The Arizona Grand Slam Championship Court was filled with excitement as some of the best players in the world battled it out in the men’s and women’s singles competitions. With the temperature hovering around 40s-50s, the players were faced with challenging conditions, including breaking balls and fast-paced play. In this article, we will take a closer look at the highlights of the tournament and the most entertaining points from the championship court games.

Anna Leigh Waters vs. A New Player from Taiwan Anna Leigh Waters, who is currently contracted with Paddletek, found herself down 9-8 in her first game of the day against a new player from Taiwan. The player had a wicked backhand and was apparently ambidextrous, which made it difficult for Waters. The competition is beginning to show up out of nowhere, and frustration was evident on Waters’ face.

Men’s Singles Highlights

#1 Ben Johns and #32 Christopher Haworth opened up at the Arizona Grand Slam. Haworth came out aggressive with a strong ground stroke and quickly got dialed into the lines, controlling the pace of game one with a win. However, Johns heated up in game two, starting it 5-0, which ultimately led to a match victory in game three.

#9 Christian Alshon, a formidable singles player from the University of Chicago, had coach Leigh Waters in the box for his match against former Notre Dame tennis player #24 Nico Montoya. Even with the high level tennis pedigree, #24 ended up with an L against the Golden boy.

#3 Ryan Sherry faced off against #14 Gabriel Joseph in a match that showcased two elite ball strikers with the best two-hand backhands in the game. Sherry claimed he had never beaten Joseph, but took advantage in game one with a 6-0 lead. Joseph, however, made a comeback in game two and held the lead until game match.

#21 Travis Rettenmaier found early success forcing #4 Federico Staksrud to his backhand, but Staksrud pulled away and won in two by painting the lines. Rettenmaier, a top 50 doubles pro tennis player, had to learn the shots within the pickleball game before he could start chasing his potential. He is starting to better understand the geometry of the pickleball court as he climbs to #21.

Women’s Singles Highlights

#2 Jay Devillers, a former D1 tennis player at Wichita State, had a quick win in two games against #10 Connor Garnett, who played tennis at Santa Clara. Garnett struggled to keep up with Devillers, who moved forward well and sent the ball side to side, causing problems for Garnett.

#7 Mary Brascia, who is a swimmer, golfer, softball player, and tennis player, entered the pro pickleball scene in May of 2022 after finishing her studies at University. She struggled early in game one against #2 Catherine Parenteau, but found upset city on her paddle when she started a rampage in game two that continued in game three with an 8-0 lead. She won in three against Parenteau.

#1 Anna Leigh Waters faced off against #4 Salome Devidze in a matchup that has occurred three times before, with Waters winning six of the seven games. Waters had a couple of triple crowns under her belt this year already, but Devidze took a much more aggressive approach than normal in game one. The game was back and forth, and 6-6 at the midpoint, and 9-9 near the close, with pressure on the #1 Anna Leigh. To no surprise, Waters gets out of game one with a win against the 37-year-old. Following game one, the trend rambled on as Waters started blistering the ball and becoming more vocal. She wins in 2 over Devidze with an impressive game winner and heads to championship Sunday.

On the men’s side, #5 Tyson McGuffin’s early exit due to injury opened up the draw for the rest of the field. In the round of 16, #4 Federico Staksrud played a three-game thriller against #13 Tyler Loong. The match went back and forth, with each player having their moments. In the end, Staksrud’s consistency prevailed, and he won the match 11-9 in the third game.

#3 Ryan Sherry also had a tough test in the round of 16 against #19 Patrick Smith. Sherry’s foot injury seemed to bother him early on, but he battled through it and played some of his best pickleball of the tournament. After dropping game one, Sherry found his rhythm and won the next two games convincingly.


In the quarterfinals, Sherry faced off against #6 Dylan Frazier, who was coming off an upset win over #11 Rob Cassidy. The match was a battle of two players with contrasting styles. Sherry’s solid defense and two-handed backhand versus Frazier’s aggressive offense and booming serve. In the end, Sherry’s consistency proved to be too much for Frazier, and he won the match in two games

Meanwhile, on the other side of the draw, #1 Ben Johns and #2 Jay Devillers were cruising through their matches. Johns took down #9 Christian Alshon in straight games, while Devillers had a relatively easy time against #21 Travis Rettenmaier.


In the semifinals, Johns faced off against Staksrud in what was expected to be a close match. However, Johns was too much for Staksrud, and he won the match in two games. On the other side of the draw, Sherry faced off against Devillers in a battle of two former Division 1 tennis players. Sherry’s solid defense proved to be too much for Devillers, and he won the match in two games.


And so, the stage was set for the men’s singles final, with #1 Ben Johns taking on #3 Ryan Sherry. It was a battle of the top two players in the world, and it did not disappoint. The match went back and forth, with both players showcasing their incredible skills. In the end, it was Johns who came out on top, winning the match in three games.

In the women’s singles final, #1 Anna Leigh Waters took on #7 Mary Brascia. Waters had been dominant throughout the tournament, and many expected her to win the match easily. However, Brascia had other ideas. She came out firing and took the first game 11-7. Waters fought back in the second game, winning 11-9. In the third and deciding game, Waters took control early and never looked back, winning the game 11-3 and claiming the Arizona Grand Slam Championship.