Welcome back to center court for our final day of coverage here on championship sunday at the app st louis open presented by head pickleball here at the missouri pickleball club lauren mclaughlin and dominic catalano we're here it's always bittersweet on the last day like it's so exciting but.

It's done now we have our number one in two seeds facing off here in our first gold medal match of championship sunday the number one seed zane navertill he takes on the number two seed jw johnson as i mentioned earlier this is a double.

Elimination format navertill came through the winner bracket so he is sitting pretty here 26 years old currently still in brookfield wisconsin but shortly moving to austin texas he is the number one ranked single players by world pickleball rankings he.

Played all four years of tennis at the university of wisconsin whitewater where he got a degree in accounting was going to be a cpa got that certification and then decided never mind pro pickleball is what i'm gonna do so we're glad to have him here in our gold medal match he takes on again j.w johnson.

19 years old currently the number four ranked singles player in the world by the world pickleball rankings originally from kansas now lives in the delray beach florida area spent his high school years at a tennis academy in florida some of which was online due to covid.

But he is the youngest top three singles player in the world again at 19. so you mentioned earlier dom we've seen these two face off quite a few times now but the most exciting part is truly either could win each time they face off it looked like in not saying listen.

In a way like he's going down or anything but there was a time about six months ago it looked like jw johnson was unbeatable correct right he had just turned that corner but then it's zayn is playing extremely well right now zayn got him last time and so now it's okay you know it it's it's going back.

And forth but there was a time where it looked like jw johnson like that toc to like up to like five six months ago a big big span of time where he was always coming out on top when he faced navertill but navertile definitely you know he's found a little secret sauce here yeah and this first gold medal match of.

Championship sunday brought to you by head pickleball j.w johnson will start serving on the near end naver till on the far end again two out of three here if navertill wins the two out of three he's our gold medalist if johnson comes out on top we'll play a tiebreaker match to 15.

Strong start for navertill who again navratil has been here at the missouri pickleball club since about 8 30 this morning he's spent a lot of time warming up getting ready that's good finish right there from johnson as he shortens the court it's naverton in that.

Corner navato tries to speed up down the line johnson having none of that tom whitson is our usa pickleball certified referee for this match backed up by don stanek at number two championship sunday lauren i'm taking those all day long oh yeah there's no saris on championship sunday did get a little a little hand sorry.

From navato but oh did he get it wow just caught that outside edge see the inside there from johnson good camera work early from the camera man catching navratil's expression i love it justin dickerson and matthew pace always love having them at.

Tournaments they do such a great job and just just super fun guys so that's a good example right there what nevertheless needs to do he needs to really go down the line he's got to go within a foot of the sidelines to get that out of the reach of j.w johnson like he did a point ago.

He is out to a 4-1 lead here in game number one these two generally i feel like not too often do they only go to two games when these two face off a lot of times you'll see a.

Game three just because they are so closely matched yeah you will see that like you said you'll see them go to three a lot because again that the match-up is so it is even right you say like 50 you know 50 60 40 depending on who's playing well at what time rare miss right there on a big forehand.

From johnson yeah just kind of really that ball a ghost moved that ball at the last second he's ready to hit timeout here from jw johnson he just seems a little off right now not a good start for the youngster he can't and there's certain players that.

We talk about being a bit of a slow start some of the top players in the world sometimes are in that conversation of being a slow starter what exactly does that mean when we say that a player is a slow starter well again too you're looking at this.

Way for championship sunday whenever you're getting on court right now nobody's more warm than anybody unless your warm-up was harder or you got here earlier because no one's played a match today so in that aspect you know it all depends on i'm not usually during a tournament because a.

Lot of times all you'll have a team that they had to buy well they didn't they've played a match already they're fresh you know you got all those kind of factors but on championship sunday there is no factors you're both coming in not playing a match yet today but navratil starting off fast here like you mentioned he was here earlier.

He has warmed up longer perhaps harder i saw him rocking some singles with andrea coop who we'll see later today on championship sunday absolutely got there i didn't think it was possible look at the back spin on this shot it comes back to.

The other side of the net absolutely incredible gift by johnson he just got on his horse for that that's a nice ball right there and again staying within himself here watch him hit this he does not really rip this as hard as he can he puts some shape on that and keeps that inside the line great job by.

