In our previous article, "BPC & IU Pickleball: The Journey Towards Building a Championship Team“ we had the pleasure of introducing you to the dynamic world of Pickleball through two exclusive interviews from the Bloomington Pickleball Club (BPC). The interviews feature Carter Wittendorf, a nationally-ranked player, and Timber Tucker, the chair of the competition and training committee at BPC. They delve into the team's journey to the National Championship, the balance between academics and sports, team dynamics, and the future of Pickleball at IU.
Today, we continue the conversation with our third interview featuring the accomplished Mehvish Safdar - A 27-year-old Pakistani-American, Mehvish hails from Cincinnati, Ohio, but now calls Bloomington, Indiana home.
With an impressive background in tennis, she has smoothly transitioned into the sport of pickleball. As a former 3x Ohio state tennis champion (2x singles, 1x doubles), a top 20 nationally ranked junior tennis player, a 5-star college tennis recruit, and a nationally ranked college doubles player on a nationally ranked college team, Mehvish has always been a fierce competitor. She played DI tennis for the University of Minnesota, demonstrating her commitment and skill on the court.
We hope these interviews provide you with a deeper understanding of the sport and the dedication, hard work, and camaraderie that goes into building a successful team.
Can you tell us more about your background and athletic accomplishments in tennis and pickleball?
My name is Mehvish Safdar – I am a 27-year-old Pakistani-American female, from Cincinnati, Ohio but currently residing in Bloomington, Indiana, and I am a tennis player turned pickleball player! I was a former 3x Ohio state tennis champion (2x singles, 1x doubles), top 20 nationally ranked junior tennis player, 5-star college tennis recruit, and a nationally ranked college doubles player on a nationally ranked college team, having played DI tennis for the University of Minnesota. I am now a 5.0+ pickleball player and a member of the Indiana University Pickleball Club Team which recently won the DUPR Michigan collegiate regional tournament! I am also currently a Ph.D. student at Indiana University aspiring to be a sport psychologist, dedicated to helping athletes improve their athletic performance and overall well-being through providing mental health and mental performance services.
How was the transition from tennis to pickleball?
I think my competitive tennis background helped me become a “good” pickleball player quickly, but I soon realized that a competitive tennis background is not enough to be a “great” pickleball player. I am unlearning certain tennis tendencies that actually hurt my pickleball game, while learning the unique technical and tactical skills required for pickleball, in hopes of going from being a good player to a great player. I think the mental skills I developed from playing competitive tennis, which are also necessary in competitive pickleball, have helped me most with my transition from competitive tennis to competitive pickleball!
How has your experience on the IU Pickleball Club Team been?
Being on the IU Pickleball Club Team has been such a fulfilling experience thus far, which can be largely attributed to the strong team chemistry, the exciting team format, and the honor that comes with representing the university. We not only have great players and a great coach on our team, but great people, who make it an enjoyable time on and off the court. Also, getting to practice and play mixed doubles, gender doubles, and singles creates an unbeatable practice and competition experience. Lastly, I am grateful to represent another Big Ten school that has provided me with opportunities for personal and professional growth.
What does the future hold for you in pickleball?
I foresee a lot of pickleball in my future! I plan to continue to play on the IU Pickleball Club Team, along with playing PPA and APP events. I am looking forward to our IU Pickleball Club Team playing at the collegiate national championships in Atlanta, Georgia November 17-19th, as well as at the APP collegiate championships in Westfield, Indiana January 4-7.
Additionally, I plan to continue to play in 5.0+ and/or the pro division at PPA and APP events hosted around the country. While I intend on playing women’s doubles, mixed doubles, and singles at these events, I am most excited to play women’s doubles. My older sister, who is also a former Division I tennis player turned pickleball player, and I plan to continue to team up for these events. I am enthusiastic and dedicated to continuing to develop my game!
The team will play in the DUPR Collegiate National Championship in Peachtree Corners, Georgia from Nov. 17-19.