Born and raised in Fort Myers, Florida, Kyle Yates, a natural athlete who had grown up playing soccer and table tennis among other sports, had hopes to play tennis for the Gators at the University of Florida. But, an injury in his senior year of high school changed all that. He still traveled to Gainesville, but, this time on an academic scholarship. His uncle, who introduced him to tennis also had Kyle take a closer look at the sport of pickleball and, at the age of 16, he started playing mostly for fun on the weekends. That fun quickly turned into a passion for Kyle as he began traveling to tournaments around the country. Then, in 2015, he decided to play pickleball full-time. And, just one year later, Kyle captured the Grand Slam of pickleball in professional men’s doubles, winning the US Open, Tournament of Champions and USAPA National Championships. He has gone on to win the US Open in pro men’s doubles three straight years, partnering with Dave Weinbach in 2016 and ’17 and winning this year’s title with Matt Wright. “Pickleball has grown organically at an exponential rate the past eight to nine years. Since the beginning of the USAPA National tournament nearly a decade ago, Pickleball has been expanding through simple word of mouth. We’ve seen such a growth in the past few years in large part due to social media and how easily information spreads nowadays,” said Yates.
Like most pickleball players, Kyle Yates feels with the National Championships moving to a new home can only mean tremendous growth for the sport. “Having a premier venue such as Indian Wells host the USAPA Nationals will be a great leap forward for our sport. I’m hopeful that it will help tennis players find a sort of appreciation for pickleball and begin to recognize that there is a large niche it can fill.”