I Nearly Cried During the US Open Pickleball Championship

I certainly don’t consider myself a cry-baby, but I will admit I teared up during the recent US Open Pickleball Championship.  I was standing with Daniel Moore, as they played the national anthem before the Mixed Doubles final. Daniel leaned over and said, “Can you believe this?”

US Open Pickleball


Thanks US Open Pickleball

Honestly, two years ago I would have never thought that this was my life.  It is truly incredible how far the sport of pickleball has come.  Major props go to Terri, Chris, Jim and the entire team that put on this historic event.  The US Open was unlike any other pickleball tournament that I have ever seen. The organization, the medical support team, the attention and care that was given to the players made this a truly special event.

I am so pleased that so many players traveled from out west to Naples.  And in fact, every player I spoke to was totally amazed at how well it all came together.  And everyone is planning on making the trip next year!  It’s clear that up until this event, most of the “major” tournaments required those in the east to do most of the traveling.    And a lot of east coast folks haven’t had the opportunity to see those of us from the west coast play.  But that all changed with this event. Which leads me to the fans!


Thanks US Open Pickleball Fans

What really took the event to the next level was the fans!  I met folks that travelled all the way from Vermont.  Not to play. Not to cheer on a family member or friend.  They traveled over 1000 miles to see us play.  And as a player, I can tell you there is nothing like the experience of hearing your name while you’re on center court!  As I walked around the grounds, folks stopped me and asked if they could take a selfie with me.  Some even asked for an autograph.  Of course, my answer was always, yes…but frankly I was a bit shocked.  Am I going to see that paddle I signed on eBay?

US Open Pickleball

Again, it speaks to how far this sport has come and how far we can take it.  Millions of people, who think of pickleball as that sport with the funny name, will have an opportunity to see it on TV soon. Some of the players are organizing viewing parties back in their hometowns, complete with door prizes.  (Note to self, I need to steal that idea.)  I think we are on the verge of an unprecedented growth spurt, for the game that is already perhaps the fastest growing sport in America.  And I couldn’t be happier. Because, like you I love this sport.


In closing I’d like to once again thank the organizers and volunteers that put on this historic event.  And I want to thank my partners (Christine, Daniel and Chris) and all the competitors that showed such class and dedication throughout the week.   Looking forward to seeing you next year!





9 thoughts on “I Nearly Cried During the US Open Pickleball Championship

  1. Thanks Sarah, so very well said. The Vegas family of friends and of course Geri & I, are really looking forward to your visit. And if I’m not mistaken, we will be getting together with you, Mike & Sally and others, to watch you and the other pros, on CBS Sports. It’s going to be awesome!!! 🙂

  2. Yup – you and GiGi very willingly autographed my pink paddle! Nope — you’ll never see it on eBay — cuz it’s my favorite everyday indoor paddle! I proudly hit with it this morning during recreational play back here in Texas!

  3. As a volunteer all week and a sometimes 3.5 player I was amazed at the level of Pickleball that you and the other Pros brought to my home courts! We play 5 or more days a week at ENCP but I can assure you those courts will not see your level of play again until you return in April 2017. You were amazing to watch and a great ambassador for the sport I love. Thanks!

  4. Sarah, your play was simply awesome. You are certainly a classy lady who can hurt a guy on the Pickleball court. It was a pleasure reffing a few of your matches. Although there were some issues, I feel this tournament has become the standard by which all other tournaments are measured. Next year promises to be so much better. I can’t wait to see you guys in action.

  5. I strongly agree that “we are on the verge of an unprecedented growth spurt”. Pickleball is growing in Europe. Here in Europe, some big things are happening including founding an association for pickleball in Europe. One of the biggest challenges for us here is the lack of equipment. Major tournaments are happening this year in Amsterdam, Ukraine, and Madrid.

  6. Best experience ever! Played in my first Pickleball tournament at the US Open in Naples after learning the game only 5 months before because I knew seeing the Pros would be a life changing event and has sealed my desire to play Pickleball forever! Thanks to Sarah for writing this and to whoever was kind enough to forward it!

  7. Sarah,
    I first saw you in The Villages in March and then again at the US Open in Naples. I had a lot of friends playing and thoroughly enjoyed the event. I’ll definitely see you in 2017. I follow your videos and study what you teach and am so impressed with not only your playing skills but your teaching skills as well. I’m hoping to play in the US Open this coming year and am working hard on growing the sport here in Paducah, KY. In the Winter (yep, Snowbird) I play in Naples every week and everywhere I can find a game. Looking forward to seeing you again.
    Nancy Sutton
    USAPA Ambassador

Comments are closed.