dreamland and dripping springs texas is home to major league pickleball this is season two of the groundbreaking event that has altered the landscape of pickleball forever and tonight is the conclusion of the three-day team event showcasing some of the top world-class.
Talent pickleball has to offer it's the fastest growing sport in america and here's why the florida smash taking on blqk this evening for our championship matchup and there was no easy road to the finals here's how each of the two teams got here at the start of the tournament of course there were 12 teams and four players drafted to each team.
This season two men and two women were selected with the snake draft format and now it all comes down to this two teams left as we welcome you to the broadcast booth alongside seven-time u.s open medalist dominic catalano i'm michelle mcmahon we'll have three additional members joining our broadcast crew in just a moment but dom let's begin with.
This unique tournament format if you're new to pickleball or have been around the sport for long enough what makes this format so unique and so fun to watch for the fans there's no other format like it in pickleball and the players absolutely love it it's a team format two men two women on a team they play men's doubles women's doubles in.
Two mixed doubles matches and they're earning points for their team so this team aspect a lot of these players do come from tennis so they understand that team aspect when they came from their college team so they love this format no other format like this around in the game major league pickleball came here with one mission to grow and elevate the.
Sport and they're doing just that one team that knows what it takes to get to the championship round is team blqk they were here last year the defending champs irina tarashenko the lone player from last year's roster joining her this season zayn navratil rafa hewitt paris todd the story so far for blqk as in terms of the championship bracket has.
Been rafa hewitt in your eyes why dom it has he's had brought so much energy to the court and he is helping with playing with zane who is a fiery player but rafa's very streaky at times throughout this tournament he is fed off the energy of his team and he has been no stranger talking about how he loves this format and there's certain players that were.
Built for this rafa hewitt being one of them on the other side of this matchup it is the florida smash who are the fifth seeded team in the tournament but they have the number one overall draft pick for the men's in j.w johnson joining him maggie rominsi lee whitwell and travis rettenmeier j.w johnson is a sensational talent in the sport he's 19.
Years old doc what makes him so special you saying him being sensational is an understatement this kid is unbelievable and he's on on point all week playing with travis rettenmeier in doubles and then playing alongside his mixed doubles partners he's been on fire he's going to be your x factor for the florida smash today if.
He can go hot and get hot they're gonna be on their way to a championship the road to the championship for the florida smash was not an easy one they had to grind their way through match wins they've been battle tested and it's been so fun to watch them create this cinderella story on their side and could they pull another upset here tonight.
Against blqk i believe they can having the number one player in the draft you go from number one and then travis rettenmeier part owner of this team he drafted himself last as the 16th or the the 16th male picked her no not the 16th male he was the 24th male picked so absolutely amazing he's played well with jw all week time now to check in.
Courtside with the mlp commissioner brooks wiley league pickleball 2022 austin this is the final match between florida smash and blqk from florida smash morristown new jersey maggie raminsi from dripping springs texas lee whitwell.
from delray beach florida j.w johnson from st petersburg florida travis rehnmeyer team blqk from fresno california irena tarashenko from newport beach california paris todd.
From auburn alabama rafa hewitt and from milwaukee wisconsin zane navratil can i get the head referee so we can do the coin toss please i have a dreamland fun chip here we have a red and a blue arena choose red or.
Blue it was red plq you get to choose first see would you like to shoot the side or would you like to serve or receive uk we'll choose this side would you like to serve a receipt florida smash will receive.
The lqk chooses the home team that means when we get to mixed doubles florida smash will choose their team first blqk will choose their team second if we go to a singles tiebreaker dreambreaker those revert those places will reverse all right let's play ball the atmosphere is unmatched here inside.
The dreamland facilities and this is going to be a good matchup we've been seeing good pickleball all weekend long so for those accustomed and new to pickleball like this is a newer format than the typical pickleball match-up would entail so it is rally scoring games are to 21 win by two the series consists of four games we will start.
With women's doubles then move on to men's doubles and conclude with two mixed doubles matchups combination of teams will be determined based on that coin toss we just witnessed all right we're moments away from first serve as we step aside for just a moment why did the florida smash believe they can win this thing in upset fashion.
We'll tell you right after this short break the 2022 major league pickleball dreamland finals on cbs sports network is sponsored by franklin by skechers and by aura organic.
We are back on championship court it is almost time for the florida smash to take on team boqk we've got 360 coverage for you from a camera standpoint and 360 coverage for you from a broadcast coverage standpoint we've got cameron irwin's sideline for the florida smash lauren mclaughlin joins us behind the blqk team bench and the pickleball.
Prophet tyson apostle the man amongst the people dominic catalano michelle here in the booth let's start with you cameron the florida smash or the clear underdog in this one despite having jw johnson on their side why do they believe that they can win this thing yeah i love that you mention it because they have been labeled as the underdog.
And i actually got a chance to catch up with jw johnson prior to this and i asked him about that title i loved his comment he goes yes we'll wear it proudly i said have you ever been called an underdog you're so good on the court and he goes yeah i know it may not fit with me but at the same time he loves the fact that it lessens the.
Expectations it lets them play freely now one of his team members travis my goodness the other is it's the other side of the spectrum for him i've loved what i've seen in terms of his mentality he told me i would never enter a tournament i didn't think i could win so he's here to play and to take it off yeah travis rettenmeier with maybe some.
Of the least pickleball experience on the court the former tennis pro turning pickleball pro lauren blqk took some time to scout their opponent last night what did you learn on their side so i got a chance to talk to team owners richie twasin and justin watson who are behind their team here cheering them on every step of the way they made it clear.
How critical team bonding was for them they've been staying together they've been watching film together they've been eating together and just that bonding experience has been so critical justin made sure to tell me it doesn't matter which members of their team they have on their roster between last year and this year what matters is what you do with.
The team that coaching that team bonding is going to be critical and we're seeing it play out so well right now as blq clay are trying to clinch their second championship all right tyson last but not least you called this matchup in the finals sir how has it employed folded unfolded from your perspective i mean it has been incredible and we joke about me.
Being the pickleball prophet but this is a testament to what i foresaw both teams florida smash has j.w johnson one of the best pickleball players in the world together with lee whitwell last year's mvp and blqk is just stacked throughout all right first serve is underway first point underway florida smash coming away with the first point of the match maggie.
Raminsi back to serve for her time yeah i thought she was gonna jump on that first ball she let maggie go take that but then she takes the second ball puts that away that's exactly what we're looking for out of whitwell for the florida smash she gets going early.
Could spell trouble for blqk demanding presents for whitwell right out of the gate just a little wide there from ramenzi great patience from blqk they've tended to try and speed things up a little too early but great patience right there tarashenko back to sir for blqk.
Just shy of the net for ramenzi we have a tie game and that is patton irina taraschenko right there with that cut backhand you're gonna see it a thousand times in this match she loves that backhand she'll hit that cut that cross court hit that drop into the kitchen tries to grab it the fire power of.
