Parris Todd shone brightly at the APP’s largest-ever tournament, winning her second career triple crown with three gold medals in front of her hometown crowd at the 2023 APP Newport Beach Open.
Todd, in her homecoming to Newport Beach, became the first woman in APP history to win multiple triple crowns. Her wins in women’s pro singles, women’s pro doubles and mixed doubles pushed her 2023 gold medal count to 12 - leading all APP pros this season.
Hunter Johnson, Todd’s mixed doubles partner, took home two golds, Andrei Daescu and Pesa Teoni claimed their third men’s pro doubles title together, and Simone Jardim added another women’s pro doubles gold to her outstanding 2023 season in Newport Beach - where more than 1,400 players competed in the APP’s historic tournament.
“It’s been amazing to be back here in Newport Beach. I grew up playing tennis here, and to be back here winning the triple crown and being part of an amazing sport is so incredible. It takes a lot of hard work. Seeing the pickleball community evolving and helping people’s lives is so cool, and I’m so grateful to be part of it.”
Todd battled Megan Fudge in the women’s pro singles final to open the Championship Sunday action. Todd took game one easily, 11-2, before Fudge responded with an 11-8 win in game two. Todd took control of game three and held on for an 11-5 victory, securing her first singles gold medal since the APP Daytona Beach Open. Dominique Schaefer battled hard to earn bronze, her first APP medal of 2023.
For the second consecutive tournament, the men’s pro singles final featured a player advancing to Championship Sunday all the way from the qualifying rounds - as Hunter Johnson took center court against 17-year-old Quang Duong. Duong, from nearby Manhattan Beach, California, battled hard in a tightly-contested game one, but Johnson came out on top, 12-10. Johnson then cruised in game two, 11-4, to claim his fifth gold medal of 2023. Yates Johnson took home bronze on Thursday, his ninth medal of 2023.
“I’m pumped to be back in the winner’s circle,” Johnson said after his first gold medal since the APP Mesa Open. “It’s sweet to savor this moment. Championship Sunday always elevates your focus, you have to dig down and enjoy those pressure moments. Big congratulations to Quang – he battled all the way through the qualifiers, and it’s so cool to see new faces in the finals.”
The action continued with the mixed pro doubles gold medal match, pitting Todd and Johnson against Andre Mick and Allison Harris, who also fought their way from the qualifying rounds. The upstart duo of Mick and Harris came out firing, taking game one, 11-6. Todd and Johnson dug deep following the break and responded with an 11-3 win, then kept the momentum going with an 11-5 win in game three, clinching each of their second golds of the afternoon.
The win marked the second mixed pro doubles title of 2023 for Todd and Johnson - their first together since the season-opening APP Sunmed Punta Gorda Open. Fudge and Rob Nunnery teamed up to earn mixed doubles bronze on Friday.
“We’ve had a couple of tough losses in the finals, so it’s great to get another title,” commented Johnson. “When we both play our game, we feel like we should win – we did that today, and all week in Newport Beach. Playing with Parris is great – hopefully we continue this run.”
“Andre [Mick] and Allison [Harris] played an incredible match and an incredible tournament,” added Todd. “Hats off to them – they were just ripping the ball.”
Daescu, the six-time defending men’s pro doubles champion, paired up with Teoni to face off against APP Next Gen National Team members Richard Livornese Jr. and Spencer Lanier, each making their first Championship Sunday appearance of 2023. The challengers made it competitive early, but the experienced duo of Daescu and Teoni took care of business, winning 11-4 and 11-5 for the gold. Daescu has won all seven men’s pro doubles golds in 2023 and his 10 total golds lead all APP men’s pros. Teoni is 3-for-3 winning gold alongside Daescu this year. Nunnery and Austin Gridley took home bronze medals after a valiant effort on Saturday - marking Gridley’s first APP pro medal of 2023.
“Playing together with Pesa for a while now has helped us develop our games more and more,” said Daescu. “We know each other’s movements and we’re synchronizing really well. Richard [Livornese] and Spencer [Lanier] played a great tournament – they took down some great teams and we knew we’d have our hands full. We stuck to our gameplan and did a great job out there.”
“It means a lot to bring home another gold with Andrei,” Teoni added. “I appreciate being able to play with the best in the game. Thank you to all the fans and to the APP for putting on an amazing tournament.”
Todd concluded her triple crown run alongside Jardim in the women’s pro doubles gold medal match, taking on Genie Erokhina and Rianna Valdes, who were making their first Championship Sunday appearance of 2023. A back-and-forth opening frame eventually went to Todd and Jardim, 13-11. From there, the APP’s most successful women’s doubles duo continued their unprecedented run, taking game two 11-5 to clinch their seventh-consecutive golds together. Fudge and Susannah Barr won bronze medals in a deep women’s doubles field on Saturday.
“We had to make a little comeback in the first game, but we were able to get the win,” said Jardim. “We pride ourselves on trust, and I don’t get nervous playing with Parris. I’m glad we could get it done.”
In APP Champions Tour (50+) action at the 2023 APP Newport Beach Open, Mattias Johansson earned men’s singles gold, Jennifer Dawson and Lily Kordic won women’s doubles gold, Kristopher Heddings and David Furman teamed up for men’s doubles gold, and Dayne Gingrich and Stacy Zelenski brought home mixed doubles gold.
In APP Masters Tour (60+) competition, Tracy Worley Hagen and Paul Davis earned mixed doubles gold, and Stephen Cole and Kevin Booth won men’s doubles gold.
The APP returns to action August 9-13 for the APP Sunmed St. Louis Open.