It was an exciting and hectic second day in Naples, FL with the main talking points being the Pro Series event finals. In an incredible contest of siblings, Hunter Johnson was victorious over his twin brother Yates in the men’s pro event and Paul Olin defeated NPL founder Rick Witsken in the senior pro tournament (we covered Rick’s participation in the recent draft combine in another of our articles).
In the women’s pro category, Parris Todd continued her recent run of success by beating Judit Castillo Gargallo. Jennifer Dawson triumphed over Leslie Bernard to win the women’s senior pro section.
We’ve seen the weather play its part and the gusts of wind have been affecting some of the more delicate shots.
Hunter Johnson made a bold move from professional tennis to pro pickleball at the peak of his tennis career, making him one of the earliest to do so. Hunter has fought his way to the top and now stands at number three in the men’s single’s ranking. He was also selected in the 2023 MLP draft to join the Michelob Ultras Atlanta Bouncers team.
Parris had faced her doubles partner, Simone Jardim, in her semi-final. Even though Parris was victorious, the crowd gave Simone a standing ovation.
Parris Todd had a phenomenal 2022 achieving several podium positions in singles and doubles. She was also drafted by team BLQK, one of the 12 Major League Pickleball teams. and ended up winning 2 of the 3 MLP events. Parris ended up as the top-ranked player and won tournament MVP in the final event of the year.
Two newcomers made deep runs, especially Judit Castillo Gargallo who beat Salome Devidze to go to the gold medal match but lost to Todd.
As an interesting aside, Andrea Koop put on a charity game with her sister and the Kawamoto sisters which you can see here.
Sam Querrey got two wins in singles and became the first player to make it to the quarter-finals in US Open tennis and pickleball. He posted a statement about it on his Instagram feed.
The 2023 Minto US Open Pickleball Championships are being held at East Naples Community Park. The tournament runs through Sunday, April 22, and will feature 3,000 competitors, with representatives from every state of the US plus 29 other countries. The top 200 professionals will compete for a US Open record prize of $125,000.
Event co-founder Terri Graham says “The US Open isn’t just another pickleball tournament. It’s an immersive pickleball experience as the energy, spirit of community, pure joy and fun are unlike any other pickleball event.”
It is free to watch the US Open Pickleball Championship with only the matches held on the Zing Zang Championship Court being chargeable. If any tickets are available for these matches, they will be available onsite.
You can park all day for only $5 with all proceeds going to the Kiwanis Club’s “Christmas in July” program which helps students from Collier County. A complimentary shuttle bus operates from the parking lot to the tournament venue located at 3500 Thomasson Drive, Naples, 34112.
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