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Future Game-Changers: Top Pickleball Players to Watch in 2024

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It’s nearly March, the European tournament calendar is filling up and Season 1 of the Franklin Premier Pickleball League is approaching its conclusion, with the Finale just 61 days away!

A new year brings new upcoming players and we are looking ahead of the Season 2 Draft and who are the potential hidden gems for Team Captains (which are still to be confirmed) to look out for.

The below 9 players to watch, do not include our current 6 Captains, which in turn are also all of the 2023 English Nationals Gold Medallists. They are Thaddea Lock, Pei-Chuan Kao, Mollie Kubrick-Finney, James Chaudry, Freddie Powell and Louis Laville.


1.      Tom Turney

Tom Turney Pickleball

Tom could arguably be one of the picks of the Season 1 draft. His performances have been phenomenal considering he was 30th pick out of the 36 players in the league! Tom has also performed hugely well in tournaments across the world – 2x 4th place finishes in English Nationals and recently Tom won Bronze in 35+ Pro Men’s Doubles at the Indian Open! Tom will certainly be one player to watch out for in Season 2 and certainly will be on every Captains radar!


2.      Hermione Baxter-Chinery

Hermione Pickleball

Hermione has been one of the most improved players in the league in Season 1. Playing for Team SCAN, Hermione has been one of the few players in the division to play all six fixtures on a PPL Weekend! Hermione’s tournament performances have been strong over the last few months of 2023 as well. Double Gold at the Belgium Open, Gold in Women’s Doubles at the Pickle & Cheese Tournament in France and also two Pro Bronze Medals, in the Mediterranean Open, playing with Mollie and also the Nykoping Invitational with Louis, both hugely strong events! As a right side specialist, which Captain will have their eye on Hermione in Season 2?

 

3.      Ben Cawston

Ben Cawston - Rackets World No1

An unknown player to some, one of the most exciting prospects to others! Ben has been playing pickleball about 5 months and in that time has put in performances that some of the top British players should be wary of. He already has a number of notable performances in his short pickleball career including MVP at PPL Cambridge winning 5/6 matches. He has also won a Pro Silver and Bronze in the most recent Rota Open in February. To add to this impressive list, he is also World No1 Rackets player and recently won the British Open! Ben was used as a substitute for SB Pickleball in Season 1, and will be a highly sought after player in Season 2!

  

4.      Jess Wilson

Jess Wilson

Jess has been one of the top performing female players in the league in Season 1. She has improved event on event and these performances have been reflected in tournament play where she achieved a Pro Bronze at English Nationals Women’s Doubles and a 4th in Pro Women’s Singles. She also recently won a Double Crown at the Dinkin' In The Midlands tournaments beating some top UK players. At the Kingsley PPL, Jess was MVP of the weekend winning 5/6 matches. Can Jess help RAQT to victory in the Playoffs in April?

 

5.      Emerson Gregory

Emerson Gregory

Emerson is the youngest player in the Premier Pickleball League and has performed to a level that hugely exceeds his age. He has had some great wins in the PPL and was an integral player to The Pickleball Store’s League Victory back in January. At only 15 years old, one of the youngest top players in England, Emerson has youth on his side and could be a highly sought after player in the Season 2 draft.

 




6.      Wesley Jackson

Wes Jackson

Wes is one of the veteran players of UK pickleball. He has been playing for several years and in English Nationals 2023 arguably had his best result to date, winning Pro Bronze in Men’s Doubles with Bernie Audibert. This was a phenomenal performance in a highly competitive draw. Wes was undrafted in Season 1 but with some of his recent performances, surely a Captain or Challenger owner will be looking to add Wes to their Season 2 roster?

 





7.      Katie Morris

Katie Morris

Another relatively new pickleball player. A converted tennis player and Katie is showing huge improvements to her game already. She has been a substitute in this season’s PPL and only missed out on MVP on points difference! Katie has started dedicating more time to Pickleball and it is showing. As Katie can play both right and left side, she is one to watch out for in the Season 2 Draft.

 

 

8.      Ewan Skillicorn

Ewan Skillicorn

One of England’s rising stars in Pickleball. At only 16 years old, Ewan’s improvement in 2023 was hugely impressive. His performances earned him a draft pick, replacing Sam Basford in SB Pickleball. He hit the ground running in Kingsley and beat Louis and his partner Jason in the Men’s Doubles fixture – what a phenomenal scalp! We are looking forward to seeing Ewan in action in Season 2 where his game will only continue to improve!

 


9.      Emilia Smythe

Eml

Last but most certainly not least! Millie has been playing pickleball several months now and is becoming a hugely reliable right side player. Another converted tennis player, dedicating a lot of time to improving her pickleball, Millie is getting stronger and stronger each time she plays. She was a substitute for The Pickleball Store at PPL Cambridge and also has had some great wins and medals in her short career, including Pro Mixed Doubles Bronze at English Nationals and also a great bronze at the Mediterranean Open! Millie’s aggressive game will surely be catching the eyes of some Captains ahead of Season 2!



Article written by Louis Laville - PPL Director

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