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Featured Picklers - Stephanie Del Rio and William Yuan

Pickleball couple improved quickly

Stephanie Del Rio volleys with her husband, William Yuan, at the Sarah Vande Berg Tennis Center’s pickleball courts.
Stephanie Del Rio volleys with her husband, William Yuan, at the Sarah Vande Berg Tennis Center’s pickleball courts.

A married couple in their 30s from Zephyhrills who have played pickleball for less than a year have wasted little time moving up through the rankings and getting around the Tampa

Bay area for tournaments.


Stephanie Del Rio, 36, and her 38-year-old husband William Yuan compete in tournaments at the 3.0-3.5 levels. They have played in leagues at the Sarah Vande


Berg Center and in tourneys, such as Boom by the Bay this past summer.


Stephanie got started first, prodded by her father, David Del Rio, who was playing at the East Pasco YMCA. She began playing in February and quickly became enamored with the sport.


“I was like, what is this game,” she recalled. “I was really curious. There were tons of snowbirds playing and I got hooked.”


Then Del Rio went to work on trying to convince her husband to join her on the court. Yuan, break dancer in Brooklyn, New York (the couple moved to Florida last fall) coming off a shoulder injury, started playing pickleball in June.


“I thought it was seemingly easy, but it wasn’t,” Yuan said. “As I got better at it I learned there was a lot of strategy and communication.”


“It’s easy to learn but hard to master,” Del Rio added. “I could get it over the net but there’s a lot more to the game.”


Photo by Steve Lee

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