14 - 18 Mar 2023
The 2023 Asia Pickleball Open brings down the curtains to yet another exciting tournament after 5 days of intense competition.
A song written in 1986 by James Harris, and sung by Janet Jackson appropriately describes this pickleball tournament: "Funny how time flies (when you're having fun) ".
Psychological science suggests this might be true, and I would suggest more so when you have a specific goal-motivated fun such as playing pickleball with a group of people who are passionate about the sport. Five competition days flew by faster than Tyson McGuffin's canon ball serve.
Thanyapura Health and Sports Resort - Phuket provides the perfect setting for such an event. With 15 pickleball courts, of which the centre court is set up for live streaming of matches to beam around the world.
Thanyapura is a true slice of paradise. Lush green surroundings, enticing restaurants, swimming pool are just a few steps away from guest rooms after a hot day on the courts. It has to be one of the premier pickleball destinations in Asia.
Every division was keenly contested by 359 participants from 19 countries. Given the competitive nature of pickleball, it was such a joy to see teams and partnerships formed by players from different countries. This highlighted the bond and friendship forged by players which go beyond country boundaries.
Commentators throughout the tournament constantly highlighted the continuous improvement in Asian pickleball standards in the past few years, especially the quickness of hands in resetting after every shot....no more cowboy-style shootout where paddles were lowered (back into the pouch) after each shot. Players are more open-minded in their approach to the game...changing/evolving their game plan to avoid losing the same way over and over.
With close to 400 players converging in one locality over 5 days, all with a single purpose: to play pickleball. Pickleball is a great way for people of different backgrounds and cultures to join in and play a game they love. It brings people together and teaches valuable lessons such as respect, teamwork, selflessness, and perseverance. These are symbols of life, and these are synthetic - you either create them, or you don't. Like pickleball, it's habit-forming.
As picklers, our players have demonstrated the virtue of fair play in this tournament. All the players abide by the rules of the competition. It is also a commitment to contest in a good spirit and encourages a good attitude towards pickleball that includes modesty, inclusiveness, generosity, and friendship.
In conclusion, thanks must be extended to the many hard-working people behind the scenes. Endless hours (unpaid) of planning were required to put this successful tournament for the benefit of the players.
A big thank you to organizer:- Jimmy Tan (Asia Federation of Pickleball CEO), Jan Papi (Pickleball Global), Michelle Chang (AFP Marketing Director), administration staff, live streaming crew, match officiating team, resort management team, cleaning staff, commentators, the court set-up volunteers, and to our ever-friendly and gracious Thai hosts, Thai Pickleball Association: - Khun Pae (Chairman) and Aun (Secretary).
See you at our next AFP event....time never ends, let's find the time to get together once again.
Video credit to Thanyapura Health and Sports Resort - Phuket.
Editor: John Ng
Photo credits: Jolene Tan