With that we say hello to you from the cbs pickleball studios and welcome you to a first for this remarkable sport that has been taking america by storm first ever broadcast network telecast of pro pickleball i'm brett haver pleased to be alongside the veteran pickleball player and commentator morgan evans morgan what does this day this occasion.
Say about the growth of this remarkable sport g'day brett the game is absolutely exploding and today is one of the biggest days out there almost 5 million players are enjoying the game around the country and it is growing like wildfire they're hopefully watching today can't wait for the games more than 10 000 pickleball facilities in america right.
Now and that's growing every day it's got some very compelling characters we're going to introduce some of them to you today starting with the mother-daughter duo from florida this is anna lee waters the 15 year old her mom lee waters is it a surprise to see a 15 year old be the number one player in the sport well yes and no brett honestly.
Those two together the family atmosphere and it really speaks to how the game is developing it's such a social and family-oriented sport those two have each other as training partners they drill time and time again iron sharpens iron and it's no surprise to see them here today and uh they are bangers that that's a term that you will learn and.
Hear uh throughout the pickleball world that they don't finesse the ball they hit the daylights out no it is beautiful blunt force trauma at its finest can't wait to see it and we can't wait to bring it to you a first for pro pickleball you'll see women's doubles followed by men's doubles colin and ben johns on the way it is ppa pickleball.
From riviera in la on cbs right after this this cbs sports spectacular the skechers summer pickleball championships on cbs sports is sponsored by pickle play the ultimate pickleball app hertz let's go select medical.
The power of physical therapy and by onyx durafast 40 the official ball of the ppa 15 years old she's pretty impressive she can play she can broadcast and to recap the rules that she's laid out we're playing best of three games gotta get to 11 and win by one in this format side.
Out scoring means that only the serving team can score a point we'll explain a fast breaker if we get to a deciding game but morgan we've got electronic replay in effect yes we do however when you make a challenge if you are unsuccessful it's going to cost you a timeout and in today's format they're only going to get one timeout per game.
So they're going to have to be a little careful about when they use it all right we'll keep you honest on those rules as the action unfolds we've told you about the mother daughter duo the waters but for more on their opponents today let's check in with the third member of our team cameron irwin hey cameron.
Hey guys well you talk about the force of the waters but i had a chance to actually catch up with lucy kovaleva as well as cali smith i said what's important to keep in mind when facing the waters and they said well this is a team that shines in the chaos they like to play fast i said well how do you counteract that they told me they have.
To stay within their own game plan staying steady and recognizing the opportunities where they can attack or where they can settle into points now i also caught up with callie who told me she loves to play fast so this is a match-up she thrives in it's going to be interesting to see who wins some of those fire fights because you can.
Guarantee there's going to be more than a handful of them back to you guys all right cameron thanks and we'll check in a little bit later on and it's worth pointing out that even though the waters tend to get a little more pub as this mother-daughter storyline it's callie smith and lucy kovalevo who are ranked one and two in the world in doubles.
That's exactly right they won the san clemente event not long ago and the atlanta tournament as well so they are the team to beat right now the waters are really looking to turn the tables and this is a fantastic opportunity for them to do just that i will try to also keep you honest on the ids with the players for those of you who are.
Watching for the first time this is the duo of kovalova and smith and like tennis when you play doubles you warm up with your partner yep we're seeing the waters here the uh the young lady emily waters on the right side and lee waters on the left taking the court now on the left-hand side.
There with the long braided hair cali smith and lucy kovalev waters one of the things we heard from the waters do is that because anna lee is the number one player in the world when.
They play together a few more balls are going to go mom's way aren't they yeah more than a few um she will certainly see the lion's share of balls and she's used to it she really enjoys that pressure situation she knows her daughter is uh the force to be reckoned with on the flip side it's usually cali smith.
Receiving the vast majority of the balls on the other side there fantastic drive down the middle catches the edge of the paddle one one overhead put away up the middle can you.
