Pitt Meadows’ Steve Deakin started off the first leg of the 2020 Canadian Pickleball Series with some great results recently.
He left the Toronto Cup– held February 7-9 – with a gold medal in Mixed Doubles and a silver in Men’s Doubles.
Two-and-a-half years into his pickleball career, Deakin is one of the top players in the world.
“I came from a tennis background, and the transition from tennis to pickleball is somewhat natural, so it’s something I picked up quite quickly,” he said.
Deakin became interested in the sport after having some shoulder problems while involved with Tennis Canada’s senior program.
“I started playing pickleball after the shoulder issue because I can’t just sit on the couch and not do anything, and I just never went back to tennis again,” Deakin said.
“There’s just so many opportunities with pickleball. It’s one of the fastest growing sports in America.”
He pointed to the Toronto Cup – which doubled in size from last year – as an example of the game’s explosion in popularity.
Deakin has even been able to leave his job to concentrate on pickleball full time.
“What a lot of the pros have to do – because the prize money is just getting established – is they have to teach a lot of clinics,” Deakin said.
“So that’s what I’ve been doing the whole month of January.”
One of his goals for this year is to maintain his top-five world ranking and also get his business up-and-running by hosting and running pickleball camps and clinics across the country.
“I’ve got a very busy year,” he said, chuckling.
The local athlete – who is now 45 – is very grateful to be able to play at a very high level in a sport he loves.
“It’s amazing. It’s a sport that at my age, I can compete still with the world’s best,” Deakin said.
“There’s a lot of younger guys out there but it’s a very strategic game. It’s kind of like chess. There’s a lot of soft play involved and there’s obviously the hard hand exchanges.
“For me I love it and I’m still able to compete so I’m going to keep going as long as I can.”
The Canadian Pickleball Series’ next tournament will be held in Burnaby on March 26-29.