Johnson oh he tries it again i mean it didn't go well for him the first time well so much for that as soon as we talk about a slow start for j.w okay all of a sudden he woke up usually happens when we see.

Him a bit of a period in the beginning of the match where he's gotta settle in reach of both of these players they cover so much ground oh it's too good that two-handed backhand from navertill down that sideline we talk about you.

Know some players favorite shots or ones that are just pulled out of that bag of tricks often that is one of navratille's for sure good spot there from johnson not a bad idea there from navertill but he's getting that completely on the run it's hard to keep that in if he doesn't.

Take something off it oh one side glitch in the system oh first really exchange we've seen at the net between these two i suspect we'll.

See some more coming up though both of these players very good at the cat and mouse at the net nice job again johnson loves to reach in take that ball out of the air eliminates naverto from being able to completely set up and get ready for the next shot.

Seven eight spot there till a little long on that return oh my it was going super out don't you think that was going out let's see we'll have a better angle here oh yeah never tell flailing everything to get.

That last one slide out oh wow two great shots from naverto sliced backhand from matt from johnson he's able to do something with it we have our first game point here of championship sunday in game one and he's gonna get it done with another.

Serve return long so johnson does come back a little makes it interesting but navertile able to hold on to that leave and lead and close it out here in game one we'll take a short break game number two here in our men's pro singles gold medal match on championship sunday right after.

Thank this game number one in the books here in our first gold medal match of championship sunday our men's pro singles zane navertill coming out on top 11-7 over j.w johnson game number two navratil will start serving on the near end if navertile can capture this second or third game.

They'll be our gold medalist that's a great kit from naverto he was all the way back behind the baseline able to get to that while right there look how much movement navertill had during that rally versus j.w johnson two sides of a coin right here i mean navratil knows once he commits to.

That there's there's no going back there it's got to be a winner or he's in trouble nice job if johnson lets that ball bounce nevertheless back in position watch him take this ball here out of the air.

And nevertheless just a half step behind but that's because he takes it out of the air we talk about that to work blue in the face and singles so important if you can get the ball out of the air cuts down your opponent being able to set up for that next one johnson looking to extend his two-point.

Lead looking like johnson might try an atp but he tries to go hard cross court instead sends it beside the court what a pickup from oh.

If maverick had stayed in that he would have had a chance at it but again he can't possibly know that johnson's about to click so he thought that was going to be an easy winner into the open court which it would have been that's just a big finish right there on.

The forehand side from johnson he missed a couple of those in game one is the one that needs to get going here in game two so he's there biggest issue is we're trying to hit that too hard he got there because the ball is off the tape.

She's there plenty of time to drop that back over across surprise never gil didn't go a little bit harder right at johnson after he eat that ball over i thought for sure he was gonna go for a body shot jw johnson cruising in game number two up 5-0.

At this pace we are on our way to a third game as we often see so when these two faced off on thursday like oh what day is it again how long have we been here where are we they.

Faced off on february 26th came out on top as we mentioned these two faced off in the winter bracket final dropping johnson back into the bronze medal match where he had to face good friend dylan frazier was able to get the job done there.

But navertile in that previous matchup went to three like they so often do navratill came out on top 6 11 11 8 11 9 so very close games each time for the most part neither of these two are able to just run away with it against the other but we'll see.

If the pattern holds true hi vero yeah i mean he's going right at naverto right there but he clips the post and go ball go sideways i think because it hit the post it was a dead ball is that correct yeah yeah.

If it had hit the net and fell over it could have hit an average hill possibly but once it hits that post it's immediately dead what you're seeing right now too from jw johnson is his serves are a bit deeper so he's putting a little more pressure.

With the serve on that quick little pull from a low position for jw johnson he is moving along in game number two totally different player here from game one in game two still looking to get on the board here.

Johnson has the same amount of points he got in game one however navertill has zero nice cut backhand there seems like navratiles just leaving some of these shots up just a little too high hey.

Oh there it is that's that one where when he that balls up he will spin that pedal rotate that pedal in his hand flatten that out almost like a frying pan just slaps that down great return again from johnson he is just not giving navertill anything to work i with.

It's a totally different player from game one we saw him come back in game one and now he's using that momentum in game two it's all the breaks he can get to go his way and right now none of them are right now i think he has does he have three franklin paddles.