Explain the formation the waters used there where they were stacking yeah so stacking is a great way to keep two players in their preferred positions in the case of the waters who are serving now annalee waters proposed to be on the right hand side and that ball just floating along fantastic exchange and see how.
Aggressive the waters are being early on just a clarification for fans who haven't watched it before you're hearing the referee count out the score and he's saying three numbers yeah so the first number is the score of the server the second number the score of the returning side and the third.
Number is relative to which serving position both players get a chance to serve so you'll either see a one or a two the referee there he is watching the feet not so much the lines the players are going to be calling the lions predominantly that lead referee is mr ron ponder he's.
Backed up by leslie frank he's tracking referee don stanley and the video referee if it comes to it dede jackson all right so that's a side out as smith and kovalova take over servant so trying to go atp explain the abbreviation yes around the post uh it happens a lot.
More often in pickleball than it does in tennis very rare antennas obviously but pickleball the dimensions of the court do lend itself to that exciting kind of play ten years ago it was rare to see one five years ago it was rare to see someone defend and around the post these days they both happen a couple of.
Times a game that was almost bait from lee waters to put it up nice and high for the long reach of lucy kovaleva 41. we'll miss too easy yep she says that's how you do it young lady fantastic play all four players engaged.
Right now it's the raw aggression of the waters it's uh really proving the difference second serve now lee waters she'd love to get that one back that's her favorite shot the hand signals much like tennis are there set plays do they predetermine.
When they might poach or cross yes when they've decided that a uh a third shot player is definitely going to be driving the ball then very often the other player will disconnect early move up and look to intercept or poach i do prefer the word intercept as opposed to it's as long as you're not cooking fish yes i.
Agree yes indeed water started playing in 2017 when when anna lee was just 10 they're from florida but they had evacuated because of hurricane irma just long one thought it might have caught the line but they had gone up to pennsylvania to stay.
With lee's dad annalee's grandfather and he suggested that they play the game for the first time and the game of pickleball thanks i'll say so four points the lead they're gonna uh call a tv timeout and we'll take a break and lee waters with the early lead at riviera.
first game of our women's doubles 16 lead for anna lee and lee waters thought so far yeah often we see them blow out to a good advantage early on before any side really has a chance to catch up and you know breathe figure out what they need to do.
These two teams have played each other so often i will not be surprised if smith and kovaleva mount an effective comeback serve long from anna late 261. and referee ron ponder has called a foot fault.
Can't hit a volley from the kitchen yes you and your momentum cannot bring you into the kitchen after playing a volley and that ball is called long so they close the gap by one lee waters she loves a good heads-up battle happy to dink down the line even.
Though the reach of lucy kovaleva is formidable elise says that she sometimes gets so concerned with making sure that her daughter has what she needs on the road she forgets to prepare for herself as an athlete doesn't take care of her nutrition her training her stretching because she gets into mom mode.
Well from what i've seen this year especially she has raised her level to a point where she really belongs in this match so yep cross-court exchange between lucy and lee and kovalova gets the better of it yeah it looked like for the majority of.
That rally lee waters was playing the more aggressive dinks cross court however one opportunity and kovalev pounces and that ball sails just wide there's a beautiful reset in there from cali smith 362. they were stretched.
All the way around the riviera on that one managed to squeak it back as they say just one more ball just get one more back and you never know at that time the reflexes from the waters and one of the differences you'll notice as you watch the sport compared to tennis is the.
Pacing between points is so rapid it prevents it in many cases us from showing you some of the replays because they're back at it so quickly yeah that's exactly right and after the score is called by the referee players do have 10 seconds to serve the ball well left there are no changeovers.
Except at the end of the game unless we get to a deciding game in this case they change ends when the team gets to six yeah anna lee what is now on the left hand side of the court as a contrast to her typical position what would be the reasoning for that switch often it's uh it's just liking.
The heads-up battle so right now anna lee is in front of lucy kovalova that may be because she backs her chances in hand speed exchanges but also maybe to protect lee waters from that same matchup it's a good looking lob and another one but just one the lob has has become a bigger part of.
