Last week pro legend Kyle Yates and Jonny Pickleball warned that the new USA Pickleball rule allowing drop serves would have massive negative effects on pro-level pickleball.
Kyle Yates: “Of course the people making the rules — the rules committee — I’m sure they thought ‘hey it’s going to help weaker players … it’s not going to change the serve at all [at the professional level]… it’s not going to affect anybody else really, so you know why not?'”
Jonny Pickleball: “However, high-level players — professional players — are going to take advantage of this, especially in singles. And they’re able now to come over the ball and do whatever they want …. professional players now have an advantage, especially on the serve. We’re not talking about aces necessarily, but making the return almost impossible to get deep.”
Yates: “And I think the people who actually created this rule and pushed for it, I’m not sure they looked at how creative some of these top players can be, and the skill level involved…”
After hearing the above, we were eager to see pro players weaponize the drop serve at the World Pickleball Championship in Punta Gorda, Fla. But on Day 1, only one player — Callie Smith — attempted to so. She drop-served the ball into the net once, then immediately reverted to her standard serve for the remainder of the game. From what we saw on Day 2, the drop serve was again a non-issue.
Kyle Yates responds: “I haven’t seen many players actually implement and stick with it yet, but I felt I was able to force more service return errors than usual in my singles matches that I won. Just because not many players have taken full advantage of it ‘yet’ doesn’t mean it couldn’t inevitably become an issue. If these new rules are provisional rules, then I don’t feel that the professional level is the place to be testing them out.”