One of the rising young stars on the professional pickleball circuit, Ben Johns has been playing the sport for a relatively short period of time and, in less than two-and-a-half years, has accumulated a vast array of medals and titles at some of the sport’s top events. In 2018, Johns captured a gold medal in Men’s Singles Pro at the Tournament of Champions where he also took home a silver medal in Mixed Doubles Pro. Also this year, Johns won gold at the Beer City Open in Men’s Singles and Doubles Pro and won gold medals in both Men’s and Mixed Doubles Pro at the SoCal Summer Classic. At last year’s USAPA National Championships, he won gold in Men’s Singles 19+ along with a bronze and silver medal in Men’s Doubles Pro and Men’s Singles Pro respectively.
Currently a student at the University of Maryland, Johns grew up in Gaithersburg, Maryland playing tennis and table tennis. In March of 2016, he first picked up a pickleball paddle and instantly loved the game. “Playing both tennis and table tennis, pickleball seemed like it was right in between the two, so I gave it a try and loved it.”
In 2017, Johns won a gold medal in Men’s Pro Singles at the US Open and swept gold medals at the Canadian Nationals in Men’s Singles Pro, Mixed Doubles Pro and Men’s Doubles Pro. “There are definitely a number of high level tennis players getting involved in pickleball. They catch on easily and usually enjoy it. If you look at the game just a few years ago, you didn’t really see many tennis players. Now, almost all the top players have a significant tennis background.”
Now, with the USAPA National Championships playing in one of the world’s finest tennis facilities, Johns sees nothing but increased notoriety for the sport of pickleball. “The move to Indian Wells can help pickleball be recognized as a serious sport, especially to tennis players. Also, just the pure increased exposure it will get will increase the number of people that have heard about the game and will want to try pickleball.”