Tactical pickleball in the last year so hasn't it yeah especially in this last year a couple of fantastic pros have really embraced the lob dawson one of if not the best aj cola matt wright the girls are having a good time with it.
I challenge you have a challenge this is on the lob from smith and kovalova did it or did it not go over the baseline they'll take a look at the review we'll come back with the verdict all right the replay review has just been completed that ball was confirmed.
Out so the challenge was successful let's go down to cameron yeah guys it's so interesting because you watch the pace of play and one of the hardest aspects of this game is the fact that the ball is traveling at such a fast pace and you're having to chase that ball down that one was off a lot it was intriguing because it actually was.
Overturned here on the court and then that challenge came into play which was then overturned yet again so one of the nice ways that you're starting to see technology invested into this game you got to love that this one was called the right direction most important thing is getting it right they've got technology.
At their disposal here's another look that's the first lob which was clearly good this is the one that was challenged yeah not much in it but in the end ball was called out so they've taken another small timeout here just to reset that's a while smith and pulling over.
Keep their timeout because the challenge was successful bear in mind that the waters for all the success they're having took the 2020 year the pandemic year entirely off from pickleball the sport continued but because anna lee homeschools with lee's parents her grandparents and the risk to older.
People of the infection and the serious effects from kovic they didn't want to travel and take that risk and so they stayed home completely and still are at this level yeah i mean they use the the time wisely with a good looking overhead through the middle.
The defense of the waters on full display though 491 just a little tentative there from lucy kovalev she typically would put two hands in the paddle and grip it and rip it big hit from lee waters.
She has one of if not the best overhead in the game it's phenomenal to see her move into position and just be so deadly accurate with that overhead only two points away now from game one that's long sign out yeah beautiful counterpunch there from cali smith moving in mom's squashing it out in front 10.
and she's missed a sitter four two one that's a big risk unfortunately at this stage of the game for kovalova however that their team on serve couldn't lose a point it's a big factor in how the professionals play.
to get one point a little bit of discussion between mother and daughter and this is a very new tactic you typically don't see this it's been a while since i've seen them.
Attempt that high risk high reward what are they accomplishing with that well a lot of it is firstly a bit of a distraction to opponents and the opponents are going to look towards the net player as a good target if you hit them that's your point.
Uh so what it does is it has an effect of drawing the return of serve kind of where you want if you want uh the return to come back down the middle chances are they're going to be going for that net player so.
A little bit of pressure mounting on the waters and the fifth player on the court and that's getting involved coming on their serve it'll be anna lee trying to close out this first game when we come back to l.a i think something lee waters was and.
Technically still is an attorney but three years ago she gave up the court of law for the court of pickleball and now they travel together mother and daughter around the world it is an endearing story to say the least so game points here just an off-pace.
Drop there from the waters are so accustomed to smith and kovalev are really fighting back and that feeds into often their advantage chaos as cameron owen puts it that last point was a fantastic display of just how athletic.
Annaleigh waters is able to get that ball back cross-court when both her opponents thought possibly around the post all right the duo from delray beach take game number one this is best of three as we get going with pickleball's network tv debut live from pacific palisades.
live in pacific palisades california riviera country club first match of our skechers invitational first game to the waters duo who was the mvp on court in that first game you'd have to give it to anna lee waters her closing positions there were spot on.
However there's such a good team together i think once you uh you start sharing genetic code with your partner there's just a way of knowing when they're going to pull the trigger what areas of the core they're going to be able to get to and there's such a synergy that we see with the waters and we see it with riley and lindsey newman.
All right as this game gets underway let's go down to camera hey guys you know what's interesting because i caught up with both cali and lucy and i asked them why they enjoyed playing so much together we saw that late push from them as this rally goes on and we saw that late push from them in.
Game number one and it's interesting because they talked about each other's personalities how much of a sweetheart cali is and i love this lucy's saying yeah i'm not that but what makes them great you guys is the fact that their communication is always on point i got a chance to watch them in between games and they were very.
