Matt Wright and Lucy Kovalova at the Select Medical Orange County Cup.
Matt Wright and Lucy Kovalova at the Select Medical Orange County Cup. PPA Tour

Taylor and Wright get heated in mixed match: "You need the extra steps"

SAN CLEMENTE, CA - A heater of a match occurred on Tuesday afternoon at the PPA Select Medical Orange County Cup when Matt Wright and Lucy Kovalova faced off against Zach Taylor and Carolina Lopez-Ascarate in the round of 64.

The usual shenanigans ensued after Wright and Kovalova went down 9-11 in game one, with Wright employing his familiar call of “That’s out!” in game two.

After one of Wright’s balls flew long with Wright/Kovalova leading game two 4-0, Taylor called the ball out by saying (amid a few laughs from the crowd): “No. Never.”

Wright responded on the next ball when Taylor put it in the net: “Never.”

Taylor remarked audibly, “11-9,” likely referring to the score of the first game that Wright/Kovalova had just lost to them.

Wright replied with something that is mostly inaudible, but, “just two hacks,” sounded like it might have been a portion of his monologue.

At that point, Taylor began using Wright’s signature, “that’s out” call back at him.

At 4-2, Taylor disputed a call on the back line that Wright/Kovalova made and asked if there was a challenge system on the court that he could use. There was not, and the referee upheld the call on the court.

A firefight ensued at 6-3 between Taylor and Kovalova, with Kovalova coming out on top. Wright followed this up by saying, “Yup, slow hands there” as well as another comment that is inaudible.

At 7-3, Taylor stretched in to take a ball out of the air and landed it in the net. 

Wright: “Yeah, I would say ‘never’ on that one.”

Taylor: “Yeah, probably not.”

Next point, Taylor (in response to a winning ball from his partner): “Yup, all day, let’s go.”

Next point, Wright (forcing an out ball from Taylor): “That’s out, that’s not the shot.”

Finally logging a point with a smash past Wright to take the game to 4-7, Taylor let Wright know: “Yes, that’s the shot.”

Wright (after Taylor missed a defensive ball at the back): “Let her play, it’s better.”

Taylor responded by knocking the ball over to the far corner of Wright’s side of the court to retrieve.

Wright (sarcastically): “Thank you.”

Taylor: “You’re welcome. You need the extra steps.”

Taylor/Lopez Ascarate lost the next point to take them to 4-8 down and called a timeout, with Taylor climbing into the first row of the stands and walking around the ref to his bench in order to avoid passing by Wright.

A miss from Taylor upon returning to the court prompted Wright to say: “Uh-oh.”

Kovalova and Wright closed out game two 11-4, taking the match to a game three.

The chatter continued throughout game three, with Wright making the bulk of the comments to Taylor which included:

“You have no backhand, believe me.”

“Uh-oh, that hurts (referencing a foot fault called on Taylor)”

“How many forehands is he [Taylor] going to miss? Keep going there, return to him every time.”

“Oh, that’s a bad miss.”

“I think he was trying to hit a lob on that one (referencing a high, deep ball from Taylor).”

Taylor tried to bring his partner up, who seemed to be letting the chatter get to her: “Hey, forget what he says. Just play pickleball. It’s what he does.”

Taylor/Lopez Ascarate called a timeout at 2-9 down, prompting Wright to let them know: “Good timeout.” and remind them of the score, “9-2-1.”

Wright: “How could we lose a game to these guys?”

Kovalova: “I played terrible first game.”

Wright: “… 4.0s…”

Taylor/Lopez Ascarate went on to lose the match 9-11, 11-4, 11-2.

Wright: “That was close, I said [it would be] 2 and 2, [and it was] 4 and 2.”

What do you think of the chatter in this match? Over the line or part of the game? Let us know by tagging @pickleballdotcom or commenting on our social media post detailing this exchange.

To rewatch the full match, head over to PPA Grandstand Court.