June 29

Does Riley Newman Beat the Johns now?


Riley Newman dropped Matt Wright, and everyone is talking about it. A lot of people are trying to guess who it will be, and the top guesses are AJ Koller, Julian Arnold, Dekel Bar, and Tyler Loong. Other than the fact that Julian and Riley are already signed up together for PPA Seattle, let's try to make a guess to see who he would pick as a long-term partner.

The first question is whether he wants to play with a right or left-sided player, considering Riley has one of the top two-handed backhands and is dominant on either side. So, Julian Arnold or Dekel Bar would be a good fit because they can form very tough teams to attack. Both players are very aggressive with their forehands, and Riley can squeeze the middle with his backhand. With Julian, though, there could be lots of ups and downs in terms of consistency. However, if Julian is playing well, he and Riley could be a force to be reckoned with. But you have to consider that Riley dropped Matt to beat the Johns since Matt and Riley medaled at every single event they played together. Can Julian keep up with the consistency in a side-out scoring game against the Johns boys? If it were a rally scoring game, I would definitely say it is more likely for Riley and Julian to beat Ben and Collin more often. However, side-out scoring makes it tough to beat a team that makes you play every ball and forces you to make mistakes.

What is interesting, though, is that AJ Koller and Riley have beaten the Johns before in 2021 in Vegas. They also made a PPA final in Red Rock in 2022, losing to the Johns and taking them to 5 games. Yet again, Riley and AJ were partners for MLP this first season, and they did well but underperformed by their standards.

If I were to make a guess, I would say Julian is going to play most of the tournaments with Riley. However, it would be cool to see Tyler and Riley play together since Tyler is a lefty, and they could add tons of pressure with his serves and Riley's incredible hands. But I don't think Tyler got the call-up, as I don't think they are the fondest of each other, but that seems like a repeating story with players and Riley.

What I am most excited about now is the Riley and Matt matchup. We saw a glimpse of it at MLP, where Matt beat Riley in men's and mixed, and it was a fiery match. We need that matchup more often.


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