Energized very communicative and we saw so much of that switch they evaluate that on the spot and they communicate beautifully to be able to execute some of those switches you guys know it seemed to be the one area where where the waters would have a built-in advantage being mother and daughter but smith and kovalev are matching them.
Yeah certainly so much of it in the waters camp is non-verbal they don't need to talk quite so much kovalova and smith certainly talk a lot on the court very loud with each other but it's the waters that really got off to a good start there picking up where they left off on game.
One one four one the game break they each had a chat with their coach in the case of smith and kovalova it's callie's husband and coach kyle in the case of the waters it's dad to anna lee and husband to lee that's stephen waters well he's a smart man he generally stays out of everything.
Technical tactical i'm not even sure he gets involved with hydration lee waters is his coach for annalee and her singles and generally has a good guiding hand in the doubles as well but it's always a team big swing.
From ali yeah and if it looks a lot like a tennis forehand it's where it uh was built in her game started off as a tennis player and a phenomenal soccer player actually take another look at this big forehand from analyte closing in ah reminds you a little bit.
Of sharapova right a young uh young swinging volley sharapova okay marie was never much for the overhead she liked those swinging volleys referee ron ponder just uh just saying we had some new we've got an inadvertent phone going off and we thought you could hear them that was fun.
Possibly sugar ray leonard did you did you catch ray in the crowd this listen this is riviera this is l.a we're told this is going to be a star-studded crowd this afternoon this is uh the home of some of the biggest celebrity pickleball players uh out there right now.
Champ of the wild how he's in his 60s is passing understanding and that goes flying yeah it uh it looked like it just caught her by surprise lee waters throwing up that line.
Out of the air some return fire from cali smith finding a short angle beautiful technique on the retreat this overhead from cali smith yes ma'am 171. so let's see if they can't start closing the gap.
But lee water's unafraid that's part of the game that has really increased a lot in the last year as well those cross-court attacks so often traditionally attacks were going down the line or the middle dink does not get over the net and so that will be a side out 7-1 decisive edge for the waters they've got the.
First game in their pockets so first game to the water 7-1 lead in the second they have caught a gear and are running with it yes right now it looks like kovaleva and smith haven't found the answer yet one of the things that they're used to is seeing annalee waters on the right hand.
Side of the court right now she's playing on the left and has done so very very well traditionally the better player plays on the yeah left often recall the alpha player just the left side player let's see.
Typically to keep that middle forehand for them um however in women's doubles often it's uh it's the other way around because the two-handed backhand has proved so dominant for many of the women on tour that the right-hand side player there's an argument for that being.
The dominant so in general annalee waters plays the right which is contrary to traditional tactics today she's playing mostly on the left yeah she started off on the right hand side and she is there now but we'll see if they switch you typically see her miss generally so solid that she is backing up off the.
Line more than normal some of the uh the severe offense from both lee and anna lee may be pushing her off the line slightly but a good leave from her so point on the second serve as they get their second of this game lee waters looks like she's calling for the fake.
She draws the ball in that direction all right so kovalova the slovakian native 30 years old gives away his annalise serves here three points from the wind and that one just cramping up lee waters it's a second serve for lee reflex to take the first one off the.
Tape but could not handle the second yeah it is surprisingly difficult to be able to do what she did there take a ball that catches the tape and still do something well with it deserve the ball back they're staying offensive even when they're returning serve it's typically a.
Time of the game where you generally need to be more conservative you can easily lose a point with a high risk play you mentioned that anna lee was also a fine soccer player she only committed full-time to pickleball giving up soccer less than a year ago she had an offer from an academy team of one of the.
Bundesliga clubs in germany to go over there and train full-time in soccer lee waters the mother of emily takes care of business there i'm sure she doesn't waste an opportunity to tell her torture everything yeah oh just a miscommunication on that middle ball.
Anna lee getting ahead of her mum creating a bit of a gap the kind of death we call it it's the same uh same term in tennis and that means a lot to kovalova she needs to get into a good rhythm with those crossed court dinks especially kovalova former college tennis player at wichita state.
