Drop Shot UK athlete Thaddea Lock is one of Europe's elite pickleball players and is only just getting started! We had a chat with Thaddea to find out more about her love for pickleball.
Number of tournaments in which a gold medal was won: 5
Number of medals won: Gold 9; Silver 2; Bronze 3
Been playing for: 18 months
Favourite shot: 2 handed backhand swing volley
How did you get into pickleball?
In September 2018 I went on holiday to Wichita, Kansas to stay with some friends. They took me to a pickleball session with their coach Lucy, I played a few times and really loved it so when I got back to England I began playing regularly. I then found out that Lucy who had taught me is one of the best female pro players in the world – Lucy Kovalova! Not bad for a first coach!
How often do you train/play?
Not as much as I would like! I usually play 1-2 times a week with Wimbledon Pickleball which involves drilling and rec play and then have an additional session for singles practice and point play. I try to workout 3 – 4 times a week on top of this with running and HIIT workouts. At the start of 2019 I got really sick with glandular fever and couldn’t exercise for 5 months so I’m gradually building my fitness back up to where it was pre glandular fever.
What has been your biggest achievement so far?
I played my first tournament in May 2019, The Selkirk Scottish Open and won the triple crown – gold medals in the ladies singles, ladies doubles (with Faye Plummer) and mixed doubles (with Louis Laville). Winning the triple crown in my first tournament against some very strong competition was incredible, at that point I didn’t know a lot about the world of pickleball and how competitive it is. This was also a really big achievement for me knowing how ill I had been in the months leading up to the tournament.
Your favourite player?
I have a few favourite players for different reasons. Obviously I have to say Lucy as she introduced me to the sport, is a good friend and an amazing athlete and player. Like Lucy I use a 2 handed backhand in pickleball and she has, in my opinion the best female backhand in the game. I love to watch Simone Jardim for her defensive skills – she is able to get pretty much any ball back in the court under the most intense pressure. I also love the mother daughter pairing of Leigh and Anna-Leigh Waters for their attacking, no fear style of play. I love to play this way due to my background in tennis. For male players I would say Louis Laville, my mixed doubles partner. I’m very lucky that I get to play with him as he’s an incredible athlete and player, I’ve learnt a lot from playing and training with him and he’s very patient with me!
Every tournament I’ve played has been incredible, the pickleball world is so friendly and you can really notice this in the atmosphere at tournaments. I’ve been lucky enough to play at Indian Wells in California which is pretty much paradise and at the Texas Open where the tennis player John Isner took part in a celebrity pickleball event! European tournaments are so much fun, I’ve competed in France, Germany, England, Spain and Scotland. It’s hard to pick just one as each tournament is amazing in its own way!
Dropshot Hexagon Pro – the paddle gives me great control whilst also allowing me to hit the ball with power, it’s also easy to manoeuvre so I can react quickly on my volleys.
Favourite location to play?
Indian Wells Tennis Garden – the backdrop of the mountains is beautiful and everything looks like paradise. Because the venue is used for the Indian Wells Tennis event the facilities are incredible – all the tennis courts are resurfaced into pickleball courts and then back again into tennis courts!
Why did you sign with Dropshot?
Dropshot is an up and coming, exciting brand in the pickleball world. I really like the professionalism and personal experience I receive from them. They are committed to both helping grow the sport of pickleball whilst also helping you out as a player 100%. I love the Hexagon Pro paddle, it really allows me to get the most out of my game. The quality and fit of their clothing is brilliant which is important to me as I need to feel comfortable on the court to play my best.
Top Tips for people looking to get into pickleball?
Pickleball is an accessible sport for all ages and abilities. It’s one of the most fun sports I’ve ever played. The people who play are very welcoming and you will make so many new friends! One of the biggest advantages of pickleball is that when you compete it is split into age and ability brackets giving everyone a chance to do well. To find out more information and your nearest pickleball club visit pickleballengland.org