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Pickleball pros and amateurs kick off the Punta Gorda Open

More than 1,000 pickleball players open five-day tournament in Punta Gorda.
Pickleball Punta Gorda Open
Posted at 11:29 AM, Jan 17, 2024
and last updated 2024-01-17 16:21:21-05

PUNTA GORDA, Fla. — It’s Pickleball paradise in Punta Gorda for the next five days.

Wednesday marked the opening day of the Association of Pickleball Players Punta Gorda Open, the first stop of a nationwide tour, at the PicklePlex off Airport Rd.

Around 1,200 amateur and pro pickleball players of all ages and skill sets will play at the 24 courts at the PicklePlex.

“The wave of pickleball is here. It’s not coming. It’s here,” said Byron Freso, Director of Officials for the APP.

Freso caught the pickleball bug early, more than a decade ago.

“From day one I was hooked. The social aspect of it. The fact that it’s an easy spot to learn. But we find out, down the road, it’s a hard sport to master,” Freso said.

Thursday marks the beginning of the first-ever Humana Cup, a competition featuring pickleball pros, ages 50 and up, competing in a multi-event competition for their share of a $100,000 purse.

Tickets for the 2024 APP Punta Gorda Open and the Humana Cup are available at the gate for $15 for adults.

Kids 12 and under can get in free with a parent or guardian.