Taraschenko and paris todd just too hot to fend off a couple of single greats in women's pro pickleball they like to shake and bake and pick up the pace that ball goes wide lee whipwell once again commanding the kitchen light down yeah she's creating angles off of that too.
She pulled paris todd to the sideline got her very wide and out of position causing her to pop a ball up maggie ramenzi back to serve paris todd just too good todd by the way california based only started playing pickleball about seven or eight months ago the former tennis professional.
Turned full-time pickleball bro pro this season he's the ninth best woman singles player in the world already in pickleball shows you how fast and how incredible of an athlete she is that's a great reaching from maggie ramsey speeding that up on her backhand forcing the action against paris todd.
consistency is key on the side of florida smash that's what both whitwell and raminzi set ahead of this match foreign ramenzi is ready for the speed up.
But just pushes that one too far out of bounds tarashenko and todd regain the momentum so rattenmeier redmeyer thought that as that ball past tarashenko that it clipped their paddle or her he was calling for it thinking about a review both teams have one challenge.
To use in this game to 21. we will switch sides at 11. that is a reviewable play they chose it tarashenko you see something very interesting from paris todd she doesn't play very conventionally up at the kitchen line.
She'll typically step back about three feet behind the kitchen line and play from there she can do that because of her athleticism you watch right there she sets up just a little deeper off that kitchen line and she loves this cross-court forehand roll dink navratil her mix partner.
Says it's what she's best at all doubles like air there for lee whitwell what happened well yeah she just tries to speed the ball up at tereshenko hard part is that it's at the higher point of the net and that's 36 inches at the edge 34 in the middle it's a tough spot to.
Speed that up from and same thing for paris todd that's all trying to drop that in high part of the net so lee whitwell recovers the serve tie game early here the florida smash would be thrilled to get this one ramenzi and lee whitwell have only won one time in this tournament format together so looking.
For that synergy just short for raminzi boqk back on top by one and also for paris todd her last doubles match was against altoff merchant in the semifinals who was also a left hamburger lee whitwell with the atp and the fist pump the call on the floor.
Was that it was good or was it called out so call by tarashenko was out whitwell okay so a nice gesture right here so rafa hewitt on the bench tarashenko said she's on the inside of the line and can see it.
Clearly that it was out this is a reviewable play and we're looking for the verdict here let's have another look at this atp oh that's clear in that is definitely in it and remember florida smash is successful in this.
So play is reviewable obviously they are going to a challenge florida smash is challenging that it was in after tereshenko called it out ball right that first angle looks clear into me this angle right here is the best one i think it's showing it is right on the line this should be a quick review.
And overturn which means florida smash would keep their challenge many thanks to our c360 cameras in the house is the first ever overhead view we've ever been able to use in the sport of pickleball we have a kitchen cam you've got angles tough to see there obviously because of tereshenko's paddle in the way.
It's a little more clear but i think the one that's right down the line from the other side of the net that is and this is clear what are we even what are we waiting for let's take a look at what is reviewable in this game of pickleball you can review line calls ernie's footballs a.
Ball touching a player which rat meyer thought might have happened earlier in this one a ball touching a non-permanent fixture as well any interference with the play on a ball or a crack ball as well that would affect play so there you have it this is our dream view camera angle.
Showcasing maggie raminzi back up to serve for the florida smash overpowers whitwell with that lethal forehand 24 years old she's won three straight gold medals and singles if we are to go to a dreambreaker.
B.o.q likes their odds with tarashenko and todd on their side tarashenko into the net whitwell and raminsi not going anywhere dom what's working on their side again they're winning these fighter fights maggie ramsey again just continuing to play well as soon as we got to this tournament.
Unbelievably well for maggie or menzie speeds it up finds the baseline so good with the speed up but what tereshanko does here too is she controls that ball doesn't hit it 100 and puts some shape on it meaning she gets some topspin on that so that ball drops at the baseline great play from.
Tarashenko to give them the one point lead lee whitwell reaching for that one paris chad getting a little bit of a break that one looked like it was sailing wide todd will take back the serve a nuance with this rally scoring is that the players stay they choose their side and.
They stay there and the serve switches according to the score so the even side is paris todd and boqk is the first team to 11. we'll be back with more action right after this short break don't go anywhere tomorrow night at 7 eastern it's your one-stop shop for all the latest.
Headlines and highlights from beyond the range don't miss course record with michael breed on cbs sports network we even have some golf outside the dreamland facilities here as pickleball championship sunday rolls on inside the dreamland facilities it is a hot day for us here.
Blqk with the early advantage the first scene to 11. florida smash will take the break kevin irwin has more on the florida smash hey guys we got a chance to listen in on that timeout and one of the conversations was about where they're putting the dink on terms of paris todd paris todd has a beautiful forehand roll they are looking for the.
Left foot of paris todd trying to get her to have that backhand sliced ink instead of that forehand roll shot something to look for great stuff cameron smart intel there for the smash what do you think about that strategy dom no it's absolutely the right always goes behind the back but you're exactly right and cameron you.
Talked about that they picked up on that because of the fact that what happened in the match before against altoff merchant left-hander now she's going against the left-hander lee whitwell they want to get that away because her forehand roll dink is a killer it hurt oh my goodness the enforcer from the kitchen 47 years.
Old originally from gibraltar based out of orlando florida doing what she does best painting the sidelines with that wicked forehand but yeah that forehand dink from paris todd is lethal it hurt altoff merchant the last match and they want to avoid that against lee witwell in this match.
Lee whitwell was the mvp last season she goes into the net that time blqk heating up finding a three-point gap irina cherishenko takes the serve back reminds me with the angle back side on tereshanko how'd she pull this one off don again she insides out.
Twice with the forehand shane get it as far to the sideline as she wanted the first time can't do it the first time do it again again you're looking for blqk to speed the ball up biggest thing that florida smash is doing is keeping this ball nice and low in the kitchen not allowing.
Those attackable moments maggie ramsey just continuing to win these fire fights up at the kitchen line raminzi only trains about an hour a week she tells me because of her full-time job and where she's based not a ton of pickleball talent yet.
It's incredible that she's made it to the stage b-o-q-k takes over the lead soramzi gets handcuffed because whitwell looked like she was going to come over and poach that ball in front of her she doesn't and then the unforced error from ramenzi what a grab from taraschenko.
Oh just wide for lee whitwell just out of the reach tara shenko back to serve for blqk a nice bounce off the net not if you're a court of smash but paris todd will take the break and they start to pull away where are they finding rhythm on the.
Side of blqk we'll get an unforced air on the overhead from whitwell then a little luck off the tape right there ball just bouncing their way right now three-point lead there's that carved backhand from tarashenko once again dominant at the kitchen line setting the tone and.
The pace and i talked to tarasenko after their last match and after that last match she struggled in women's doubles and down yeah go ahead timeout is called on the floor blqk with the four-point lead as we welcome back our five-man crew to the scene starting with the.
Pickleball prophet co-host of the pickleball pod and four-time survivor contestant tyson apostle what is your overall impression of the match so far that you predicted to be in the finals i mean they've both been going blow for blow and until this recent run by blqk it seemed like they were just gonna keep.
