In just one week we will be flying to Naples to participate in the 2nd US Open Pickleball Championships. I am looking forward to this for so many reasons.
Reason #1 of course, is to be able to experience the excitement of this event, where there are 1,200 other pickleball players! Claire and I will partner in two events; women’s doubles-age, and women’s doubles-age/skill 4.0. Both will be challenging brackets which will include some highly skilled players. We only hope that in the age only bracket, we don’t face a 5.0 team in our first match! But if we do, so be it! It’s not often we get the opportunity to play a team at that level, so we will just give it our best and learn from the experience.
In mixed doubles, I am more than excited to reunite and play once again with my pickleball “husband,” the world famous, Leonardo Gonzales. Leo and I met in 2014 when I dropped in for open play with the Oxfordshire Pickleball Club in Kidlington, England. A few months later I asked him if he’d like to partner in the Madrid tournament, and we won a gold medal together! We have since played in Amsterdam, Las Vegas, Michigan and Toledo, Ohio and have a couple more medals to show for it. Leo and I will play in two events at the Open; mixed doubles-age and mixed doubles-age/skill 4.0. I’m a bit older than Leo, so I’ll be playing down to his age group. Wish me luck and stamina!
Claire will also play in the two mixed events with John Conley, a friend from Palm Springs.
Reason #2 for being excited for this trip is to see family! My niece and her husband and their daughter moved to Naples in February. I am so excited to see them and to play with my great niece, PJ! You know I will post pictures!!
In addition, Claire has family nearby so we will get to see them as well. Her dad even said he is coming over to watch us play!
And, I can’t forget our Bonita Bay friends who we just met at the end of 2016, when we stayed there for a month. It will be good to reconnect with our BB Pickleball Club friends, many who will be playing in the tournament, others just there to watch and take in the experience of pickleball on such a grand stage.
Reason #3, and one I am especially excited about is to reconnect with many members of my British and European pickleball “family!” Traveling to play pickleball in the UK and Europe has been rewarding in so many ways, and everyone I have met has contributed to that reward. I am so excited and looking forward to seeing them the Open! I foresee a whole lot of of hugs, and a BBQ by the pool in our future!
I have a few friends from home who will be in Naples at that time and have asked for details of the tournament. The tournament runs from April 23 through April 30, 2017 and is played at East Naples Community Park. There are 48 courts plus the main championship court which will be set up stadium style. They have even put up a pavilion roof over that court! There are clinics and parties and all sorts of activities in addition to the main tournament. You can find all the information you could possibly want by clicking on the US Open logo below.
I hope to have time to write a few posts to share my experiences with you throughout the week. If you are a reader whom I have never met, and you will be there, please look me up and introduce yourself.
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