Rachel Stuhlmann, The World’s No. 1 Tennis Influencer, Sits Down With OutKick (via DMs) To Talk Pickleball, Life & Her Super Bowl Pick

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Will we get a Rachel Stuhlmann-Paige Spiranac meeting of the superpowers moment this weekend in Phoenix like Randy ‘Macho Man’ Savage and Hulk Hogan gave us on a Saturday night in 1987? Will there be a handshake that creates a mega-influencing superpower unlike anything the Instagram era has ever seen?

Stuhlmann, the world’s No. 1 ranked tennis influencer, as named by the OutKick Culture Department is on the ground in Phoenix as Spiranac, the world’s No. 1 ranked golf influencer, who is in the desert working as a correspondent for Inside Edition.

“Nothing (is) planned,” Stuhlmann told OutKick during an exclusive Wednesday sit-down interview via Instagram direct messages.

Yet (my emphasis).

The World’s No. 1 Tennis Influencer rests up in Phoenix before her huge Super Bowl party and Waste Management Open weekend gets cranking. / Instagram Story

The world of sports, pop culture, bro culture, Instagram model culture, money, fame, and pageviews have descended upon Phoenix and you can practically feel the energy popping off the screen through Stuhlmann’s DMs.

“I will be going to waste management on Saturday. I’m so excited, never been and always wanted to go,” the former University of Missouri tennis player and St. Louis native says of her weekend plans which also include “Super Bowl activities.”

In other words, this is a content-creating mega-trip for Stuhlmann who’ll be in the belly of the beast as one of the fastest-rising stars in the sports-influencing world. Now with an Instagram following totally nearly 275k, Rachel is an industry player.

“It has been an unreal 6 months,” she says of this whirlwind career-defining stretch. “I think the ‘it’s all coming together’ moment for me was when I saw the original Outkick article that said I’m the World’s No. 1 Tennis Influencer.

“I’ve been busting my butt and doing so much and worn a lot of hats in this industry and it was pretty awesome to be acknowledged for all of it,” she added.

“Since that article, my life has been a whirlwind. I’ve grown my brand significantly, I’ve gotten many more amazing opportunities, I’ve launched my store. I’m working on so many amazing projects including my own subscription site. I’m very excited with where I’m going and feel like the sky is the limit.”

This weekend she’s going to the Waste Management Open at TPC Scottsdale where it’ll pretty much be the Coachella of Instagram models and sports-industry influencers who are in town for the Super Bowl.

“As for Waste Management, I can’t wait to enjoy some golf and have some fun. To be honest the (tennis) U.S. Open is my Waste Management 😂 I’m excited to see how it compares,” Rachel said while staying true to her tennis roots.

Why should we care about pickleball?

Since I had Rachel in the mood to chat, I had to bring up the pickleball craze. It feels like we’re being beaten over the head with pickleball by the same big brains that pushed crypto, NFTs, digital art and every other fad for the last 5-10 years.

The world’s No. 1 tennis influencer says pickleball is more than just a trend. She calls it a lifestyle.

“It’s amazing how many people have picked it up,” the influencer notes. “I love how it’s a way for people to get out of the house and stay active and have fun. It’s so accessible and generally easy for people to pick up. I’ve spent some time with the Professional Pickleball Association community and it’s filled with happy, passionate, and fun people. The tour has such a positive vibe and I love how happy pickleball makes people.”

Those are strong words from a tennis influencer. But won’t this be bad news for tennis with the influx of these small courts and people who just want to stand at the net and tap a Wiffle ball back and forth at each other?

Stuhlumann says pickleball has actually been a positive for tennis. Older players on the verge of seeing their careers ending are now migrating to the small courts.

“A handful of tennis pros are jumping into Pickleball and excelling. The games are so similar and the skillsets of a tennis player directly transfer over to the Pickleball court and it’s somewhat easy to find a rhythm. I love it. I’m all for it!” the influencing superpower typed eloquently into an IG DM.

Will we see Rachel Stuhlmann the pickleball player?

“I’ve had so many people tell me that I should play pro pickleball and when I was on-site at the Desert Ridge Open the other day, I low-key thought about it and considered and weighed out my current life schedule with a part-time professional Pickleball training schedule,” she said. “Unfortunately, it turns out it does not seem feasible for me with my daily busy schedule, but it was a fun thought in the moment😂. But you never know!

Guys, that’s not a 100% “no.” That door is not closed. Money talks, pickleball team owners.

St. Louis native Rachel Stuhlmann picks the Super Bowl

And just to prove how well-rounded Stuhlmann is within the sports world, how about throwing out a Super Bowl question to see how quick she is on her feet. Need your Super Bowl winner, Rachel.

Without missing a beat, the world’s No. 1 hammers out three paragraphs.

“I love both teams but have to say I’m going with the Chiefs. I think since the Rams left, most St. Louisans have adopted the Chiefs as our team since it’s Missouri,” Stuhlmann admits.

“I’m still super sad about the Rams leaving. (It’s) hard to get over for me😂. Every Super Bowl I always think about the Greatest Show on Turf and the 2000 Super Bowl. I was so little but remember my family having a party and a Rams piñata and we were all so happy and excited about the win. Great memory.

“But yes (being from Missouri) I would say I’ve gradually claimed the Chiefs as my fav team over the past few years. Coach Andy Hill (Chiefs assistant special teams coach) was at Mizzou when I was, and we’ve stayed in touch o I’m super excited for him and the team.”

Written by Joe Kinsey

Joe Kinsey is the Senior Director of Content of OutKick and the editor of the Morning Screencaps column that examines a variety of stories taking place in real America.

Kinsey is also the founder of OutKick’s Thursday Night Mowing League, America’s largest virtual mowing league.

Kinsey graduated from University of Toledo.

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