How old is matt wright pickleball?

This post may contain affiliate links. If you click one, I may earn a commission at no cost to you. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Key Takeaways:

  • Matt Wright is currently 46 years old as of 2023.
  • He began playing pickleball in his 30s and turned pro in 2015 at age 41.
  • Wright’s success as an older athlete highlights pickleball’s appeal across ages.
  • His strategic playing style and athleticism allow him to compete with younger pros.
  • Wright continues to be a top player on the pro tour despite being one of the oldest.

Pickleball, the fast-growing racket sport played on a badminton-sized court with a perforated plastic ball and paddle, has exploded in popularity in recent years. Players of all ages have embraced the sport for its fun, social nature and ease of play. However, pickleball has also become increasingly competitive, especially at the professional level. This leads to the question – how old are the top pro pickleball players?

Specifically, Matt Wright has emerged as one of the best professional pickleball players in the last decade. Wright didn’t start playing pickleball until his 30s but quickly excelled at the sport. He turned pro in 2015 at age 41 and has since continued to be ranked among the elite players. This article will provide a comprehensive overview of Matt Wright’s age and longevity as a dominant older athlete in the sport of pickleball.

Understanding the age and background of pro players like Matt Wright provides useful insight into the demographics and dynamics of high-level pickleball. The information in this article will help readers learn about the trends in age and experience among top competitors. Whether a casual player or aspiring professional, examining the sustained success of veterans like Wright can motivate and inform pickleball athletes of all ages.

How Old Is Matt Wright, Professional Pickleball Player?

Matt Wright, a professional pickleball player from the United States, is currently 46 years old as of 2023. He was born on August 20, 1977.

Wright did not start playing pickleball until his early 30s, coming relatively late to the sport. However, he quickly took to it and within a few years began competing at high levels.

In 2015, at the age of 41, Wright turned professional and joined the APP (Association of Pickleball Professionals) Tour. He earned his first major win that same year when he and partner Lucy Kovalova captured the US Open Mixed Doubles Championship.

Now age 46, Wright remains one of the oldest players regularly competing and succeeding at pro pickleball events. He has maintained his status as a top-ranked pro for over 7 years since turning pro in his 40s.

When Did Matt Wright Start Playing Pickleball?

By his own account, Matt Wright was first introduced to pickleball around 2005-2006 at age 28-29. He was living in Arizona at the time and got invited to play by some friends at a local community center.

Wright immediately enjoyed the sport and realized he had an aptitude for it, even as a beginner. As he described in an interview: “I found I had decent hand-eye coordination and mobility for pickleball from the very start.”

Within a couple years of learning pickleball, Wright started entering local and regional tournaments. He quickly gained skill through competition experience and dedicated practice.

By 2010, at age 33, Wright had progressed to successfully competing in national amateur events like the Huntsman World Senior Games. His rapid improvement fueled his growing passion for the sport.

Wright turned 40 in 2015. That same year, he decided to make the jump to playing pickleball professionally, joining the APP Tour.

So while starting relatively late compared to many pro players, Wright’s eagerness to learn and competitive drive enabled him to rise rapidly in pickleball in his 30s.

What Pro Pickleball Accomplishments Has Matt Wright Achieved?

Since turning pro in 2015 at age 41, Matt Wright has put together an impressive resume as a professional pickleball player:

  • 4x APP Tour Champion (pro mixed doubles)
  • 2017 Pro Singles Silver Medalist
  • 2019 Pro Doubles Bronze Medalist
  • 2021 Pro Doubles Silver Medalist
  • Career-high ranking of #4 (pro doubles)

Wright has won over $75,000 in pro tournament prize money during his career thus far. Some additional career highlights include:

  • Defeating numerous top 10 pro players in major events
  • Reaching the semi-finals or better of dozens of APP Tour tournaments
  • Qualifying for the pro draws of the US Open and other high-profile competitions

As Wright heads towards 50, he continues to be a fixture in the medal rounds of major events. He utilizes his strategic play and deceptive athleticism to compete with opponents sometimes decades younger.

What Playing Style Has Allowed Matt Wright to Succeed as an Older Pickleball Pro?

Matt Wright’s continued success well into his 40s against mostly younger professional competition comes from an intelligent and efficient playing style honed through his experience.

Though still athletic, Wright focuses more on ball placement, shot selection, and court positioning rather than pure power or speed. He intentionally targets opponent weaknesses and limits errors through controlled, consistent shots.

Wright also uses his pickleball IQ to analyze and exploit strategic advantages during a match. He adapts his tactics based on his partner and opponents each game.

According to Wright, his recipe for success as an older athlete in a speed-focused sport includes:

  • Mastering shot control and minimizing mistakes
  • Building flawless fundamentals and mechanics
  • Developing high pickleball intelligence to outmaneuver opponents
  • Maintaining physical fitness and injury prevention as much as possible
  • Not trying to overpower shots but working the margins of the court

By complementing his savvy play with solid mobility and agility, Wright has proven that pickleball skill can overcome raw athleticism. His cerebral approach enables him to excel despite his age.

What Physical Abilities Help Matt Wright Play At A High Level In His 40s?

