Aanik Lohani


Hometown: Edina, MN
Current Residence: Golden Valley, MN
Career highlights: Ranked #15 in the PPA
Ranked #20 worldwide
2nd in singles – Las Vegas 2023
5th in Doubles – Chicago 2023

Aanik Lohani shoveled snow and scraped ice off the court to play his first pickleball game, using a paddle he picked up for a few dollars at Target.

Within a year, he would go pro.

Within two, he would rank among the sport’s top players.

As a naturally gifted athlete, Aanik competed in top-tier amateur tennis throughout his teen years—building to a pro career until injury sidelined those ambitions.

“I had surgery to remove bone tumors from my right shoulder, so I knew how to play through pain. But by the end I was taping myself together to take the court.

“Pulling back from tennis wasn’t so much a decision as a realization.”

Aanik credits his parents with helping him overcome disappointment without defeat.

“Making it through the bone tumor, persevering through injuries to be a high-level competitive athlete. I wanted it. I worked for it. But I couldn’t have it.

“My parents came to the United States, leaving behind everyone and everything they knew, to go to college. They charted a new course for themselves—and built a strong foundation for my sister and me to succeed.

“They taught me how to give up without giving up.”

Aanik graduated from Edina High School and went on to earn a BS from the Carlson School of Management at the University of Minnesota.

But what he thought done in life turns out was only deferred.

Within months of picking up that paddle, Aanik played in his first pickleball tournament, quickly topping the singles field to become one of the top amateur players in the United States.

Turning pro in 2022, Aanik rose the ranks by defeating well-established players—breaking into the top singles bracket his debut year.

Following a handful of pro tournaments this year, Aanik fulfilled his ambition of becoming an elite competitive athlete by ranking among the Top 25 pickleball players worldwide—his standing today.

Among his new goals: Becoming an ambassador for the game.

“Pickleball is low-impact, so people of all ages can play. Cost isn’t a barrier because the equipment is inexpensive and free courts are accessible in most places. And it brings people together in an active way, both physically and socially.

“Everyone deals with something in life; understanding that is how we connect. This sport is made for everyone, is truly accessible to everyone. I want to share that, celebrate that, the connections made by paddles hitting a plastic ball over a net.”