This year players of all skill levels will get to enjoy new avenues for intense competition and fun in the form of tours. The first series leading the way is the Pro Pickleball Association (PPA) with their Mesa Grand Slam Qualifier at the Mesa Tennis Center in Arizona.
Starting today, the tournament will run through Sunday the 16th and host events for doubles and singles across gender, age and skill brackets.
The PPA is not USAPA-sanctioned, which will allow players to get a fresh start by accruing 'PPA Points' to determine their ranking within the association's system. The points will accumulate throughout the year based on players' performances within each tournament and allow them to gain priority registration to the higher-paying grand slams. To see a breakdown of how these points are earned, click here.
The PPA Tour is taking its events seriously and drawing plenty of pro participation, as its name implies. Top players who will be competing include Ben Johns, Simone Jardim, Kyle Yates and Leigh Waters, among many others. Alongside the amateur brackets will be pro-only events that are sure to keep audiences on the edge of their seats.
Another unique draw for the pros and those watching them is the Pro Player's Cup, where hand-selected teams consisting of 2 men, 2 women and a senior of each gender will engage in a double elimination tournament. These events will be played on the Friday of each grand slam tournament (Masters, Showcase and PPA Championship) to add even more excitement to the competition!
The PPA has made the effort to showcase itself as a family-friendly environment where picklers will not only be playing hard but making the most of their downtime with top court venues, entertainment, dining options and opportunities for interaction with the pros.
The impressive prize purses have been drawing deserved attention as well, with each qualifier offering $55k pools and the grand slams ranging from $100-150k. Players can also take part in raffles, games and other smaller (but no less enjoyable) ways to win. PickleballCentral is currently providing a pop-up store at the Mesa Qualifier as one of PPA's sponsors, so if you're taking part be sure to drop by and give us a wave!
If you weren't able to make it to AZ but are still interested in getting in on all the fun, the next few PPA events are still accepting registrations. They are as follows:
Georgia Open at Life Time, March 26-29
Dallas Grand Slam Qualifier, April 2-5
The Masters Grand Slam (Phoenix), May 13-17
For a full list of upcoming events on the PPA Tour, visit their site here. Follow the latest happenings at the Mesa Qualifier at PPA's Facebook page and check out some of the amazing pro matches while you're at it.
Will you be making a stop at any of the PPA Tour's locations? If so, we hope to see you there! Let us know what you're most excited about in the comments.