Scotland will hold its inaugural pickleball tournament this weekend as 140 people look forward to becoming the first national champion.
There are 10,000 registered pickleball players Scotland – of tennis coach Judy Murray, Kim Kardashian and Leonardo DiCaprio all said to belong to the fans of this increasingly popular sport.
“Pickleball is a buzzword, everyone is talking about pickleball,” said championship director Anne Smillie, explaining how the sport has evolved from its invention in the US back in the sixties.
“Pickleball is a very popular sport in America. Over 15 million people play on thousands of pickleball courts popping up all over America.”
What is pickle ball?
USA Pickleball, the sport’s governing body, describes it as a combination of tennis, badminton, and ping-pong.
It is played on a badminton-sized court with a slightly modified tennis net and the players use paddles and a plastic ball.
The tournament in Glasgow this weekend brings together competitors from all over the world.
John Rankin, from Seattle, will be playing in the Masters event.
He outlined some rules – including underarm serves only, each team must play their first shot off a bounce, and volleying is not allowed in the “kitchen”.
“The kitchen is like a two-metre deep area on either side of the net,” he told Sky News.
“And when you’re in it, you can’t hit the ball in the air.”
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Pickleball has attracted fans of all ages and abilities, and players of other similar sports.
“I tried it once and loved it and have been playing ever since,” said Lucy Elliot, who last year represented Scotland in table tennis at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, a sport she has played since 2006.
Terry Smith plays in a “hybrid” exhibition event with a seated and a standing player.
“I play tennis and I love my tennis, but the tennis court is a big area to move around in a wheelchair,” he said.
The Scottish National Pickleball Championship takes place at the Allander Leisure Center in Glasgow.
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