Pickleball: Tennis greats to compete for $1 million prize
The decorated tennis greats are to contest the Inaugural Pickleball Slam, which will take place on April 2 at the Hard Rock Live at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Florida, according to event organizers Horizon Sports & Experiences (HS&E).
Agassi, McEnroe, Roddick and Chang each boast storied careers.
Eight time grand slam winner Agassi retired from tennis in 2006, while McEnroe, who is a seven-time grand slam singles winner, has become a well-known commentator and pundit.
Former world no.1 Roddick is the last American man to win a grand slam – he achieved that feat in 2003 – while Chang is the youngest man to win a tennis major, after bagging the 1980 French Open title at the age of 17.
David Levy, co-CEO of HS&E called the pickleball slam a “convergence of culture and sport.”
“We look forward to bringing together four of America’s most iconic tennis legends for this groundbreaking competition, which heralds a new milestone for the fastest growing sport in America,” he added.
Like with other racket sports, pickleball involves getting the ball over the net and preventing your opponent from hitting it back.
It can be played in singles or doubles, inside or outside on a 20-foot by 44-foot court – approximately the size of a badminton court – and lasts until one side reaches 11 points, with a two-point cushion.
Pickleball’s popularity has skyrocketed in North America, partly driven by the Covid-19 pandemic as it offers a safe, socially distanced form of exercise.
It had originally found a solid base among retirement communities where it was beloved for its sociable aspect, moderate exercise, and for simply being fun.
Between 2018 and 2021, however, USA Pickleball membership nearly doubled and the organization estimates that 4.8 million Americans now play the sport.