Yes he does just just in case just in case all blue so funny a lot of i see a lot of players talk about oh how many panels do you have how many do you have in your rotation and the the pro players like i swear they bring like three to seven paddles to every tournament.

I would always bring about if i'm going to a tournament for a weekend i'll bring about probably five or six so what's the thought process behind having that menu so when you're when you're playing when you're playing all right and you're in the middle of a match and.

Your grip may go and it gets real like sweaty you don't have time in that minute to re-grip your paddle so just another paddle another paddle then after your match you can go back to your tent or wherever you go then you can re-grip them but in during the match when it's.

Especially when you're outside it's hot you're sweating you know that grip can get real wet real slippery and so instead of we don't have enough time to re-grip to switch paddles i mean there's the occasional paddle that will break right either just you know having been used for a long time or a very frustrated player who's to say.

Good spot there from johnson a lot of backspin keeps that away from navertill who's almost there but just no pun intended groovin here's jw i stole it from you that's true.

I feel like i like my puns to be slightly less cheesy but i'll take it i appreciate it you can appreciate a good fight i sure can never tell and johnson trade side outs here 9-1 lead for johnson i could i mean you can just tell from.

The trajectory of that shot from johnson it was gonna be dropping just over that net really hard for navratil to try and take that out of the air correct way game point here for johnson as you mentioned it seems inevitable at this point we're going to be seeing a.

Game three here in our first gold medal match and we will indeed with that net cord from jw johnson i was a betting woman i'm pretty sure i would have bet this one to three so fake money we'll take a short break here on center court game number three in our men's pro.

Singles gold medal match coming up right after this welcome back saint naruto got a little bit of a wake up call in game number two here in our men's pro singles gold medal match.

Mrs johnson had uh awoken the sleeping beast as it were and we're starting off game three here jw johnson in the green on the near end navratil in the black if navratil wins this third game he's the gold medalist if johnson wins we will have to play a tiebreaker match to.

15. third game what needs to happen he needs to put pressure on jw he can't like the the the passiveness can't have that with j.w just misses the around the post and again he's got to put the pressure.

On johnson for something to happen almost gets that back johnson almost getting his atp as well yeah nevertheless just so crisp and clean in that first game and again johnson seemed a little slow to get into the action.

But navertile almost like we mentioned it has gotten knocked off his axis just a little bit here seems to be pressing a little bit that's a good job of controlling the kitchen line by zane avertill if he can do that keep johnson back at the baseline and have him continuously.

Try and drive i i believe in my heart that that is the right shot but that's just a tough shot because johnson's putting so much pressure on it if an average so can get that over and dip that in it forces a tough shot from johnson because it's closer to the net it's the right shot it's just very.

Difficult it gets that back corner and again johnson just out to a quick and strong start here michelle esquebel sitting right next to me right now warming up her wrists getting ready to go with her gold medal match coming up next.

After the boys kicks on paris todd oh good effort from naruto but again yeah never till just you know you watch some matches and one player seems to be really on the offense and one on the defense occasionally and right now navertile seems to be.

On the defensive like the way he's playing is on the defense and again beautiful little johnson smiling he's like all right yeah navratil like you mentioned just needs to get back in control a little here.

Wow oh no ceiling that's tough good get from navertill yeah i think the word is he's playing very reactionary to what johnson is throwing at him i mean it's tough when johnson's hitting the ball right down the line he's.

Dotting the line it's tough for navertile to get any kind of rhythm when that's happening spin on that ball as it hits it's coming back towards the net just out of the region johnson a little off balance johnson you really don't see a lot of that so steady.

Normally really good balance right on the cusp of getting back in here and like taking control but that cord there doesn't go his way too good so johnson gets that sixth point triggers the end change here in the.

Tiebreaker third game reminder if johnson does win this we will have a tiebreaker match to 15. to play as navertill is the one who came out on top in the winner bracket final directly into the gold medal match so again john i mean johnson's got to be feeling good feeling loose everything has really been going his way since.

I mean sort of part way through game one fully in game two and continuing here in game three so really navertile the one that needs to make something happen ron ponder looking on.

One of the longer rallies we've seen in this match hey one we talk some about coaching in pickleball and that you know you see some players they have coaches they have people that are giving them advice.

Especially in singles you have you don't have a partner to talk to you don't have someone else with eyes so i think even in singles more so than doubles the importance of a coach would be so nice because then you have someone on the outside looking in sometimes.

