Staksrud Loses His Cool with Anna Leigh, Dizon Takes Paddle to the Head

Staksrud Loses His Cool with Anna Leigh, Dizon Takes Paddle to the Head

It was a big Saturday at MLP Dallas with the Challenger finals and the Premier quarterfinals all taking place. MLP has been known to bring out a plethora of emotions in players and this day was no different. 

Saturday morning, the Miami Pickleball Club (Federico Staksrud, Mary Brascia, Tyson McGuffin, and Tyra Black) squared off against the Utah Black Diamonds (Anna Leigh Waters, AJ Koller, Irina Tereschenko, and Thomas Wilson).

Miami took a quick 2-0 lead in games, winning both women’s doubles and men’s doubles, then went up 20-10 in the first mixed match with Staksrud/Black facing Waters/Koller. During a fiery hands-battle between Staksrud and Waters on the next point, Waters ended by dumping the ball in the net, to which Staksrud reacted with, “Take that, b*tch!” 

Referees quickly intervened, throwing up the orange card to Staksrud and letting him know that he had received a technical for language and a loss of the point. Staksrud apologized to Waters at that time. 

Waters, who has been known to engage in a bit of on-court chatter, had reportedly said something to the effect of “that’s why you [Federico] can’t win at PPA events,” a few points earlier, but this is unconfirmed.

Federico spoke to a reporter following the match and gave another apology to Anna Leigh Waters and fans. Watch the clip here.

Meanwhile Meghan Dizon of the Columbus Sliders gave herself and fans a scare later that day when she took a sharp paddle to the back of the head, ending up sitting dazed on the ground near the kitchen line. 

The smash in question came during the Sliders’ match against the Brooklyn Aces (Dizon and JW Johnson vs. Catherine Parenteau and Tyler Loong). With the Sliders 15-19 down in the third game of the overall match-up, Johnson took a massive swing at a high ball… and connected with Dizon’s head instead.

After an extended injury timeout, Dizon was pronounced able to continue playing. She did so, and played well, but the Sliders ended up losing that game and then the overall match-up in the dreambreaker. Watch the match here.

Dizon, notably, was forced to withdraw from the Denver Open a few months back for a similar injury, when her mixed partner, Federico Staksrud, hit her in the back of the head with his paddle during a putaway. 

Dizon noted after Saturday’s match that she’s suffered four head injuries over the last year and a half and that the incident scared her because it was just one more in a long history. She took a rest day Sunday after receiving medical care and still intends to compete at the USA Pickleball National Championships this coming week.