Yates Johnson playing pickleball.
Yates Johnson competing at the 2023 National Championships. PPA Tour

Johnson downs McGuffin in three games

CARY, NC - It’s only been a few weeks since Yates Johnson signed an exclusive contract with the United Pickleball Association, but he’s already making noise on the PPA Tour.

The SMU tennis alum took down No. 3 seed Tyson McGuffin in three games to advance to the Round of 16 at the Fanatics Sportsbook North Carolina Cup presented by CIBC.

Johnson got off to a strong start and took a tightly contested Game 1, 13-11.

But the 71-time PPA medalist McGuffin came out even stronger in Game 2 and won the second without dropping a single point.

“I think he just played a perfect game,” Johnson said of McGuffin’s Game 2 performance. “I really couldn’t do much.”

Getting pickled can be disheartening at any level of pickleball, but Johnson didn’t let it phase him.

Instead, he convincingly took Game 3, 11-6 to complete the upset and book his spot in the Round of 16.

Johnson admits that being on the other side of contract negotiations helps him focus more on the main task at hand: winning pickleball matches.

“Once you get the contract negotiations done and all the chaos finishes, it’s a lot of weight off your shoulders,” he shared.

The No. 33 seed will look to keep it going when he takes on qualifier Robert Slutsky on Thursday.