Class of 15. so lee waters off the tape and over the rackets of her opponents yeah it looked like there was a little bit of an indecision if that was going to be a covalent forehand or a smith backhand and it just cost them a contact height.
And gave waters a good chance to put that one away with a little help lee waters also a college tennis player played at university of south carolina class of 2001. so now three points away from tying this one up.
Sorry closing this one second serve coming here they have been stuck on eight for quite some time that time the waters make it work off the tape so they get to nine two points from the wind.
pickleball continues live on cbs a great look at some of the fast twitch muscles the unworldly reflexes of these four superstars all four players strutting their stuff in the main event here the reflexes and the swinging volleys.
From all four really on full display so 43 year old lee waters and her 15 year old daughter anna lee waters up a game and 9-3 in the second this is mom lee water serving trying to close this thing out they are ranked three and four in the world their opponents smith kovalova.
Ranked one and two yeah the last two tournaments smith and kovaleva have gotten the better of them in the finals yeah so far for me it's been the diversity of team waters that has separated the two teams so far introducing more and more of the lobs.
Keeping anna lee on different sides of the court making sure she's a difficult target to find this is match point they try to pick on mom but it does not work as the waters duo takes the women's doubles at riviera lee played lights out especially in that second game she gets targeted so often that she.
Rises to the occasion once again here today they have won an awful lot this is the one they wanted as dad slash the water's getting so much attention morgan and living up to it today.
Yes no certainly they they're used to this kind of pressure now they have been in the limelight for so long nothing away from cali smith and lucy kovaleva phenomenal players still going to be ranked number one out there but for the moment the celebration is on the waters side of the net anna lee and lee take the doubles much more to.
Come from riviera men's doubles on the way with world number one ben jones natalie waters won her first career title all the way back when she was 12. that was three years ago now she's 15.
And she's still winning she and mom lee waters take the doubles title at riviera and straight games let's go down and hear from our winners with cameron irwin all right guys well i have a pretty heavy crew down here uh let's start off going back to game number one it seems like you guys came out from the very.
Beginning very aggressive was that the game plan going on and how did it evolve through game number one yeah that was definitely the game plan we're really aggressive players both of us so we're playing aggressive we're usually winning so we decided to come out here and just play aggressive and that's what we did first game and second game now we saw a.
Couple different switches in terms of sides played what was the communication like and at what point did you feel like that became necessary against these two yeah i mean they're great players and so we knew there were going to be a lot of swings point wise and so as soon as we lost a few points in a row we decided to switch it up um anally and i have gotten.
Comfortable on both sides which i think is one of the advantages of us as a team now there was also one point i think it was the match point if you go back to game number one we saw i formation that was something new to me in pickleball explain that and why did you guys go about doing it that way well we hadn't won a point in quite a bit so we were.
Like just switch it up but as long as my mom didn't hit the ball out of the air we were good so i was like i was hoping to get like a poached and we didn't win the point but it was fun to do anyway all right now this is the first time for a national audience what does it mean to be a part of this competition yeah i mean this is amazing for the sport in.
General just to be out here it was amazing for four females to be the first on a major network playing pickleball so let's go ladies all right well i think it's time to maybe get some hardware let's bring on over connor pardo the ceo of the ppa tour and i'm gonna hand it off to you on behalf of the ppa tour skechers and.
Cbs we present you here with this trophy congratulations it was an honor to win the first match on national tv and let's give a big round of applause for these girls everybody what a match what a treat thanks cameron really appreciate it guys great plane all right well i think it's time we get into the men's matchup i'm.
Going to send it back over to you brett and morgan all right guys thanks again and congratulations to the waters another trophy that's going to be a rather crowded mantle on the waters family fireplace they're gonna have to fire a bigger boat yeah no i think they're gonna open a new wing in the mansion to house some of.
These trophies all right so they've got a bunch and ben johns has even more the dominant men's player in world pickleball is up next men's doubles on the way from you
Watch the first ever women’s doubles match broadcasted live on CBS from the Riviera Country Club