Jan 18, 2023
For years, Kyle Yates hid a secret from his closest friends.
He didn’t want them to know that he was a rising star in a sport best known as the last athletic refuge for graying retirees.
Yates’ pickleball addiction took hold at age 15 when his uncle coaxed him into playing a match together. By then, Yates recognized he lacked the size or raw power to pursue tennis beyond high school. In pickleball, he saw a better showcase for his trademark patience and guile.
There was no one Yates' age playing pickleball when he first picked up a paddle, nor were there even many young adults. The Florida teenager regularly practiced with a group of men old enough to be his dad or even his grandfather.
When Yates earned his first meaningful victories and broke into the national rankings, he began venturing further from home in search of stronger competition. As a student at the University of Florida, he would often slip away from campus to The Villages, a sprawling Florida retirement community that at the time was home to a handful of the world’s best pickleball players.
Source: Yahoo Sports