Doing that and we're gonna get an exciting match hopefully they can uh florida smash can get back on track get back into this thing i know lee took a spill earlier in the day and she has her ankle taped up it doesn't seem to be affecting her now but down the line it could very good point that is true and lauren.
On the side of blqk you had some interesting insight there as well so every team needs a player like paris todd as you mentioned she's been playing professional tennis since she was 14. she is used to these high pressure situations a fellow pro called her a cold-blooded assassin she doesn't get tight she plays every game like she's.
There to win and she's doing that right now all right we'll check in with cameron in just a moment we return to championship action and blqk appears to be running away with this one cameron what are you hearing on florida smash's side to come back into this match yeah let's talk a little bit about margin for error right because.
They are aiming for that left foot of paris todd but they have to stay away from that middle dink that's the conversation and it is a small margin to be able to get it to that left foot without getting irena involved with her forehand dink in the middle something to watch y'all so true.
The margin of error at this level is slim to none maggie raminzi finding life though never say never with this rally scoring dom yeah absolutely and again gotta get on a roll here they're at 18 three points away but again talking with tarashenko in between the semifinal and this final talked.
About how she struggled in women's doubles and then picked it up in mixed doubles has to have a short-term memory in this game especially when you're playing in this rally scoring setting that ball wide floor to smash closing the gap to three raminsi back to serve.
Closes the door shut with a fist pump let's go what did you see down watch this overhead wow that is with authority from paris todd don't know what romenzi was trying there i think she was attempting a lob it's going to be so hard to lob periscope because of the position that she's in a.
Couple feet off the kitchen line and back into the net for todd so florida smash hanging right in this thing lee whitwell will take the serve back she's checking the ball let's bring that conversation to the temperature sometimes that can affect the ball.
What's the player's perspective on that time the hotter it gets out here the softer a ball gets doesn't matter what ball you're using the ball is going to get softer in the heat which is going to slow play down just a little bit especially at this level at the pro level they can notice that and that's what will happen when it's very humid.
Very hot out here almost 100 degrees here in austin texas today yeah 7 40 p.m and 92 degrees game point goes to the side of blqk and remember this is a win by two situation and blqk now must win on their serve so back to traditional scoring on their side paris todd will.
Have the game on her paddle tarashenko wasn't going to let this one get away from her she closes the door seals the deal team blqk on top in the series 1-0 what did you like the most about todd and taraschenko's performance job paris todd i mean she is stepping up right now playing absolutely incredible handled.
Her side started off a little slow but picked it up handled everything that was brought at her and brought the power exactly what the eoqk wanted to do and that was their game plan executed the perfection 1-0 two prolific pro women singles players coming together.
As a team laura mclaughlin is courtside with irina taraschenko and paris todd lauren all right ladies you're up 1-0 it's got to be feeling pretty great here as we're getting this final started irina you said you are the self-proclaimed spiritual leader of this team how does that play into your team camaraderie.
Pumping each other up into this final well you heard our cheering section where they talked about the system love for the pickles so i think everything is working well let's go team paris you are no stranger to high pressure situations just like this how are you handling this huge large stage here on the.
Pickleball seat it's honestly so fun compared to most tournaments that we get to play so especially being on cbs such an honor especially to play next to the goat irena over here and my whole team we've just been having a blast all weekend and we're on our way let's go all right team blqk one in the books three possibly left to go we'll see how.
They do back to you guys lauren thanks so much time now for our franklin kitchen cam point of the game it was game point on the side of blqk they like to shake and bake they speed things up paris todd starts it irena tereshenko who she calls the goat finishes it and that is why.
They earned that point of the game we have plenty more action coming your way after this it's men's doubles you don't want to go anywhere the number one overall pick is on display the number one talent in singles is on display we'll be right back back on championship court for our four.
Game series between blqk and florida smash in the finals 100 thousand dollars on the line and the defending champs are one step closer to that prize money with a huge woman's doubles victory over the florida smash speaking of talented women tuesday night at 8 eastern cbs sports network brings you back to back wnba tip-offs as.
The liberty hosts the minnesota links followed by a must-see battle of the guards as rookie ryan howard and the dream take on the all-star vet sue bird and the seattle storm this action you don't want to miss we turn our attention to the men's doubles matchup now it's zayn navratil his partner rafa hewitt taking on the.
Number one overall selection for the men's jw johnson and his partner travis rettenmeier the 24th and final pick in this draft on display two of the best pickleball players in the world and jw johnson and zane navato and singles one and two in fact jw johnson.
Stealing the show in most categories he takes back the serve 19 years old and on the other side navato's partner rafa hewitt might be the hottest player on the tour this weekend no absolutely and that's what we pointed out before we started and how hot he has been absolutely incredible feeding off the energy.
I don't like that play bringing him in that works out for retina but when you have a point where you're up at the kitchen line your opponents are back at the baseline it's about a 70 30 percentage your advantage when they're back you drop that in and you allow hewitt and everton to come in you allow.
A 50-50 point from there you better be sure if you're gonna drop that hill all over the reed slams home the ernie what a great read from zane mavericks he backhands this ernie slaps it cross court.
Navratil told me the strategy against jw johnson is to keep it away from jw johnson so expect retinmeier to take a hefty load here rafa hewitt heating up early in this men's doubles match-up look for j.w johnson to take that first ball next time they went to the backhand speed up to rhett meyer j.w johnson if.
He sees that one more time he's going to step in with his forehand and take that b.o.q.k heating up how did the florida smash stop it they gotta slow this ball down again hewitt and avertill been playing like this all weekend.
High energy a lot of pace that's it right there and that's exactly what bretton meyer and johnson need to do slow down the pace not allow any balls to be attacked there for navertilla and hewitt jw johnson back to serve the 19 year old sensation one of the best talents.
In the world in the sport of pickleball jw rips it goes high on the body against his doubles partner in usual term tournament format say navratil so the ball that navertille hit he was going at the body of johnson johnson turns to get out of the way of it and then.
Comes back and says zayn if you're going to do that to me i'm coming right back at you buddy travis ratmeyer back to serve the 38 year old base out of st petersburg florida he's been playing for seven months former prolific tennis professional worked his way up to 57 in the world in.
Men's doubles on the tennis side that ball called wide for the smash finding some momentum taking their first lead of the game yep and it started with a jw johnson ball off the body of zayn navratil seeing a majority of these balls here.
And rafa hewitt will take back the serve interesting story for him he used to work 80 hours per week on his family's ranch and winery in idaho before picking up pickleball trained in his after hours and decided to do it full-time here he is on the pro tour.
Go to smash though looking to end his dreams here tonight in dreamland jw johnson slid over for the attack just catches the high tape and rhett meyer telling him hey that's a good shot and it is it's a good read from johnson getting over and trying to take that navratil has a nasty serve tough to see.
On camera but lots of spin here jw johnson punches the atp home it's one thing to try and keep jw johnson honest and i appreciate that from navratil and hewitt the issue is going to him too much talking with players in between these matches.
