Tennis fans expressed disappointment at the news that tennis legends Steffi Graf and Maria Sharapova will be taking part in the upcoming Pickleball Slam 2 event.
Last year’s inaugural Pickleball Slam featuring tennis greats Andre Agassi, John McEnroe, Andy Roddick, and Michael Chang, was met with much fanfare. The novelty event is now set to return with what has proved to be a slightly controversial line-up.
Agassi and McEnroe will be making their comeback at the second edition and, this time, will be joined by fellow tennis icons Graf and Sharapova. Agassi and Graf will team up against McEnroe and Sharapova for the event’s $1 million top prize.
The rising popularity of pickleball, particularly in the United States, has been a source of concern among tennis fans over its potential negative impact on the sport of tennis. The recent announcement of the Pickleball Slam 2 line-up involving Graf and Sharapova has only exacerbated fans’ discontent.
One Disappointed Fan
One disappointed fan lamented the news of tennis legends like Maria Sharapova and Steffi Graf joining the pickleball event, seeing it as a loss for the sport of tennis.
The fan tweeted: “We lost the two greatest women of our sport to pickleball.”
we lost the two greatest woman of our sport to pickleball https://t.co/hQBfeDDZM1— 🌱🇩🇪🇦🇺🇳🇿 (@nnakalinskaya) July 18, 2023
Another fan expressed particular disappointment at Graf’s involvement, given the 22-time Grand Slam champion’s absence from the professional tennis scene for over two decades now.
“Steffi not getting involved in the tennis world in any capacity for the past 20 years but doing this,” the fan commented.
steffi not getting involved in the tennis world in any capacity for the past 20 years but doing this 🚶 https://t.co/fWW8MYafyK— Sam (@sogsupreme) July 18, 2023
A Wild Card Entry
One user even urged Sharapova to request a wild card entry into a WTA tournament instead of competing in the high-profile pickleball event.
“Maria pick up the racket and request a main draw WC instead of Pickleball,” the user posted.
Maria pick up the racket and request a main draw WC instead of Pickleball https://t.co/8joFjkOyvv— Simon 🚅🚅 #Praying2Heaven (@thetraintruther) July 18, 2023
Pickleball Slam 2
Pickleball Slam 2 will take place at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino on Sunday, February 4, 2024, where the tennis legends will battle for an impressive $1 million prize. Regardless of the die-hard tennis fans who will never touch a pickleball paddle, the inaugural Pickleball Slam was a success and round two will likely be even bigger and better!
Keith Sheldon, President of Entertainment for Hard Rock International and Seminole Gaming said, “We are incredibly excited to partner with Horizon Sports & Entertainment and InsideOut Sports again for the return of the Pickleball Slam to Hard Rock Live at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Florida.
“The inaugural event last April was a resounding success, with Hard Rock’s desire to be entertainment first-movers paying massive dividends. This time around, we’ll build on our initial success with John McEnroe and Andre Agassi, by also adding Steffi Graf and Maria Sharapova to the lineup – arguably two of the best players of all time in racquet sports.
“To have all this in The Guitar Hotel live in primetime on ESPN; it’s going to be a special evening of pickleball.”
Amateur Slam Challenge
The weekend will also feature the Amateur Slam Challenge on Friday, February 2nd and Saturday, February 3rd. The amateur tournament will include doubles teams competing for a cash prize and the chance to play against the tennis legends.
For more information and to register for the Slam Amateur Challenge, visit the Pickleball Slam website. Also, our extensive coverage of the Pickleball Slams will tell you everything you need to know about the high-profile events.
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