Pickleball: Tennis greats to compete for $1 million prize
Tennis legends Andre Agassi, John McEnroe, Andy Roddick and Michael Chang will face off later this year in pursuit of a million dollar prize – to play pickleball.
Decorated tennis big names will compete in the inaugural Pickleball Slam, which will take place on April 2 at Hard Rock Live at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Fla., according to event organizers Horizon Sports & Experiences (HS&E).
Agassi, McEnroe, Roddick and Chang each have a storied career.
Agassi, an eight-time Grand Slam winner, retired from tennis in 2006, while McEnroe, a seven-time Grand Slam singles winner, became a well-known commentator and pundit.
Former world No. 1 Roddick is the last American to win a Grand Slam – he achieved the feat in 2003 – while Chang is the youngest man to win a major tennis tournament, having lifted the title from Roland -Garros in 1989 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 stage for America’s fastest growing sport,” he added.
Like other racquet sports, pickleball is all about getting the ball over the net and stopping your opponent from returning it.
It can be played singles or doubles, indoors or outdoors on a 20ft by 44ft court – about 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, in part due to the Covid-19 pandemic, as it provides a safe and socially distant form of exercise.
He originally found a strong following among retirement communities where he was valued for his outgoing appearance, moderate exercise, and 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.
Correction: A previous version of this article mentioned the wrong year of Michael Chang’s victory at Roland-Garros. This has now been changed.