You have to limit the touches of j.w johnson he is one of maybe two players in the world that you have to do that against rafa hewitt speeding things up down the middle successfully and that backhand serve is an interesting one yeah he's just trying to get some mojo.
On that ball and cause a short return he's not trying to fool anybody with it he's not hiding it they're just trying to put a little something on it and cause some issues on the return nice digs from rattenmeier to work his way back up to the kitchen.
That ball sails long rhett meyer engaged locked in and his defense contributed to the winning of that point yeah absolutely what you're seeing too out of redmi is a lot of fake ernie's here he's looking for the ernie but the issue is you have j.w johnson on the other side he can play the whole court so rhett.
Meyer is free to do what he wants over there on the right side reminder we will switch ends at 11. rafa hewitt sends that one into the net florida smash on the brink of that 11-point break travis rettenmeier back to serve.
It's been training for seven months and they will surrender the servant the point back over to blqk zane navratil and his master serve rava hewitt rips it travis rettenmeier handles it much more action coming your way after this short break do not go anywhere.
Back on championship court we touched on it earlier travis rettenberger played on the atp tour primarily in doubles reaching number 57 in the world check out this textbook volley we know why tennis players have so much success in this sport look at retina just training himself up seven months as a pro pickleball player he credits.
Graham d'amico as co-owner of the team for getting him started he also wanted me to mention that he takes his daughter rowan three years old to the park often to start training her up in the field of pickleball proud father rhett meyer and so far so good in his pro pickleball career i'd say.
johnson nearly gets that point navratil just too powerful on the overhead what a track down by retina right here showing why he's here playing gets that ball back johnson all over this overhead to get it back just doesn't get it up enough over the net.
So silence erupts into cheers on championship poor jw johnson and a finger wag from travis rattenmeier that's sending the signal that's one of the best forehands in the game you cannot go there i like rafa he would try to change something up there but not to jw johnson's forehand you can speed that.
Up at his backhand go flat down the line and that was textbook for navratil with the double-handed backhanded rip what'd you see here dom yeah naverto short and sweet on the two-handed backhand hitting that clean winner j.w johnson 19 years old putting on a clinic.
In men's doubles and into the net he can't be perfect guys but uh he's trying his best earlier just a moment ago laura mclaughlin was listening on the huddle for blqk what'd you hear lauren paris todd told me essentially dom exactly what you said there was one thing they needed to change keep the ball away from j.w.
Johnson it's as simple as that and we're seeing exactly why that's the case and how can you really do that when he's all over the place jw johnson for more on the florida smash huddle we check in with cameron irwin yeah you guys mentioned earlier on the activity in terms of looking for the ernie and that was actually a point.
Travis rettenmeier mentioned to me before he said because i've got jw on my side i have the ability as you see that epic snag from jw johnson the kid doesn't quit he gets everything he finds the corner here lee whitwell the third man on the court she is thrilled for her teammate j.w johnson.
What just happened unbelievable i mean j.w johnson's all over the court just like cameron was saying he's all over the place and it leaves retinmeier the freedom to do what he wants tyson apostle give us your overall thoughts on the.
Sentiment from the crowd and amongst the people yeah what's it feeling like right here in the middle of the crowd and every single rally people are holding their breath until it is done and they let out a sigh of excitement or relief depending on which team they're cheering for and there it is again you can hear it.
The fans on their feet for jw johnson cameron had a finishing thought on the floor to smash what else cam yeah i'm just gonna say along with when he's being most active looking for that ernie a lot of times it's he's working with a middle dink so he's not going this aggressively cross court but watch for.
The middle dink and then the ernie okay lots to look out for on the side of the floor to smash looking to even out the series rhett meyer finds the baseline it's a battle won by the florida smash red meyer's reaction says it all he is absolutely fired up he's playing.
With house money right now the 24th pick in men's doubles is playing outside of his mind right now and i'm absolutely loving it he's feeding off his partner j.w johnson my goodness florida smash the cinderella story continues helps when you have the number one overall selection for the men's and jw.
Johnson but travis rettenmeier is having himself a series he's hanging right in with these guys he knows that majority of the balls are going to try to go to him so let's go back to the knock around instant replay point featuring who else but jw johnson this point has stolen the.
Show so far dom what did you see from the young j.w johnson and the way he was able to hang in i mean the hands this kid's hands are ridiculous just seeing the court what happened was naverto went for an ernie he sees a vacated area rafa you would not able to come over and close in time he just paints the line.
Point lord of smash so jw johnson's partner travis rettenmeier is 38 years old recently turned pickleball pro right he's taking all of his advice from jw johnson said he's learned so much in this tournament already being molded by a guy that's over 10 years younger than he is at ball sales long florida.
Smash running away with this one yeah they need this again the oqk takes women's doubles florida smash needs to answer here so hard if you go down 2-0 they are in the lead navato told me before this they have yet to go to a dreambreaker format which would play well into the hands of all.
The singles talent they have on their side for blqk and they're hanging right into this one yeah you're right blqk is a stacked singles team with all four players finding success at the singles game jw johnson with the swat team on the backhand and.
The head nod what reassurance zero reaction from an emotional standpoint he's got a little swagger going on i think he's feeding off of rhett meyer right now i like seeing it out of j.w johnson j.w johnson speeds it up and zayn navratil bites on it and guess what it's game point for the.
Florida smash who desperately need this win to even up the series in any hopes to win that hundred thousand dollar prize money at the end of this one record-setting first money navratil finishes on the ernie.
He's fired up i mean what a move there from navato on a big point can't give that one up because or else it's the game and he steps over and gets a beautiful backhanded ernie here navito back to serve in front of a full house here inside the dreamland facilities j.w johnson.
Takes no time in reacting to this one explaining the degree of difficulty on reacting to this kind of play well i mean jw johnson has such a hard ball he lights up rafa hewitt off his left knee finally they find an answer on jw johnson i was talking with eric lang and pablo tellez in between the semifinals in this.
Final and they played j.w johnson and travis rettenmeier and got beat eric lang saying he's never seen a person do what j.w johnson can do with a ball travis rhett meyer down the middle so game point returns to their side remember they have to win on their serve rally scoring stops at 20.
Rhett meyer with the game on his paddle the chance to even out the series so that's a great crossbow from rafa hewitt he puts that right at the right two right toe of travis rettenmeier causes an issue right there love the spot love the purpose dink.
Boqk right in it the interesting part of the raleigh scoring once you get to 20 the other team can fight back jw johnson dominating the kitchen line zane navratil finds the baseline splits johnson and rhett meyer don't look now but here comes blqk dom.
Nice little pull here from zane navratil that's a rarity to beat jw johnson to his forehand side boqk lighting things up with their firepower at the kitchen line their bench on their feet their owner justin watson on his feet.
When do we call a timeout if you're floor to it looks smash they're going to take your advice navratil back to serve zade navratil they go three unanswered points inching their way to 20. and no timeout still i'm looking at it dejected brett meyer.
