Devilliers, Smith back together again

Devilliers, Smith back together again

DALLAS, TX - Pickleball has changed, the game has grown, the competition is real, and it’s truly a business at the professional level.

But there’s just something genuine, innocent and real about the way Pat Smith and Jay Devilliers talk about each other.

Man, it’s gonna be good to see them on the court together again.

“He clearly missed me,” Smith said jokingly of the newly rebooted pairing between the old friends coming up next week in Palm Springs, Calif., for the Hyundai Masters, the PPA Tour’s first tournament of 2024. “We started talking about maybe playing again last year.”

The two were at the airport, traveling from a tournament and got to talking about pickleball, life, the tour and the future.

“We just asked each other whether we still enjoyed traveling and playing on tour,” Smith said. “We both said, ‘Not really.’ The people had changed.”


All of the change in the pickleball world is overwhelming, with the proliferation of tournaments, money and even tours. So much fluidity, but there’s a staticness for Smith and Devillers.

“Pat is genuinely a great guy,” Devilliers said. In tennis, it was fun for both of us to play together, and now following it up with our pickleball journey. We have had so many epic stories together.”

The two have known each other more than 10 years, both live in Wichita, Kan., and were friends well before anyone, anywhere, had dreamed of a professional pickleball tour.

“One thing we both always had more than with any other partner was chemistry,” Smith said. “And fun. We just want to get back to having fun and keeping the outside noise out. We want to always win, but more importantly, we want to enjoy pickleball again.”

That starts soon in California. It’s a new season and the two are hopeful it’s a return to some past success. They medaled three times in a six-tournament span back in 2021, but went their separate ways after that.

“Pat and I have had great results in the past,” Devilliers said. “We are good friends and it’s easy to be real with each other. The reunion was always an option.”

Pat Smith and Jay Devilliers competing at the Vulcan Tournament of Champions in August 2023.
Pat Smith and Jay Devilliers competing at the Vulcan Tournament of Champions in August 2023. PPA Tour

It makes perfect sense - longtime friends, both in the same city, past success. It works. And the two have decided to play together for the first six months of 2024 and then see where it goes.

“Loyalty is something important to both of us,” Devilliers said. “I don’t want to ever bail on partners, like certain players do and have done. I’d rather commit for a shorter time frame and extend it if we do well.”

And if they don’t?

“We have always been honest with each other,” Smith said. “We trust each other. I’d say we are very fortunate to be able to play together with a true friend.  Win or lose, we will share many laughs on court again.”

Isn’t that really the reason we all play? It’s fun. Laugh. Have a good time. That can happen at the professional level, too.

“We want to enjoy playing again,” Smith said. “We also know that we will honor our pickleball partnership. Loyalty. Friends first, pickleball second.”