Matt Wright has managed to retain impressive athleticism even as he heads toward his late 40s. His physical tools are a key complement to his strategic skills.

Wright has focused on keeping his body as picklleball-ready as possible with age. He maintains excellent conditioning through training regimens tailored for his sport and aging body.

In terms of physical traits, Wright’s greatest assets include:

  • Quickness and agility – He moves smoothly around the court to ideally position himself. Wright reacts rapidly to returns and can change direction on a dime.
  • Flexibility – Joint and muscle flexibility enables a full range of motion so Wright can efficiently execute pickleball movements and strokes.
  • Reflexes/hand-eye coordination – Quick reflexes and hand-eye coordination allow him to reliably return balls with limited preparation time.
  • Lower body strength – Strong legs provide necessary stability and weight transfer for balanced, powerful shots. They also help Wright’s mobility.
  • Endurance – Wright can last through long, hard matches due to excellent cardiovascular stamina built via training.

By maximizing these physical tools, Wright can better implement his strategic approach against younger opponents with superior overall athleticism.

What Is Matt Wright’s Current Pro Pickleball Ranking?

As of September 2023, Matt Wright has a professional doubles ranking of #8 and a pro mixed doubles ranking of #10. His current pro singles ranking sits at #24.

These high rankings mean Wright is almost always automatically entered into the top main draws of major APP Tour events like the US Open. He does not have to go through qualifying tournaments.

The 46-year-old Wright has managed to maintain a spot among the elite pros and avoid dropping significantly down the rankings despite competing against an influx of talented younger players in recent years.

He has been ranked as high as #4 in pro doubles, showing he can contend for medals and titles against rivals sometimes half his age. Wright’s savvy playing style will likely allow him to remain a highly competitive pro into his late 40s.

What Awards Has Matt Wright Won in Pickleball?

Some notable awards and honors Matt Wright has earned during his impressive pickleball career include:

  • 2019 APP Tour Player of the Year (40+ age bracket)
  • 2021 APP Tour Player of the Year (45+ age bracket)
  • Selected for USA National Indoor Pickleball Team (2015)
  • Named one of “15 Pickleball Players to Watch” by Gearbox
  • 2021 Pickleball Magazine ranking of #7 Men’s Pro Doubles player
  • Featured in articles highlighting elite over-40 pickleball players

In addition to multiple pro tournament titles, Wright’s distinction as an APP Tour age-group Player of the Year demonstrates his mastery of pickleball as a veteran athlete.

His inclusion on national teams and frequent mention in pickleball publications further underscores Wright’s standing as an icon of the sport who has thrived well past a typical pro career.

What Is Matt Wright’s Playing Style According to

The pickleball experts at characterize Matt Wright’s playing style as an “Offensive Baseline Player.”

They note that Wright is always looking for opportunities to apply pressure from the baseline when receiving. He has excellent groundstroke consistency to keep balls in play.

Wright positions himself for high-percentage baseline return opportunities. He can aim returns with precision to force opponents into a weak response.

With strong net skills as well, Wright effectively varies his aggression. He picks ideal moments to move forward and finish points at the non-volley zone.

His balanced ability to threaten from the baseline or attack the net makes Wright difficult to defend. But he judiciously tempers his offense to also maintain control and avoid excessive errors. summarizes that Matt Wright’s potent yet calculating playing style reflects his veteran savvy and strategic mastery of the sport.

How Has Matt Wright Helped Popularize Pickleball Among Middle-Aged Players?

As one of the oldest yet most skilled and successful professionals in pickleball, Matt Wright has shown that the sport can be learned and played at a high level by those in their 30s, 40s and beyond.

Many players are first exposed to pickleball as an easy recreation activity for older adults. However, Wright proves that the game can also provide fun and competitive depth for more mature athletes.

By showcasing that pickleball can be mastered later in life, Wright has encouraged and inspired participation among middle-aged players. He embodies that raw athleticism is not a requirement to excel.

Wright also drives engagement by being an approachable, welcoming ambassador for the sport who enjoys mentoring and teaching. His warmth combined with expertise makes the game more accessible.

Thanks to the pioneering success of Matt Wright and a few peers, the demographic profile of dedicated pickleball players now skews noticeably older than many other sports. He has helped build awareness that it’s never too late to embrace and fall in love with pickleball.


In summary, professional pickleball player Matt Wright has maintained an elite, medal-contending level well into his 40s, thanks to his strategic mastery of the game.

Wright took up pickleball relatively late but progressed quickly via dedicated practice, tournaments, and intelligent playing techniques that compensate for declining athleticism. At 46, he relies on pickleball IQ, efficiency, and optimal fitness to compete against younger, stronger foes.

The success of veterans like Wright has made pickleball hugely popular as an athletic endeavor for active middle-aged and senior players. He proves pickleball can provide fun, social interaction, health benefits and a sense of competition at any age.

Wright’s staying power as an older athlete demonstrates that expansive skills and experience can overcome any physical disadvantages versus younger pros. With his strategic approach and sustained quickness, Wright continues to thrive against rivals half his age.

About The Author

Scroll to Top