With eight days to go, the final countdown to the 1st US Open Pickleball Championships at East Naples Community Park has begun. The nets, lines and fencing work continue and are scheduled to be completed this week. The ceremony for the grand opening of the renewed venue takes place Friday April 22nd.
A few comments on the tournament discussed in earlier blogs:
1. The new Wilson “Neon Flare” ball had some teething problems and has been replaced by the Dura Fast 40 for the US Open.
2. It is excellent to see court divider fencing being installed on all the new courts. This is a plus for the players and spectators.
3. Seasoned Pickleball champions are going to have their hands full with a new contingency of quick, powerful, smart and innovative younger players. Is a Pickleball youth uprising at hand? Hopefully the new younger players will replicate the classiness, sharing, laughter and friendship of the older players.
4. This tournament is a major test to see if East Naples Community Park can become a landmark Pickleball venue.
Ten plus +1 things we’d like to see at the US Open Championships:
1. Great play. Plenty of ‘wow' moments for the audience and players.
2. Excellent sportsmanship. No "head case" temper tantrums during the competition.
3. Oodles of captivated visitors watching various skill- and age-level Pickleball play,
4. Humidity under 65 percent. It is going to be hot.
5. Many player 'thank yous' for the refs after games. Same for the volunteers from everyone.
6. A substantial variety of colorful vendors offering everything from paddles to t-shirts to food.
7. A chance to talk Pickleball with those new to the game, veteran players and visitors.
8. Hearing different languages "talking Pickleball".
9. Dazzling performances by the participants at the Zing Zang Challenge.
10. Fewest number of injuries possible.
+1. FUN for everyone in keeping with the special, unpretentious “Spirit of Pickleball.”