Inaugural pickleball tournament coming to Zionsville


Zionsville will host Indiana’s only professional pickleball tournament and offer free pickleball clinics from June 3-6.

Rick Witsken, a local pickleball pro and the top-ranked professional senior pickleball player in the world, has, along with his wife, Bridget, lobbied to bring a pickleball tournament to the Indianapolis for several years. Witsken has secured the Indianapolis Pickleball Open, an Association of Pickleball Professionals tournament, which he said expects more than 600 participants.

“My wife, Bridget Witsken, and I have been partners with the APP tour, which is one of two pickleball tours in the country,” Witsken said. “We partnered with APP Tour CEO (and creative founder) Ken Herrmann to bring the tour to the state of Indiana. This is the only stop on tour in Indiana. That was our goal. I wanted to bring it to the amazing community of Zionsville.

“I’ve been going around playing (pickleball) professionally and running camps and clinics all over the country, and I thought, ‘Boy, how neat would it be to have a stop in Zionsville, Ind.’”

And because of the Witskens’ efforts, Hoosiers can watch professionals play for the first time in Indiana at 4400 S. 875 E. Tickets are $10.

A free clinic will also be offered from 2 to 4 p.m. June 3 for Zionsville pickleball players ages 10 to 17 at the high school tennis complex. From 4 to 6 p.m. that day, Witsken, professional pickleball player Zane Navratil and other coaches, will conduct an open clinic for advanced players.

Witsken said the tournament is an extension of the growing interest in the sport. He said pickleball has become the fastest-growing sport in the nation in the last five years because of its accessibility and the relative ease most people — young or old — can pick up the sport.

“I do think the quarantine was a big facilitator of the growth of the sport because so many people in their cul-de-sac or in their driveways or apartment complexes pulled out a net and paddles and started playing,” Witsken said.

Witsken said he hopes the tournament will be a catalyst for the sport’s growth in the area. He said he also wants to establish dedicated pickleball courts in Zionsville. All the town’s pickleball courts are tennis courts with added pickleball lines.

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