NAPLES, Florida (WKBN) -Sharon native Jackie Bradshaw, 24, will be competing in Florida next week alongside nearly 3,000 athletes at the 2022 Minto US Open Pickleball Championships, the biggest pickleball tournament in the world.
Watch the video above to hear from Bradshaw and see her in action.
The tournament is held yearly at East Naples Community Park in Naples, Florida. The park is the largest permanent pickleball facility in the world with 64 courts. The event is expected to bring in roughly 25,000 spectators, according to the US Open’s website, and has a $100,000 prize purse.
“I’m so excited to be able to compete in such an event,” Bradshaw said. “But obviously have the nerves, when you think about the size of the event or just the name alone”
Bradshaw played tennis at Bethany College in Kansas. She suffered numerous shoulder injuries during college that ultimately ended her playing career. So, she decided to give pickleball a try a little less than two years ago.
“It’s way easier on my joints than any of the sports I’ve ever played,” Bradshaw said. “A lot of underhand movements, except for obviously an overhead smash. But it really is more of a game of control and patience, which is something I greatly appreciate and somehow excel at.”
Bradshaw practices for two to three hours everyday to prepare for the US Open. She also does a couple hours of cardio daily.
At the US Open, Bradshaw will be competing in the 19-and-up age group and at a 3.0/3.5 level — the highest level an amateur can play at before going pro.
She will take part in three events: women’s singles, women’s doubles and the mixed couples event.
“For singles. I want to finish top half of the women’s bracket,” Bradshaw added. “Women’s doubles, I want to medal and then in mixed doubles, I really want to walk away with a gold medal.”
The 2022 Minto US Open Pickleball Championships take place April 23-30th.