And johnson right now or are they confident they can get out of this one my goodness that is four unanswered points still no time out blqk suddenly changed the narrative here.
a must-win situation for the florida smash uh so tom how do you explain this this is unbelievable i can't believe that jw johnson did put one of those balls away.
Hewitt dug out the ernie that kept him in it and it's game point so goes to blqk the celebration unfolds on the court almost in disbelief they came back from 2016.
To win this game against the florida smash that is a deflating loss for the florida smash i'm as shocked as anybody read meyer and johnson had every ounce of momentum in their corner and just couldn't get that last point that is the difference with the rally scoring in.
This format allowed naverton hewitt to get back in it zayn navratil was locked in from point number one he and his partner rafa hewitt joined lauren mclaughlin courtside laurent i'm about as speechless as it gets right now things were looking dire.
There for you guys for a minute how did you hang in there and get this done system anything to add stick to that system baby win is gonna win we got coach ryan sherry just screaming system he's getting paid every time he says the word system and it's working.
You guys are two and zero now you're one game away from the championship a hundred thousand dollars all right blqk they are fired up here one game is all that separates them back to you guys in the booth yeah so this sets up for a must-win situation for florida smash to win both mixed doubles.
Match-ups against blqk how do you like their odds now trailing by two in this series so far dom do you know how loose blqk can play right here they have two mixed doubles matches if for some odd reason they lose both of those they're the best singles team for a.
Dream breaker on paper in this tournament so blqk has nothing to lose at this moment they're going to play free and easy in these mixed doubles matches that's trouble for the florida smash florida smash gets to well they have to show their hands first in terms of who they're putting out.
First it looks like they're going to go with their number one team lee whitwell and j.w johnson right that's that's your only option if if you're the florida's match you have to you have to go with your ace team right here because if you don't get this win it's all over so you have to win here win or go home 100 thousand dollars online here inside.
Dreamland we'll be back with uh more action in this first of two mixed doubles matchups coming your way after this short break stick around we're back on championship court blqk just turned the table suddenly in that men's doubles match-up to earn the 2-0 edge over the florida smash.
Against the number one overall pick j.w johnson and his partner travis rettenmeier the reaction says it all so that sets up for a very interesting mixed doubles format as we check in with mlp commissioner brooks wiley for exactly who is going to be playing in these big doubles matchups i have with me.
Ray j murphy everybody can i get your attention richie can i get your attention i have rayjay murphy from pro xr pickleball they're the official paddle sponsor of major league pickleball ray j is the director of paddle sports at pro xr pickleball we are going to give away the sportsmanship award.
Thank you everyone for coming out tonight this entire week cannot thank uh steve and the entire group here at mlp for welcoming us into their circle for the next two years and on behalf of pro xr we are really uh we gave an unsung hero award earlier.
We'd love to give a sportsmanship board now each year for a player this year it's easy for us uh this time because in triumph and in defeat this player showed that he just runs like crazy he's an incredible shot maker and last night i'm serious when he hit his.
Running between the leg shot to keep his team alive in the second doubles match i thought the ceiling was going to come down but uh he fights hard and he's a real good competitor and he's really climbing the ranks here in pickleball and we'd like to give our sportsmanship award here to travis.
Rittenhouse congratulations travis redmeyer the pro xr sportsmanship award and in uh travis's name proxar will be donating 500 to his favorite charity thank you we're going to take one more short commercial break and we'll be back with the mixed doubles declaration that is some great stuff congratulations.
Travis rhett meyer on the award and much more to come the ultimate cliffhanger we've been promising it but i promise after this break we will know who we're playing in this mixed devil's matchup the 2022 major league pickleball dreamland finals on cbs sports network is sponsored by.
Franklin by knock around and by pro xr we are back on championship court inside the beautiful dreamland facilities here in dripping springs texas it is still in the 90s and it is just past 8 o'clock we are awaiting the declaration of the mixed doubles matchups.
Brooks wiley the major league pickleball commissioner has those all right everybody blqk leads 2-0 this is time for mixed doubles number one blqk was the home team so they get to choose second floor to smash who is your mixed doubles team lee whitwell and jw johnson eoqk who are you putting out on the.
Court rafa hewitt and irina tarashenko give it up for the players let's go major league pickleball 20 22. all right there you have it the number one team on the florida smash jw johnston lee whitwell this is their only hope dom to.
Come back alive in this series they have to win this in order to have a chance at that hundred thousand dollar purse it's win or go home right now mcmahon and dominic catalano in the booth with you three sideline reporters in action as well lee whitwell starts us off.
With some finesse down the middle wide shot by lee whitwell right down the middle splitting the difference between hewitt and tereshenko lee whitwell did the best she could fending off the pace of rafa hewitt yeah but he's heating up and that's exactly what they're gonna look to do right now.
They're gonna look to light up lee whitwell as much as possible nothing personal just business here but lee's gonna block more than she's gonna counter and if that's going to happen hewitt and tara shinko are look to attack jw johnson just too good around the post beautiful shot again tarasenko trying to.
Keep him honest there we don't need to keep him that honest and go that sharp of an angle he's just too good well back to serve florida smash desperately need a win to get back into the series so far with a two-point cushion on their side florida smash looking good here early.
Blqk recovers the sir rafa hewitt one of the unsung heroes of this team just shy of going over the net irina taraschenko gives it back to the florida smash i can't have that right there unfortunately for tarashenko off the tape capitalize as much as possible.
There's the fire fight with lee whitwell from tarashenko coming out on top again tarashenko played number one at texas tech for women's tennis she was now top four in the world in women's singles in pro pickleball told us earlier she just kind of fell into the sport of pickleball she was.
Obviously a proficient tennis player and then pickleball great chris miller said you got to start playing in some tournaments she's like what pickleball said she hated it and she played in a tournament the women's doubles was a disaster she said but she.
Ended up winning singles so she could pay chris miller back that's the history on tarashenko's entrance to pickleball in 2013. as boqk looks to tie things up here with rafa hewitt tie game yeah nothing whitwell can do right there.
Off the tape so hard to change your thought process that quick you're thinking the ball's coming hard and all of a sudden soft like a change up in baseball and blqk on top for the first time in this game o'clock.
Oh what a play from irina tarashenko staring down jw johnson will they finally get him completely extended where he can't get a ball that's tough to do right there tarashenko with the serve and florida smash desperately needed to stop the momentum they do there.
Lee whitwell will take back the serve rafa hewitt packs a powerful punch with that forehand and that's the combo they're looking for they're looking for whitwell to block and just get that pop up they can clean up put that a ball put that ball away lee whitwell strategic with her.
Placement there that's tough i thought sarah schenker would take that ball she did and left it for hewitt a little miscommunication in the middle that ball sails long florida smash ties it up just when it seems like you know blqk could run away here and jw.
Johnson just answers every single time what hands on both sides tarashenko sends it long emily whitwell was just hanging into the fire fight jw johnson gets some air sends that one home with a little see you later thank you for coming 19 years old sensational.
