The first-ever LI Tennis Magazine Hamptons Pickleball Open took place at Tennis & Pickleball at The Barn in Westhampton as dozens of pickleball teams headed out east to compete in this one-of-a-kind event.
The event was split into two different divisions, with the Mixed Doubles 3.5 competitors playing in the morning, while the Men’s Doubles 5.0+ pro division gathered in the afternoon to battle it out.
The Mixed Doubles winners and finalists earned themselves new pickleball paddles courtesy of adidas, and the Men’s Doubles players competed for the $2,000 purse that was up for grabs.
Throughout the day, the six professional pickleball courts at "The Barn" were filled with high-level pickleball action, and off the court players and spectators were able to enjoy the complimentary waters and bananas, as well as the catered breakfast platters and pizza provided. In the afternoon, the open bar became the place to be with beers and margaritas available to help convert the tournament into an event.
"We have been running events for multiple racquet sports for over a decade all around the Metropolitan area, and we just recently entered into the pickleball world, and were thrilled to team up with Barry Altman and Tennis & Pickleball at The Barn," said David Sickmen, Owner of Long Island Tennis Magazine. "When we run events, we like to make sure that in addition to the competitiveness on-court, players and fans can enjoy the fun atmosphere off court. Tournament Director David Radisch did a great job making the event run smoothly, and the catered breakfast, lunch and open bar kept everyone well-fed and well-"hydrated". The best part is the pickleball world is filled with great people who were a pleasure to get to know. This was a real team effort all around!"
The tournament was played in a round-robin format with the top teams advancing to the quarterfinals. In the Mixed Doubles division final, the sister-brother combination of Courtney & Kevin Kowalsky defeated C.J. Shank & Linda Vonderlieth to earn the title. Lisa Schindler & Ken Savelli won the third-place match to earn the Bronze Medal.
“I think our chemistry played a massive role in our win today,” said Kevin Kowalsky. “Obviously we’ve always had that, and we’ve strengthened it over time. We also were able to exploit our opponent’s weaknesses pretty well.”
“We’re so happy to get the win. This tournament was such a fun day, and it was run really well. Everything went smoothly, there was great competition. We only have good things to say.”
The top three finishers in the Mixed Doubles Division. From left to right: Linda Vonderleith & C.J. Shank; Kevin and Courtney Kowalsky; Lisa Schindler & Ken Savelli.
In the afternoon, the pros took the court as $2,000 in prize money, courtesy of Hampton Estates Realty, who sponsored the pro division, was on the line. When the dust settled, the duo of Enrique Carter & Juan Arraya defeated Sam Kim & Allen Fitzsimmons to win the Gold Medal.
Frank Sciacca & Thomas Finale defeated Mike Kazin & Robert Giovi to earn the Bronze Medal.
“There were some good teams out there today. You can see even the newer teams have been practicing a lot and have gotten better, which is great to see,” said Carter. “The event was very well-run. I was just telling Barry [Altman] that the facility looks great inside and out. The courts are great…I love this place.”
The key to success for Arraya & Carter?
“We were setting each other up really well, and worked incredibly well together,” said Arraya. “We definitely made a few mistakes at times, but we got back to our strategy and ended up having a great result.”
The inaugural Hamptons Pickleball Open was a success as there were sold-out draws for both divisions, and players and spectators both left the event wanting to know when the next one would be. A special thanks goes out to the event’s sponsors, including host site Tennis & Pickleball at The Barn, adidas and Hampton Estates Realty, without whom the event would not be possible.
“The event was a wonderful way to showcase our brand new facility and to display a high level of competitive pickleball,” said Barry Altman, Owner of Tennis & Pickleball at The Barn. “We hope to house many additional events throughout this coming season. The enthusiasm that was shared by all led to another full house over the balance of this past weekend.”
Be sure to check LITennisMag.com and our social media pages for information on future events!
Men's Doubles Division Silver Medal Winners: Allen Fitzsimmons & Sam Kim
Men's Doubles Division Bronze Medal Winners: Frank Sciacca & Thomas Finale