The courts were packed and the music was pumping when 750 of the world’s best pickleball players arrived at JTCC with paddles in hand to participate in the n2grate DC Open.
More than 1,000 fervent fans attended the four-day tournament held October 20-23 broadcast on CBS Sports Network and produced by the Tennis Channel. The n2grate DC Open is an official event of the Professional Pickleball Association Tour (PPA) which began in 2019. It is the first PPA tournament held at JTCC and in the DMV area.
Champions were crowned in five divisions of professional play, including Men’s and Women’s Singles and Doubles, and Mixed Doubles. Participants also competed in amateur divisions that were segmented by age and rankings.
Anna Leigh Waters, the women’s world #1, captured the Singles title by dropping just 9 points in her two games.
Twenty-three-year-old Ben Johns, who is a 2022 University of Maryland graduate, is the world #1 professional player. With the local crowd behind him, he put on a show winning the coveted “Triple Crown” by taking home titles in Singles, Doubles, and Mixed Doubles.
“It was really cool and a little surreal to play so close to my university,” Ben remarked. “It was pretty special to have a hometown crowd, family, and friends from school all supporting me. There was no better way to capitalize on all that than by winning the triple crown!”
Ben’s brother Collin, who trained at JTCC from 2009 to 2011, also emerged victorious, capturing the Men’s Doubles crown with his brother as his partner.
Preparations for the tournament began three days before the event with workers resurfacing three courts and taping lines for six additional playing areas resulting in 24 courts to be used in the amateur and professional competition.
Pershing Square Stadium Court was also transformed to feature a video board, VIP seating, DJ and announcer, with several TV cameras to capture the exciting action.