a “game” rather than a “sport” due to its unchallenging nature.
Many fans have called out the bigwigs from various sporting fields for their investment and exaggerated marketing and promotion of the recreational sport. They have also lashed out at the Tennis Channel for broadcasting the game on a split screen during important matches.
Poll : Is pickleball a credible sport?