A record number of athletes came to Community Park in East Naples for the largest Pickleball event, The 2022 Minto US Open. Nearly 3,000 players will compete in more than 5,000 matches for the US Open pickleball crown.
According to the Minto US Open pickleball website, the athletes are competing for a record $100,000 dollar grand prize. For added pressure, there are expected to be 25,000 spectators.
Pickleball has rapidly become one of the fastest-growing sports in the US. We were told that over 2,800 players from 49 states and 30 countries will compete. The players range from 8 to 87 years old.
“Brazil, Singapore, we have a great group from Australia, even a wheelchair player that flew all the way here from Australia,” said Chis Evon, co-founder of the Minto US Open Pickleball Championships. “That’s really exciting this year, we didn’t get that last year because a lot of the international travel was down.”
“When you walk through this property, it truly feels like the united nations of energy so we have really brought together the entire world to this incredible destination for a week,” Paul Beirnes, the executive director for the collier county visitors bureau told us.
With 64 courts, the largest pickleball facility in the world is at Community Park in East Naples. The 2022 Minto US Open is expected to increase tourism to the area and perhaps help define Naples as a pickleball town.
Sarah Burr came all the way from Australia to play in the tournament.”This is beyond our expectations and never seen anything of this scale in Pickleball,” Sarah said. “We are just blown away by it, the people, the atmosphere, the facility, it’s amazing,”