Tennis fans were disappointed by the announcement of Steffi Graf and Maria Sharapova participating in Pickleball Slam 2.
The inaugural Pickleball Slam, which featured Andre Agassi, John McEnroe, Andy Roddick, and Michael Chang, enjoyed tremendous success. The event is now set to return for a second year.
The second edition of the Pickleball Slam will see the return of Agassi and McEnroe, who will be joined by tennis legends Graf and Sharapova. Agassi and Graf will join forces against McEnroe and Sharapova for a $1 million purse.
The growing popularity of pickleball, particularly in the US, has caused concern among fans about its potential negative impact on tennis. The recent announcement of Pickleball Slam 2 has only deepened the dismay of fans.
A fan lamented the news of Maria Sharapova and Steffi Graf Union the second Pickleball Slam event, viewing it as a loss to tennis.
“We lost the two best women in our sport to pickleball,” the fan tweeted.
Another fan was disappointed by the news of Graf’s involvement, given the 22-time Grand Slam champion’s absence from the tennis scene for the past two decades.
“Steffi didn’t get involved in the world of tennis in any way for the last 20 years, but she did this,” the fan commented.
One user urged Sharapova to apply for a wild card into a WTA tournament instead of competing in the pickleball event.
“Maria takes the racket and requests a Main Draw WC instead of Pickleball,” the user posted.
Here are some more fan reactions:
A brief look at the professional achievements of Steffi Graf and Maria Sharapova
Widely regarded as one of the greatest tennis players of all time, Steffi Graf he won 22 Grand Slam titles over the course of his illustrious career.
She stands just behind Serena Williams in the Open Era record for Majors won by a woman. The German also held the coveted World No. 1 ranking for 377 weeks, a record that stood until February of this year, when Novak Djokovic eclipsed the mark.
In 1988, Graf completed the Golden Slam, becoming the first and only singles player to win each of the four Majors and the Olympic gold medal in the same calendar year. Also, she is the only player to win all four Grand Slams at least four times.
Meanwhile, Maria Sharapova he enjoyed a very successful career on his own. She won five major titles throughout her career, ranking as one of 10 women to achieve the Grand Slam of her career. The Russian also won the Olympic silver medal at the 2012 London Olympics.
She rose to the world ranking of No. 1 in 2005, becoming the first Russian woman to claim the top spot in the WTA rankings.