Dreaming of becoming a professional tennis player only to have your body fail in the worst possible way leaves you with two choices – go big or go home. Jessie Irvine, pickleball pro, knows this all too well.
Sports prodigy Jessie Irvine decided to go big, swapping the tennis racket for a paddle and becoming a top 10 player in women’s pro pickleball in all three divisions.
Jessie Irvine’s Pickleball Career
Jessie Irvine is currently ranked #4 in the pro women’s doubles and mixed doubles division with 8,146 points, according to World Pickleball Rankings. She also ranked #8 in the women’s doubles in the Association of Pickleball Professionals.
Irvin, who only plays doubles, began playing at the end of 2018 and quickly gained recognition as a pro athlete thanks to her incredible sense and talent on the court.
Shortly after joining the sport, in April 2019, Irvine took fourth place in the U.S. Open Pickleball Doubles tournament with her partner Lindsey Newman. In the same year, she partnered with Ben Johns to compete and win the Tournament of Champions.
According to the athlete, her most memorable moment was winning pro doubles gold at the 2021 PPA Vegas Championships.
Irvine uses the Engage Pickleball Pursuit MX. Described as the grittier spin-off of Maverick paddles, it offers an extended grip handle compared to other paddles on the market. This is an important feature for the athlete, allowing her to take advantage of her long arms and execute perfect two-handed backhands, which are her favorite shots.
Beyond construction and characteristics, the choice is also likely the result of Engage being the athlete’s sponsor.
From the beginning of her professional pickleball career, Irvine has been sponsored and sustained by Engage Pickleball.
Jessie Irvine got into coaching after the premature fall of her tennis career. After affirming herself as a pro, she took on teaching the sport’s basics and useful tricks to enthusiasts of all ages.
Irvine’s lessons are available online at TopCourt, the official pickleball e-learning platform of the Pro Pickleball Association.
Training sessions include mixed doubles strategy and double serve strategy, serve-stacking, return stacking, doubles return strategy, drills, and top play tips. In some of these videos, she also shares failure and success stories that can motivate players of all levels.
Together with Scott Crandall, she also participates in pickleball clinics where she teaches skills development, proper form, slowing the ball down, and other player strategies that can help increase new players’ confidence during those first tournaments.
Jessie Irvine’s Personal Life
Jessie Irvine is a 33-year-old pickleball player and former tennis pro from Cary, North Carolina. She sacrificed her childhood for the love of tennis, dreaming of becoming a high-level player and competing in international tournaments.
Her initial tennis coach growing up was her own father. Under his training, she became a top 10-ranked junior tennis player, and by age 13, she was attending prestigious tennis academies in Florida.
What she didn’t know at the time was that her body was not up to the challenge.
Jessie was born with insufficient cartilage in her joints. The intensive training put a strain on her bones, which were already missing cartilage, leading to the rapid decline of her shoulders.
Despite the competitive streak that pushed her through years of training despite the pain, Irvine’s tennis career was cut short by age 18.
With her pro sports career in shambles, Irvine moved to Los Angeles, California, and earned her degree in sports psychology at UCLA.
However, despite giving up competing, her pain didn’t subside. Throughout her studies, Irvine abused all sorts of over-the-counter pain medication, which led to kidney failure.
After a near-death experience and with her new degree in tow, she decided that the best way to keep in touch with her beloved sport was teaching children the ins and outs of pro-playing. At the same time, she joined POP tennis tournaments, the POP tennis court, and rules, putting less of a strain on her injuries.
Irvine stepped on a pickleball court for the first time at the end of 2018, following her friends’ suggestion. The sport provided her with the addictive competition spirit she was missing, and by the start of 2019, she was all in.
Irvine became one of the top pro pickleball players by the end of 2019, not even a year after she was first introduced to the sport. When asked about the sport, she compares the sport to chess, claiming that it needs the same focus and strategic thinking to win the game.
While she might not have achieved her tennis dream, she surely knew how to make the most out of her second chance and has a bright future ahead of her.
How old is Jessie Irvine?
Jessie Irvine was born in 1989 and will soon be 34 years old.
Where is Jessie Irvine from?
Pickleball pro player Jessie Irvine was born and bred in Cary, North Carolina. She moved to Florida at age 13 to attend a tennis academy, then moved to Los Angeles to pursue her degree in sports psychology.
When did Jessie Irvine start playing pickleball?
The athlete began playing pickleball for the first time in 2018 after a friend suggested it to her. She joined the sport officially at the beginning of 2019.
What paddle does Jessie Irvine use?
Jessie Trinity Irvine uses the Engage Pickleball Pursuit MX. Before that, she played with an Elite Pro Maverick from the same brand.
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