Talent in the sport not much he can't get to on the pickleball courts lee whitwell punches the backhand volley home and the florida smash are the first to 11 so that means we are taking a quick timeout as well we'll be back with the rest of this match.
back on championship court here inside the dreamland facilities the florida smash hanging on for their championship lives trailing two games to none amidst this mixed doubles matchup michelle mcmahon dominic catalano and our three sideline reporters here today cameron.
Irwin starting with you what are you hearing in the florida smash is huddle right now trailing by two games just fighting for their lives right now yeah you know it's funny in pickleball and in life they say patience is a virtue however on the side of the florida smash right now what they're liking is the fact that they're.
Speeding the ball up first a lot of times you'll see teams look to counter but this team they're looking to be the aggressor right now and how about for blqk looking sitting pretty lauren so zayn navratil took over that timeout huddle and he told irina and rafa you've kept jw honest you've gone behind him now is the time to target lee whitwell.
Raffa time we'll see them get really aggressive going at leigh whittwell i think here to try and close this out man of the people tyson what's your overall impression is there a comeback possible for the florida smash i mean there is early in this game usabilt blqk get really aggressive they had nothing to lose they're up 2-0 and florida smash.
Was a little bit tentative and hesitant and didn't want to make mistakes they found their rhythm and anything's possible the people here want more pickleball so if florida smash can pull this out and play another game that's what we love yeah we're looking for the dreambreaker singles format here.
To close out a fifth hopefully we can get it done selfishly speaking blqk is just looking to seal the deal and close out with a hefty purse lee whitwell has something to say about that she's not giving up on her team start feeling it right here and lee willwell what she's done different now she's starting to counter.
She's stopping just the blocking aspect of it now she's countering she's done that twice now in the last three points jw johnson with the serve somehow up ball rolled out of the court so redo is called somebody's got butterfingers down on the.
Sideline there we will redo that point j.w johnson repeats the serve oh that's unfortunate i did your florida smash tough break for them vo2k will take it and run with it irina taroshenko back to serve the 11th overall pick in the snake draft.
Format these two teams fended off 10 others to make it to this point it wasn't an easy road on both sides rafa hewitt sends that one into the net 35 year old base out of auburn alabama moved to alabama in june of 2021 take the job as the pickleball director at moore's mill club.
Wanted to make sure his community was involved in the broadcast here lee whitwell with the lobster just short for j.w johnson blqk has had away with their comebacks so far in this match dom yeah i like florida smash's intensity.
Right now got to get whitwell back involved what a play from lee whitwell backs away with the staredown against irena all smiles on both sides willwell gives a little finger wag here a fun one though laughs at her.
Lee whitwell spends a lot of time here in dripping springs she helps with pickleball night in america on tuesday nights otherwise based in the villages in orlando florida such a well-spirited player 47 years old hangs with the best of them.
The hands of lee whitwell oh no not the one she wanted to miss the oqk climbs within four well it's rafa hewitt being active all over the court taking up about 75 percent of the court right there against jw johnson.
Not a battle you see jw johnson losing often wow i mean you win a hands battle like that against jw johnson bear save that to your highlight reel lee whitwell said don't you pick on my partner i'll come at you.
And she does with the backhand attack right at the body of rafa hewitt and what blq cannot do here is keep trading side outs because in the rally scoring format nothing will change you're staying with that same deficit going to smash has to win this game.
To stay alive in the series their best mixed doubles team on the floor now oh jw johnson irina tarashenko what a grab oh my goodness twice you never know when these points are going to end but yes what a great get from johnson.
But an even better gift from tarashenko lee whitwell with the backhands tonight and we have a timeout called on the floor this game is interesting for many reasons.
Because lots of money on the line absolutely a five-point lead for florida smash sitting comfortable here looking to force this fourth game all right weekdays at 3 p.m eastern join one of your favorite dynamic duos as they dig into the hottest sports topics fresh off the press watch maggie and pearl off right here on cbs sports.
Network but for now it's championship sunday for major league pickleball j.w johnson on the top left side of your screen for dreamview overhead cam view he's trying to bring his victory home for the florida smash the cinderella story looking to continue that he does with the punch down the.
Middle just like in men's doubles and rhett meyer going for that ernie he knows he has jw johnson to cover him well the same thing when she goes for that ernie she's so comfortable knowing that her partner's back there to pick her up florida smash three points away from closing in on a victory oh my goodness jw johnson.
this guy gets everything oh my gosh rob lee whitwell is about to run into the stands again she knows rob cassidy on his feet in the crowd also a pro on this tour in this tournament jw johnson is insane this kid is insane he gets everything the stuff he gets but what an angle there from.
Rafa hewitt to put that ball away great job by hewitt see if they can get a few together here lee whitwell closes down on any hole blqk had at that point again it's the you cannot trade side outs again blq blqk cannot afford to do that right now because of the format.
Flow to smash two points away from a win oh rapa hewitt just too easy for him with that dangling ball in front of him yeah that's an easy put away for rafa hewitt good set up there again see where he's at he's on irena tarashenko's side of.
The court jams up lee whitwell and never say never to blqk we saw what the men's doubles team did to jw johnson and travis rhett meyer completing a near impossible comeback to win one of the exciting parts of this rally scoring format.
Unfortunately though if you get that over it's right at jw johnson's forehand he was sitting all over it so game points on the paddle of lee whitwell and j.w johnson it's a long road ahead but if they win they push one more mixed doubles match giving rittenmeier.
And ruminzi a chance against navratil and paris todd well first and foremost j.w johnson got cross-footed here he did not expect this ball going cross-court here from hewitt just a quick flick of the wrist making it look easy former college tennis player obviously has the angles and the power and.
Rafa hewitt was a part of that comeback against j.w johnson and travis rettenmeier rafa hewitt's not going anywhere he and zayn navratil came back from the same score to beat florida smash and men's doubles.
No dice on that shot so for the smash with another chance to win it here win by two must win on your serve lee whitwell takes it back rapha hewitt.
He's the hero often in these comeback specials he's cooking up another one here on championship court i mean it's just crazy to think before smash as soon as they're getting to 1920 they've just tightened up in the last two matches it's crazy to see oh rapa hewitt.
Sprints over to his team for the high five reaction on this play dog he's everywhere i cannot believe this right now it's deja vu from men's doubles 2015 lead what is running through the mind of jw johnson in this moment.
The ghost of rafa hewitt coming to haunt him oh boy you almost have to seal it here or you gotta think this is anyone's game florida smash needs a win to push a fourth game of mixed doubles in this series 100 thousand dollars on the line for the winner.
Well back to serve rafa hewitt once again a brick wall that cannot be stopped has to keep the ball away from him right now doc absolutely got to go to tarashenko a little bit whitwell's blocking that back to him because he's in transition area whitwell's already or.
Tarashenko's already up at the kitchen line jw johnson as clutch as they come a sigh of relief on the side of the florida smash lee whitwell once again takes the ball back now this time they have to earn two both on their serve we're back to traditional scoring on both sides.
