Stratman feels ‘really lucky’ in love with Arnold as doubles partner

Stratman feels ‘really lucky’ in love with Arnold as doubles partner

DALLAS, TX - What’s it like playing alongside PPA Tour pro Julian Arnold? Just ask his mixed doubles partner and girlfriend Lauren Stratman.

Stratman and Arnold have been dating for about two years, and they decided early on in their relationship to join forces on the court as well.

“I think a lot of people either struggle playing with their significant other or they don’t, and for us, it’s like 50/50,” said Stratman. “It could go well one day, and the next it could go really badly.”

Arnold hasn’t been Stratman’s only mixed doubles partner this season. She previously played with Pablo Tellez in Kansas City and Dylan Frazier in Las Vegas, too.

“For us, we decided to play some together and then take breaks from playing together. It’s been really good for our partnership because we take a month off and then we miss each other so then we come back together,” explained Stratman. “This year, we’re finishing the year out together.”

These two genuinely enjoy each other’s company.

“We practice together the majority of the time. We shop together, live together, we basically do everything together,” she added.

Two players living, training, and playing together is certainly a unique kind of relationship, though not uncommon with several other couples and marriages within the pro pickleball community.

“It’s definitely weird dating another pro athlete. We have very different routines in how we live, so we both have to compromise, but it’s really fun either way,” shared Stratman. “Julian is a hilarious person and I just love hanging out with him all the time. I’m just really lucky to have met him.”

However, these two didn’t unite because of pickleball. They both have tennis backgrounds and met at a tournament when they were younger.

Neither Arnold nor Stratman recall their initial encounter, however.

“It was actually my dad who remembered that we played each other in a tennis tournament when I was 14 and he was 17, but we only got to know each other about two years ago,” she said.

As much as Stratman enjoys playing mixed doubles with Arnold, she also likes competing in women’s doubles.

“What I like about women’s doubles is that it’s fast-paced. You have more of a green light to speed the ball up early because you don’t have a dude in front of you that’s just going to counter it hard back at you,” explained Stratman. “It makes the points more fun.”

When asked who her favorite partner to play women’s doubles with is, she responded Yana Grechkina.

Grechkina recently changed her last name to Newell after marrying fellow pickleball pro, Ben Newell.

Stratman and Newell played women’s doubles together this year in Utah and Southern California.

“I really like playing with her. She’s got a great attitude. She’s a good fighter and we get along well on and off the court,” remarked Stratman. “Within the pro community, most of us get along pretty well. Most of us are friends off the court, even though we compete on the court.”

Arnold will always be Stratman’s top choice, of course, which is just the way it should be.