during the 2018 Margaritaville USA Pickleball National Championship at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden on Wednesday Nov. 7, 2018.
Many of pickleball’s finest players have the luxury of playing with family members regardless of age. Such is the case with Jenifer Dawson, one of the sport’s top doubles players. She first picked up a paddle about a year after her husband and two sons ventured out on to a court. “I thought it would be fun to have the whole family play a sport together and in 2015, we all were on the court together.”
The fun turned into a competitive outlet for the Carlsbad resident. With a degree in business administration from the University of San Diego where after receiving a full tennis scholarship, played on the Toreros tennis team for four straight years. Like so many other elite tennis players she found the transition to pickleball seamless. “Pickleball is easier on the body, it’s fun, social and anyone can start playing it relatively quickly and can improve quickly as well,” said Dawson. “I see myself playing pickleball for as long as I’m able to keep physically playing.”
Dawson was a Triple Crown winner at the 2017 US Open wining gold in Senior Pro Singles, Doubles and Mixed Doubles. She followed that up with gold in Women’s 35 Doubles at the 2017 USAPA National Championships to go along with a silver medal in Senior Pro Women’s Doubles and Senior Pro Women’s Singles. Earlier this year, she captured gold in Senior Pro Women’s Doubles and Women’s 50 Doubles at the US Open. “While I still coach and play tennis, I think pickleball is on the rise in popularity and at some point could become a college sport,” added Dawson.
And, her family tree of participating pickleball players has expanded as well. “We actually got my parents playing the sport after about 15 years of not playing any sports at all due to injuries. They’re in their mid-70’s and it’s great to see them having fun playing this great sport.”