Oh boy snipe from jw johnson just a quick flick of the wrist on the backhand just too good just i mean a short sweet quick flick of the wrist here like it was nothing down the middle his contact like none other in the sport he's in a class of his own j.w johnson back to serve.
Oh no and he misses the third shot drop i'm watching pablo tellez and eric lang who played jw johnson earlier today and they're up there doing the same thing watching his hands they're so quick rafa hewitt goes for the power comes up short game point returns to the side of the florida smash.
It's as dramatic as it gets j.w johnson back to serve oh boy hewitt answering every pop-up what went wrong for the florida smash started off with a high third from lee whitwell.
When you get a high third like that's gonna put you on your heels that's exactly what that did hewitt able to capitalize put that ball away lee whipwell with the atp rafa hewitt thinks he saw lee whitwell's foot on the line and we have a challenge on the court.
On the side of blqk he was adamant that lee whitwell's foot stepped on the line let's have another look at this one dom what do we see here this is a huge momentum swinging point oh no she was clear it's going to be no oh no she's not she was right she was right on the.
Kitchen right foot right foot right there right there yeah yeah if she could have gotten that right foot down soon and she before she made contact she'd have been fine oh that's what she does but she doesn't get this right foot down.
Nope that right foot's in the air no good oh boy clock thickening on championship court point will be rewarded over to the side of blqk and they get their challenge back too by the way thanks to our referee staff lead referee jim ryan second referee bob swiss helm for the.
Observation of that one and our incredible camera crews behind the scenes gathering every single angle on the floor football is the ruling and guess what voqk right back.
At it it's 21-21 since they served that last point so it's another tie game it doesn't get any more exciting than this dumb no it doesn't and what a good call there from hewitt from the.
Challenge there she goes she says try me one for the heck of it blqk caused another challenge on the floor since they were successful in doing so this is their final challenge they could use on.
The game by the way since they got it back by successfully overturning the call the first time they got that challenge back this is the final challenge challenge i'll be able to use oh she's clean well from there we got to see where the takeoff was i want to see where her feet is when she's outside of the kitchen.
with her twinkle toes across the line we went well 47 years old feisty as they come the truest of competitors oh she used the edge guard to hit that winner.
Okay j.w johnson brings back the serve now they need to they can only earn points from here on out on their serve j david johnson loads up oh huge point.
For florida smash the crowd goes wild the only event in pickleball where all pros who have played in the event are in the crowd cheering for their respective friends and family across the pickleball landscape lee whitwell has game point oh hewitt just too strong.
He's making some eye contact he's playing absolutely incredible right here he's putting so much pressure on whitball to be perfect so tarashenko takes back the serve on her side an imperative hold for florida smash.
If they can pull it off fire fight at the natalie well oh my goodness oh oh my gosh a passing shot for irina tarashenko i mean talk about high level pickleball right here j.w johnson's playing singles there for a second.
He just gets burnt backside unfortunately well does not get back in here tarashenko one of the greatest in the game that's why oh boy game and match point on the line for b-o-q-k could they end it here a hundred thousand dollars on this serve right.
Here from tarashenko holds a little bit of on no problem no pressure here florida smash really has nothing to lose at this point it's now or never leave whitwell back to serve oh she catches rafa hewitt.
On the backhand dink he applauds her shot lee whitwell ties things up j.w johnson back to serve tarashenko jams her up well on that backhand punch rafa hewitt and tarashenko recover the serve.
This will be one of the highest scoring matches of the weekend if not the highest when we get done rafa hewitt goes for speed there did you like his choice not really ball was hit to reach really far into the kitchen to get that he gets it from a low point to try and attack right there like to see.
Him get another ball cross court to whitwell and put the pressure on he's been doing such a good job of it oh my a disheartening miss for j.w johnson who can't believe it serve returns to blqk we'll take all the bonus pick of all we can get here on cbs sports happy to have.
You with us i want to get oh we went well so close on burying that blqk reclaims game and match point hundred thousand dollars.
On the paddle of rafa hewitt if he wins this one his team wins the largest purse in pickleball history and they do it b.o.q.k victorious for the second season in a row 100 000.
To the winning team my goodness what a battle the second comeback of the night that's the team owner justin watson of blqk embracing lee whitwell who's always a fan favorite in this tournament.
Dumb what was your overall impression of this game i mean what a match whitwell very emotional right here i mean she played her butt off this whole match this whole weekend you cannot fault her right now unbelievable job by blqk though handling business 3-0 not even having to play that last.
Mixed doubles match hats off to them but another hats off to the floor to smash coming out as underdogs all weekend making it to the championship match travis rattenmeier georgia or j.w johnson playing alongside lee whitwell and maggiore menzie my goodness some incredible pickleball on display.
This evening don't go anywhere we will have post game interviews and the final ceremony taking place right after this short break rafa hewitt brings home the ultimate prize for his team we'll have reaction right after this we are back on championship court blqk.
With a perfect 3-0 sweep over the florida smash winning 100 000. for their team lee whitwell the 47 year old on the opposing side for the florida smash emotional laid her heart on the line in this one here's what happened in this championship matchup.
First women's doubles irina tarashenko and paris chad took care of business handedly with a 21-16 finish and then it was rafa hewitt and zayn navratil with a thrilling comeback win in men's doubles pushing that game to 22-20 and then mixed doubles pulled.
Almost an identical comeback between irina taraschenko and rapa hewitt with a disheartening defeat of jw johnson and lee whitwell to ultimately clean house against the florida smash it's the biggest purse in pickleball history it's a groundbreaking event here with major league pickleball the.
Brainchild of the founder steve kuhn it's been an incredible event all weekend long 12 teams were in the hunt for the pritchard cup only one team could get it and we will have that post-game reaction and final comments right after this short break don't go anywhere the victors will.
Join us after this short break the 2022 major league pickleball dreamland finals on cbs sports network is sponsored by franklin by richards rainwater and by duper back in dripping springs texas just outside of austin there was no easy road.
To get to the championship but team blqk beat out 11 other hand selected teams to earn back-to-back championship titles in major league pickleball our cameron irwin is standing by with the winners cameron take it away all right it's time to pass out some hardware but before a huge congratulations to our runners-up florida smash everyone please give it up.
For florida smash and of course for your back-to-back defending champs b-l-q-k all right now it's time to get things started and i'm going to look to my right because this is the mlp executive team and i'm going to start right here because we have brooks wiley.
Perfect and we have ann wooster and then the founder of the mlp steve kuhn all right steve so i'm going to start with you because there are a lot of people that came together to be able to put on this event can you walk me through some of them thanks well i want.
To start by thanking the players the players the heart that they put into this all weekend all 12 teams was amazing uh the passion the joy that was that was fantastic uh i want to thank the dreamland staff here they were amazing our volunteers i want to thank the fans you guys were crazy.
oh wow you guys showed the passion that the players showed and we we all love that i also want to of course have to thank our sponsors because without them we wouldn't be here we have skechers we have franklin pickleball we have knock around sunglasses pro xr.
