Members of the USA Pickleball Rules Committee may be breathing a sigh of relief. During today’s pro singles matches at the APP Mesa Open — the first major professional tournament of the year — the controversial one-handed spin serve was largely a non-factor.
Some players, such as Zane Navratil, J.W. Johnson, and Hayden Patriquin, used the serve. But for the most part they were unable to get the kind of results that Navratil and others achieved with the chainsaw serve last year.
The USAP banned the chainsaw serve effective January 1, 2022, but thus far has continued to allow the one-handed version. Their decision was criticized by those who argue that the one-handed spin serve will confer too much of an advantage to the server. This argument got a boost from a widely-viewed Youtube video by Shea Underwood, which argued that a properly-executed one-handed spin serve is “scientifically better than the chainsaw” and “borderline unreturnable.”
The PPA tour has prohibited both versions of the serve among its professional players.
As Dinkheads reported last month, Porter Barr was able to achieve incredible results with his one-handed spin serve at the USAP National Championships. Veteran pro player Morgan Evans’ success with the one-handed serve is well known. Based on what we saw in today’s games, however, it now seems possible that Barr and Evans are in a class by themselves. If so, the one-handed spin serve will be a much smaller factor than many of us expected.