You're in the middle of it you just don't see it you can't figure out what to do so if navertile has a coach what are you telling him it's the momentum thing right now right so he does have the game to 15 in his back pocket right now right so it's right now he takes the timeout down 9-1.

Let's gain some momentum let's get some positive points under our belt so that down the road if we do have to go to that game to 15 that we can have some momentum going into that so now it's about the momentum of what navato can do to find the rhythm and that whole point for the most part.

Navigator was in control but then all of a sudden jw johnson flips the script and he's one point away from forcing the game to 15. a match point in the two out of three for jw johnson here yeah little springs in a step but.

J.w johnson has completed the first dip of the double dip can he make it two we will have up to 10 minutes for our players we'll see how long they have to take we will take a short break here the tiebreaker match to 15 in our men's pro singles gold medal bachelors coming up.

Right after this all right so our players actually coming back a little early here so we are get we're getting ready to go again this is one match to 15. we'll switch ends at eight johnson took the two out of three portion.

After navertill won game one navertill in the white on the near end johnson in the green on the far end just continuing his ways right here in this game to 15. we've seen crazier things people getting blown out in the two out of three and then coming back and dominating in the game to 15.

Totally new match but johnson continuing to roll here up 2-0 in game number four 30. extension good job by johnson controlling the never till serve.

Yeah that's a good angle right there from naverton backhand cut nice right there by zayn average so coming forward on that front foot one two yeah he really needs to get some momentum rolling here oh that was another beautiful drop that is exactly.

What navertill has needed here oh again i wanted to see him go hard right at johnson instead he tries to just drop that in and leaves it a little too high and you can tell by the body language nevertool knows it.

hasn't given up points in the last four or five serves george johnson and he's answered every time got a little rhythm here up 4-2 here in the game of 15. he could have easily played that ball but he decides to.

Let that go ball goes out and it's a three-point lead all right stuff he didn't have the atp opportunity but navertile's got to be feeling much better about how this is going yeah nice job bye never till again up at.

The kitchen line controlling that point from the beginning taking that last ball out of the air he's in the banners and that dropped right in that back corner situation.

Stares down that sideline that's that's a tough call very close asking jw he saw that call he's just i think i think navratil thought it was out looking at the replay it's very close.

But again both these players really great line callers that's a good backhand there from navertill keeps this ball nice and low down the line a little high yeah it's tough to get that ball that.

High like that you don't know which way to go you're almost guessing oh wow absolutely i don't even think he was expecting that ball to come back over it does johnson able to get to it and the difference maker right now in.

This game to 15-2 is navrtel's got a little more on his serve this game so we've got a little bit more jump causing some issues for johnson fired great effort great rally.

And he clearly during that time to himself before coming into this match to 15 had a good talking with himself looks like he really got his head back on in control here again brand new match that two out of.

Three doesn't matter whatever happened stays there all right exactly we've seen it numerous times before where that happens you know zayn takes game one in the two out of three then it's all johnson 11-11-1 and just when you think okay navratille's down and out this is a.

Whole new match you have to think that way and navratilo has done a good job of compartmentalizing game one putting it on its own and now taking this game to 15 and making it its own absolutely and he gets the end change up 8-3 gold medal match brought to you by head pickleball.

Tom whitson calls us back in from the end change and navertill extends his lead another great attack by navratil coming and moving forward great return there from johnson on the loft serve from navertill mixing it up a little.

Oh it's a good start to the roll johnson needs to get himself on oh too good that's that taking it out of the air right exactly lord and that's what he does so well when he can get moving forward watch him just punch as his ball takes out of the air he lets that bounce he allows navratil to set up he doesn't do it right there great job.

By johnson forehand looks like he's going to go inside out and he flips back flat gonna have a timeout from johnson as what is that the third point on the serve i i think it's probably four or five i.

Think johnson not even going to get a drink of water i mean arms folded behind the baseline literally just thoughts to himself of what he needs to do here as you can see there she's pacing back and forth but needs to let it go you have to let.

It go pickleball's such a humbling sport you just won 11 11 1 in games two and three i mean you feel like you're cruising and then all of a sudden it's a different saying naverto and again momentum it's just it's the name of the game here in pickleball momentum within games within matches.

