Today was the final day of competition for the 2021 Margaritaville USA Pickleball National Championships presented by Pickleball Central, which saw 2,342 players, 3,944 matches, 87 USA Pickleball certified referees, and 172 brackets which makes it the largest pickleball tournament in history of the sport. On top of the players thousands of pickleball enthusiasts descended to the Indian Wells Tennis Garden to watch all of the thrilling on court action. Let’s take a look at the top 10 moments of this year’s event:
FAN FEST KICKOFF WITH PICKLEBALL CENTRAL
Nationals kicked-off with Pickleball Central’s Fan Fest which featured product clinics, demonstrations, tips, prize giveaways, DJ, food and even a comedy show with the always-entertaining player & broadcaster Dave Fleming! The activities were led by a group of Pro players including Scott Moore, Christine Barksdale, Morgan Evans, and Scott Fliegelman.
YOUTH FOR HISTORY
Pickleball’s 14-year-old phenom Anna Leigh Waters picked up another impressive double victory on Championship Sunday taking Gold in the Pro Women’s Doubles and Pro Women’s Singles divisions making her the youngest player in history to win at Nationals. Anna Leigh also won a Bronze medal in Pro Mixed Doubles to top off the week.
NBA & PGA WIN GOLD
NBA Hall of Famer Rick Barry earned Gold in Men’s Age/Skill Doubles Senior 4.0: 65+ and PGA professional / Tiger Woods’ Coach, Hank Haney, won Gold in Men’s Skill/Age Doubles Senior 3.5 60+.
Pictured: Rick Barry on right
Pickleball Pro Dayne Gingrich won his first Gold medal at Nationals in Senior Pro Men’s Doubles with Dave Weinbach then later claimed the Senior Pro Mixed Doubles title with Jennifer Dawson. Not only did he win his first Gold medal at Nationals but two this tournament.
Anna Leigh Waters and Leigh Waters took a straight-set victory to become back-to-back Gold medalists in the Pro Women’s Doubles division. This power mother-daughter duo shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon and will surely be back looking for the three-peat in 2022.
Championship Sunday kicked off with the Margaritaville Pro Men’s Singles Face Off featuring Tyson McGuffin and JW Johnson. As part of this exhibition Franklin Sports donated $5,000 worth of pickleball products including $2,500 to the winner of the match, Tyson McGuffin’s charity of choice and $2,500 to a local Coachella Valley charity.
TWICE THE GLORY
Tyson McGuffin took home Gold in Pro Men’s Doubles and Pro Men’s Singles which is his 3rd Pro Singles Gold medal at Nationals. On the women’s side, Anna Leigh Waters finished with double Gold as well in Pro Women’s Doubles and Pro Women’s Singles which means she will finish the year as the No. 1 ranked singles player.
TERRIFIC TRIPLE CROWN
World’s first-ever Triple Crown champion Jennifer Dawson dominated the court this year at Nationals securing her second Triple Crown by winning Senior Pro Women’s Singles, Senior Pro Women’s Doubles with Cammy MacGregor, and Senior Pro Mixed Doubles with Dayne Gingrich.
CELEBRATING OUR MILITARY
In honor of Military Appreciation Day at 2:00pm on Friday, December 10th, all 49 courts stopped play to honor all those who serve as 16-year-old Palm Springs High School Junior, Anjolie Manjarrez sang the National Anthem and a C-47 from the Palm Springs Air Museum flew over the Indian Wells Tennis Garden – making history for the first-ever flyover at Nationals.
Six-months pregnant Lindsey Newman and brother Riley Newman won the Pro Mixed Doubles Gold medal which was their first title at the National Championships. Riley Newman later won Pro Men’s Doubles with partner Tyson McGuffin.