Nov 5, 2022

Day 1 Notebook: Senior Pros Kick Off Competition

Photo Credit: Steve Taylor

What an incredibly strong start to the 2022 Margaritaville USA Pickleball National Championships, with Day 1 featuring some unbelievable action! The world-renowned Indian Wells Tennis Garden opened its doors this morning to players and spectators from all over the country, ready to enjoy and take part in the toughest competition in the sport.

Over the next eight days, nearly 2,300 athletes will descend upon Indian Wells, 80 more players than last year. Athletes range in age between 8 and 85 years old.

Day 1 featured a bevy of amateur competition, as well as Men’s Senior Pro Singles & Women’s Senior Pro Doubles. The stunning courts at Indian Wells saw nonstop action all morning and afternoon from Men’s Doubles 65+, 70+, 75+, 80+, 85+ and Women’s Singles 65+,70+,75+,80+,85+.

National Basketball Association (NBA) Hall of Famer Rick Barry and Pickleball Hall of Famer Mark “Yoda” Friedenberg teamed up to claim the Men’s Doubles 75+ gold medal. Barry, who has been turning his athletic talents to pickleball in recent years, is bringing home another medal from Nationals, after winning two medals last year in Men’s Doubles and Mixed Doubles.

The top three Senior Men’s Pro players in the world were on full display on Saturday, with No. 2 Paul Olin and No. 3 Mercia Moraria facing off in the bronze medal match. Olin captured the win 0-11, 11-5, 11-8 and Moraria taking the bronze medal home. Defending national champion and World No. 1 Mattias Johansson didn’t drop a single game on his way to the Senior Pro Men’s Singles match and yielded an average of 3 points per game. An intense battle in game two, Johansson dropped one game en route to defending his title, taking down Olin in three game for the gold.

Photo Credit: Steve Taylor

In the Senior Pro Women’s Doubles finals, defending champions Jennifer Dawson and Cammy MacGregor took on Beth Bellamy and Nathalie Bagby, currently the two top-ranked players in the world respectively. Bellamy and Bagby, both former professional tennis players, took the first two sets 11-3, 11-5. However, it was the defending champions who came out on top in the tiebreaker, winning 15-9 in the third set to claim back-to-back titles.

On Tap for Tomorrow: Sunday, November 6th

Join us tomorrow for much more intense competition, featuring Men’s Senior Pro Doubles & Women’s Senior Pro Singles. Amateur events will include Mixed Age/Skill Doubles 65+, 70+, 75+, 80+. Competition starts at 8:00 AM. You won’t want to miss it  – tune in tomorrow for all the action!!

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