Calling all pickleball fans: the mid-Atlantic’s first professional pickleball tournament—the “N2grate DC Open”—kicks off today, October 20. It will run through Sunday, October 23 at the Junior Tennis Champions Center (5200 Campus Dr., College Park).
Competition events, which draw players from along the East Coast, include women’s and men’s pro singles, pro doubles, senior pro singles, and senior pro doubles. There are also games for mixed skills and age groups. Gaithersburg native Ben Johns, a men’s national pickleball champion, is slated to compete. He is currently ranked number one for both men’s singles and doubles, according to the Professional Pickleball Association. Callie Smith, the top ranked player in women’s doubles, and Anna Leigh Walters, the top women’s singles player, will also appear.
The racket sport has soared in popularity. It has grown by 40 percent over the past two years, and there are now over 4.8 million players in the US. While the relatively easy and low-impact sport has been a hit with seniors, it’s also gained traction among younger demographics.
Tickets, which start at $25, are available here.