Former Fayetteville Tennis Standout Now Hones His Pickleball Prowess

Andrew Bock wasn’t expecting a lot when he and his wife Abigail took a trip to Denver last month so he could play in a premier pickleball tournament, the Rocky Mountain Championships. After all, he would be playing against the best players in the rapidly growing sport that is regarded as a combination of tennis and racquetball with a little Ping-Pong thrown in.

“I thought, ‘Maybe I’ll get a point,’” he said.

But the Fayetteville native, who is now a construction specialist in Wilmington, knows a thing or two about competition. A 2009 graduate of Terry Sanford High School, he was once the No. 1-ranked high school tennis player in the state. In fact, it was during his part-time gig teaching tennis at the Country Club of Landfall in Wilmington that he first learned about pickleball a couple years ago.

“It’s a pretty fun sport,” he said. “It’s very addicting. You get out there and play and start thinking, ‘Just one more game.’ And then you’re an hour late to dinner.”

Those tennis skills came in handy for Bock, now 30. In fact, he won three out of his five matches in the Denver tournament. He recently got the news that his finish in such a big tournament had led to an impressive result.

“You’re 62nd in the world,” his cousin, Walker Holt, called to tell him.

Bock, whose parents Martha and David Bock still live in Fayetteville, has come home to visit and found some good competition on Massey Hill Park courts. He takes his new ranking with a grain of salt for now.

“What I love about pickleball is that you can play at a high level and have a good time,” he said. “But you can play with players at a lower level and have a good time as well.

But he wouldn’t mind seeing how far his new favorite sport could take him. Who knows? If his success continues, he might be able to land a sponsor and play on more of a full-time basis.

“You see the same top 20 guys in the world traveling and playing then giving out lessons,” he said. “It’s pretty neat what they’re doing. We’re looking at the calendar now to see which tournaments would work. I just need to keep playing more.”