And of course aura organics thank you all to all our sponsors i love it now a big hand to everybody in attendance as well the fans really make this event something special but something else that's really special is the cup that is behind me the pritchard cup walk me through why it's named the pritchard cup well the pitcher cup is named after the.
Inventor of pickleball a gentleman named joel pritchard invented this sport in 1965 in bainbridge island in washington state uh and he's uh that invention has changed the lives of a lot of people and made a lot of people happier and more joyful uh we we talk about the project that.
We've uh we're trying to take up mr pritchard's legacy and we're trying to make it even bigger uh our goal is to get more players playing pickleball and we we talk about a big number uh we want to have 40 million people in america playing pickleball by 2030. so we call it hashtag 40 by 30. uh another thing we need to do is we're.
Going to start a campaign you're going to see it start this soon we're going to start taking signatures to get pickleball in the olympics uh we let's get a million signatures let's get a million solutions next month can we do that let's do uh that.
The hashtag there is pb28la because we need pickleball in the 1928 olympic the 2028 picked up the 1920. the 2028 olympics in l.a we need the olympic community hear us on this so we're going to start that campaign soon as well all right well you mentioned big numbers and there was a big number here tonight a hundred thousand dollars and i think.
It's time that we hand this bad boy over as we get into the hundred thousand dollar check as well because i think that belongs in you all's hands so let's grab the pritchard cup and hand over the big tank big congratulations to and i'm gonna ask one more question.
Steve i'm gonna pull you right back in here because this prize money it's so important for so many different reasons but speak to the evolution of pickleball and why that a hundred thousand dollars is so critical as this sport continues to grow yeah these players are amazing the athletics they show.
The talent they have the training they do they need to be rewarded for that and we immediately pickleball this is the highest prize money event in pickleball uh and yeah they deserve every every dollar of it so it's fantastic all right so uh i'm gonna go to you irina first because.
I was wondering if you brought a pair of scissors with you because you got to figure out a way to split that check into four you think you can do that brook's got my back the president all right and paris todd it's actually somewhat funny because i think i may have been with you the very.
First time you stepped on a pickleball court that was eight months ago and you were still trying to figure out the rules when you stepped on the pickleball court now you find yourself here 25 000 in your pocket speak to me about your journey through pickleball in the last eight months i still don't know the rules so.
But honestly it's been amazing over a year ago i didn't even know what pickleball was and now i'm here with an amazing team amazing players amazing owners and just it's it's such a blessing i love it emotional no doubt and now rafa i'm going to come on over to you because everyone all weekend long has.
Been talking about the heat coming off of rafa and the ability for you to play some epic pickleball what about this event got you so excited yeah no um i just love the atmosphere with all the fans with just the team brings back the college tennis days and to have our coaches here their owners just awesome feeling.
All right and irene i'm moving on to you because there were some epic comebacks and the one to close it out and the head-to-head battle with lee whitwell is something that should go down in the record books it was phenomenal to watch you guys go back-to-back what is it like to face off against somebody like lee whitwell.
Well she's uh she's an awesome player and i think we know each other's tendencies really well i kept testing her earnies especially after i offered her a tutorial and i think she's improving we got lucky on one and unfortunately i kept testing her but uh you know she brings the energy to the event and my job is to you know meet her.
And raise her and then i had a great team supporting me thank you guys um it was an awesome journey it's my second time on blqk and each time my teammates and my team owners are amazing so i'm just humbled and proud and can't wait till the next one thank you all right the back-to-back champ irina tereshanko right there and.
Then the last member of our crew here zane at navertill and there is oh yeah this guy is logan a fan favorite uh there is always so much joy coming off of you when you play this game and i know that this event has been incredible for you guys in terms of team chemistry what has it been like to be a part of.
This crew for sure i mean the biggest thing that i miss about playing college tennis and high school tennis is the team atmosphere of things and this is truly a unique event in that it's the only event of the entire year that we get to play as a team and it's uh it's a little bit different to be able to share a victory.
With you know three other people and two phenomenal owners and yeah i i love the energy that rafa paris irina and justin and richie justin broke a chair uh he had us all sign it that's gotta be on camera at some point so love the team element all right well somebody grabbed the chair because i definitely think they're uh that needs to be seen.
And justin i think that was your doing right all right and i think also besides just grabbing the chair i feel like wwe right now grab the chair grab the trophy y'all let's hoist that thing all right give it up one more time for team blqk.
the back to back dreamland jam and we've got one more special piece of information and one more award to give out you guys you ready for this i'm going to bring up the founder of the dink thomas shields come on over thomas.
Congratulations to lee whitwell for the fb this league that lee whitwell is the mvp champ of dreamland for back-to-back years and lee i got to get your take on this because i know this.
Battle was so impressive and so fun for you to watch and you battled through some tough ones and i can see the emotion on your face right now so i'm gonna keep it real quick for you what does it mean to be a part of a crew like you have on florida smash absolutely amazing i'm so proud of them we battled hard.
And we left it all out there and congratulations to blqk you guys are amazing but thank you florida smash you guys wrong and so definitely will all right guys that is all the awards we have here i'm gonna send it back up to you in the booth oh man you just feel for lee whitwell.
What a competitor she's really incredible the emotion is so authentic and genuine an incredible athlete and you just feel for on that last point we're gonna step aside one more time here and return with one last segment for you to bring our coverage home we'll be back in just a moment.
Welcome back and it's time now for our aura organic athlete of the day rafa hewitt he was the king of comebacks today 35 years old just over two years ago he was working 80-hour weeks as a rancher from idaho helping his family open a winery now he's a full-on pro pickleball player turned it into his career and tonight he had a chance to.
Take home 25 000 to his wife and three babies back home in alabama it is a story you cannot forget here tonight of the events we witnessed on championship court michelle mcmahon and dominic catalano with you one last time what did you see from rafa hewitt who arguably could have won mvp as well.
Absolutely he played his butt off all weekend long and it just continued in this championship match the energy the heat he brought he earned that 25 000 in his pocket this weekend he sure did it's been a wild weekend for us here in the booth so much fun covering all this pickleball we thank you back home for staying tuned in with.
Us all weekend long but don't forget major league pickleball is only just beginning a couple of events coming up after this first they will take it to newport beach in early august and then the last stop on the tour is in columbus in october so these pros with lots of prize money online it's record-setting money in the sport of pickleball majorly.
Pickable on a mission to elevate and grow the sport they're doing just that absolutely these players deserve it they work their butt offs like steve kuhn said they're working hard they deserve that kind of money all right well that's a wrap for our coverage here in the booth we thank you for following along with us all weekend long congratulations.
To team blqk and they're proud owners on back to back championships in major league pickleball that concludes our coverage of the three-day team event showcasing some of the best world-class talent pickleball has to offer it's the fastest growing sport in america and major league pickleball is only getting started for.
Dominic catalano cameron irwin lauren mclaughlin tyson apostle and our entire inner sport crew i'm michelle mcmahon this has been a presentation of cbs sports network the 24-hour home of cbs sports
Major League Pickleball 2022 Austin Finals. To learn more visit MajorLeaguePickleball.net.
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