Jorja Johnson’s Achievement is a Familiar Story in Pro Pickleball

Jorja Johnson, professional pickleball player

There’s something familiar about pickleball pro Jorja Johnson making headlines at last week’s APP Sacramento Open.

The 17-year-old made APP Tour history as the third woman to win a triple crown, and simultaneously, the youngest to do it. 

Only Simone Jardim (at Delray Beach in 2022) and Parris Todd (at Newport Beach and Punta Gorda in 2023) had achieved the distinction before her.

"It was an incredible feeling to earn the Triple Crown,” Jorja told The Kitchen. 

“It’s been one of my goals for a long time and to be able to do it while I’m still a teenager makes it even more special.”

Jorja’s presence in the sport, in addition to other high-ranking young people like World No. 1 Anna Leigh Waters or Hayden Patriquin, no doubt paves the way for the next generation of elite pickleball players.

But her arc to success is remarkably similar to those of other recent pros:

  • She’s pickleball-native: similar to her contemporary and fellow Franklin-sponsored player Hayden Patriquin, Jorja Johnson doesn’t come from a tennis background (but her brother, JW, does).
  • She’s in high demand among the pro tours: the Johnson siblings have been difficult to track throughout the Tour Wars. They opted for APP this past week but have also regularly played for the PPA Tour and have signed with MLP in the past.
  • She’s fearless at the net: Jorja shows no hesitation in battling players – regardless of their age, gender, or stature – with backhand attacks and fast hands. In a sport often dominated by men with tennis backgrounds, Jorja’s bravery does not go unnoticed.
  • She’s part of a family dynasty: you could say that Jorja and JW were born for this. The Johnsons join several other families in pro pickleball (like the Newmans, Johns, or Kawamotos) that prioritize sports to this extent. 
  • The irony of us writing this article and talking about the effects of media attention on young people is not lost on us. But as the world takes pro-level pickleball more seriously, we’ve seen coverage of its athletes skyrocket, even from outside the pickleball media sphere.

    Forbes, for example, has an entire profile on 17-year-old Anna Leigh Waters, who’s made countless headlines in national publications already; another commonality between young pros.

    But so far, Johnson seems to be taking the attention humbly and with a healthy outlook.

    “The media attention was definitely never something I anticipated Going through but I’m just really thankful for everyone who cheers me on through tough matches and most importantly, my family and friends who are always there to keep me humble,” she says.

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