You know within the day wildly swing back and forth that's what makes these matches so exciting especially between these two you do not know who's going to come out on top when these two face off nice that's much better right there from jw johnson.

He took control of the kitchen line used his size and gets the side out i was thinking maybe that was a ball that johnson normally would have taken out of the air right here but didn't quite get moving and again.

Lets it drop has a lot of options to work with so johnson gets there and plenty of time he tries to bring that back across his body it's a tough shot when that ball's going so fast you have to get that ball out in front of you to get it across your body it's a tough shot.

Good effort from navratil nice construction during that rally 7 12. up at the kitchen line in control right here watch him nice and easy doesn't get a big swing on this but a controlled forehand volley exactly where he wants it yeah no.

Backswing really at all right next to his body and then just the follow through a lot of times that's what gets players in troubles too much swing mistake number six on the serve navertill within two points of a gold medal.

but a big thumbs up from navertilla well i mean i was literally just thinking we saw what happened in game two that last time johnson isn't somebody that you expect to just take this line down he has all the shots.

He gets a little hot right now and this is a whole different situation right and here it is if i'm an adversary maybe now or if he gets one more i'm calling it absolutely no question that's right on that baseline wants to possibly call this one out close very.

Close we have seen johnson be very generous with his line calls in the past oh it's good that's tough i mean johnson knows navertill has all of the options on the table with that next shot here.

And that will be a gold medal for zane navertill a big congrats to him and also a big congrats to jw johnson he's our silver medalist here today at the abb st louis open we head to the franklin studio to talk to both of our competitors and then our women's pro singles gold.

Medal match michelle esquivel takes on paris todd right after this mr johnson welcome back to the st louis open i am here with jw johnson our silver medalist first congratulations for making it here today jw you took that two out of three it looked.

Like a slow start in game one then you won game two and three pretty handily what were you thinking after you won those two games going in the game to 15. uh i mean i knew it was gonna be more tough he was gonna fight harder which he did he's going to make a lot more balls start reading patterns a little bit more and.

Eventually he did and he did very well now it looked like he went for his serve a little more in that game to 15-2 had a couple unforced errors on it didn't have many in the two out of three was it something you saw too yeah i noticed that at the at the end uh his starters were bigger obviously that.

Way got shorter returns and then he could pass a lot better and uh he did very well with that all right well jw congratulations on your silver medal i'll let you go you got mixed doubles coming up in a couple hours so congratulations buddy all right i'm gonna bring in zayn navertel now zane.

Zane's coming on over what could be more important than me texting my girlfriend or my mom on mother's day dominic absolutely nothing zane absolutely nothing so there's the shout out to mom right first and foremost zayn congratulations a tough match first um the two out of.

Three you win game one eleven seven then jw kind of turns it on eleven one eleven one in that two out of three what did you say to yourself after that two out of three before the game to 15. um play better plain and simple.

So jw turned it on uh i turned it off i i really felt like i didn't make very many balls in those in those next two out of three and singles just like that it's really a a game of runs and so i knew that like i mean i've i've played matches that have been 11-1 111 11-1 i just know that that's how singles goes this game of runs much.

More so than doubles and just needed to turn it on at the beginning of game where the game to 15 and who knows whether or not that happens i mean it very well could have been another 15-3 for jw could have been who knows and it seemed like you turned the serve.

Up a little bit too in that game to 15 and went for it a little more i told you off camera we counted seven on four stairs that you caused almost half those points was it something you wanted to do in implementing that game to 15. for sure if the other stuff's not working might as well serve hard i guess hey when all what if everything else.

Isn't working get that serve going right yeah yeah all right send it when in doubt all right well congratulations zane we're going to bring in ken herman ken herman presenting the app pickleball st louis open trophy to zayn navratil zayn on behalf of app you look terrific all weekend long here you played really just.

Really inspiring pickleball congratulations we're all so proud of you all right congratulations thank you very much ken thanks tom and thanks for another awesome app tour event i love playing these tournaments and i love supporting the game and what everything that you guys are are doing so thanks.

For having us here and st louis is awesome enjoying it a lot so we'll be back at 1pm set your calendar all right congratulations zayn we're going to take a quick commercial break when we come back women's pro singles final here at the st louis open don't go
2022 St. Louis Pickleball Open Pro Men’s Singles Gold: Zane Navratil VS JW Johnson