Whether you came for the pickleball or the deep-dish, you didn't leave Chicago disappointed.
Take me out to the (base)ball game: Before the action picked up on the pickleball courts, the men's pro singles gold medalist from last week's PickleballSuperstore.com APP Philadelphia Open, Yates Johnson, announced the APP's presence in Chicago with a visit to Wrigley Field. Just prior to the Cubs taking on the Milwaukee Brewers, Johnson hit the field to do a little socializing with John "Boog" Sciambi, the Cubs' TV play-by-play announcer. Johnson presented Sciambi with an official APP pickleball paddle, and voila - Cubs broadcast highlight of the night.
All in the family: JR DeHeart, age six, won the bronze medal in the 3.0 men's singles tournament and Lily DeHeart, age nine, won a bronze medal in 3.0 women's singles! After Dad, Ryler DeHeart won bronze in men's pro singles, and Mom, Megan Fudge won silver in women's pro doubles, this family made out like bandits. We'd love to see their "wanted" poster shot!
Temperature rising: The weather wasn't the only thing heating up on Saturday - the men's pro doubles games were on fire, and if you don't believe us, check out this game point from reigning champs, Andrei Daescu and Rob Nunnery...and it wasn't even the bracket final.
Welcome to the big show: The APP Tour is a place where people of all ages and pickleball skill levels can come together and accomplish amazing things. We love seeing our players reach new heights!
Work hard, play hard: APP broadcasters Chad Edwards and Dominic Catalano have a little fun between calls on ESPN+. The coordination works on so many colorful levels.
Rematch, repeat: Dominique Schaefer took home the women's pro singles title after pushing Salome Devidze to three games on Championship Sunday, in a rematch of the 2023 APP Sunmed St. Louis Open, where Schaefer won her first singles gold. "It felt great. Salome is such an amazing player and I feel like I'm going to play her so many more times. Today the conditions were tough, it was really windy and I got really lucky on a lot of my shots. It feels amazing," said Schaefer after her win. Her second title of the year is no doubt inspiring the pickleball fans in her home country of Peru!
New names, who dis: Our pro men's singles podium got a little refresh this weekend! Chris Haworth and Jaume Martinez Vich both made their first Championship Sunday appearances to battle it out for gold, with Martinez Vich battling through the back draw to take the title. And this ESPN SportsCenter Top 10 highlight? Icing on the cake. #Tweenerz
Mixing it up in mixed: There were plenty of new pairings in the mixed pro doubles tournament, which resulted in a couple of first-time APP gold medalists in Tina Pisnik and Martin Emmerich, who defeated Genie Erokhina and Spencer Lanier in another tiebreaker.
New leading ladies: Alix Truong and Vivian Glozman brought home their first women's pro doubles golds of the year by defeating Fudge and Susannah Barr, also in a game to 15. "It feels amazing. Alix was my rock, she carried me through it all. I was really tired...she was awesome. Brought the energy, brought the fire," said Glozman about Truong, whom she is traveling with on this back-to-back-to-back APP stretch.
Hometown hero: HcHenry, Illinois native, John Cincola, won men's pro doubles gold with partner Stefan Auvergne, with a huge crowd behind them, as they survived the back draw and defeated a heavily favored pair in Daescu and Nunnery. The title was the first this season for both Cincola and Auvergne. "It's amazing. This is, I think, my first doubles gold medal ever. I've gotten singles gold medals and I've gotten other doubles medals, but this is the first doubles gold, so to do it in front of family and friends and everyone I know is pretty special," said Cincola.
Thanks to our fans: we love all of you - big, small, old, young, with tails, and without - thank you for supporting the 2023 APP Chicago Open, the largest pickleball tournament ever played in Chicago with over 850 participants! We're off to New Jersey, see you there!
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