Alumnus Evgeniy Kim ranked nationally in pickleball

Apr 04, 2024
Evgeniy Kim plays pickleball with a teammate

For Newman University alumnus Evgeniy Kim ‘15, ‘17, pickleball is kind of a big dill.

As a student, Kim played on the Newman tennis team while earning his Bachelor of Science degree. He was introduced to pickleball in 2015 but didn’t begin playing consistently until Chicken N Pickle opened in Wichita a few years later.

“I was hesitant to switch to pickleball at first,” Kim explained. “A lot of people view it as a watered-down sport for senior citizens, but at the highest level, pickleball is a lot harder than people think.”

Many of Kim’s tennis skills can translate to the sport, but from his own experience, pickleball requires faster hands and instincts than tennis.​​ It is considered the fastest-growing sport in the world and the game is constantly evolving.

Evgeniy Kim
Evgeniy Kim

Kim began his professional pickleball career in 2023 and is committed to playing 12 tournaments for the 2024 season. He is currently ranked 94 in singles and 110 in doubles on the Professional Pickeball Association (PPA). He’s even had the chance to play pickleball alongside professional tennis players Jack Sock, Sam Querrey and Genie Bouchard.

“It’s really cool to see these tennis players that I’ve admired and watched on TV now play alongside me on the PPA tour,” Kim said.

During his first tournament of the year in Phoenix, Kim competed against and defeated the No. 16 player in the world. Most recently, he competed at the Veolia Austin Open on March 18 in Texas, where he made his debut on and Amazon Prime.

“I’m blessed to be sponsored by Lunar Pickleball, Luqi Grips and a local construction company, who provide my equipment and pay for traveling and tournament fees,” Kim said. “I’m so thankful the sponsors believe in me and are willing to invest in me.”

Kim and teammate in front of an inflatable pickleball at the PPA Tour.
Kim and teammate in front of an inflatable pickleball at the PPA Tour.

Kim said Wichita is one of the best places for pickleball because of its community, indoor and outdoor pickleball facilities and the fact that it is home to several touring professionals.

“I encourage everyone to try pickleball at least once,” he said. “All you need is a paddle, a ball and a friend.”

Another local treasure trove

Kim said he “wholeheartedly recommends Newman University to future generations of students” — and not just because of its proximity to local pickleball opportunities.

“Newman felt like my second home and it was easy to be involved in many different areas,” Kim said. “Newman’s smaller campus allows you to easily build lasting friendships and connections with your peers and teachers.”

Kim continues to apply the knowledge and skills he built as a Newman student to his everyday life — particularly when it comes to his wife, fellow Newman graduate Anna Le, their two daughters, as well as in his job at Koch Industries.

Kim, his wife and two daughters outside a pickleball court.
Kim, his wife and two daughters outside a pickleball court.

“Newman greatly improved my time management skills, allowing me to effectively balance academic, extracurricular and personal commitments,” he said. “My involvement in student and campus life helped me develop leadership qualities such as teamwork, accountability and diversity. These skills have proven invaluable in my post-graduate endeavors.”

I wholeheartedly recommend Newman University to future generations of students.

Evgeniy Kim

Maintaining a healthy work/life balance is critical for overall well-being, and Kim advises students and graduates to be selective with their extracurricular activities.

“For me, playing pickleball has taught me to be adaptable, keep a positive mindset and be patient. This ability to exercise patience translates to everyday life, such as waiting for and attacking opportunities that arise,” Kim said.

Kim is excited to continue pursuing pickleball adventures for years to come.

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