"It had been more than a decade since Michigan State women’s tennis coach Simone Jardim picked up a racket and actually competed on a high level. Her “glory days” as she called them, date back to 2001-02, when she became a two-time All-American doubles player at Fresno State.
Jardim stepped back on the court again on Sunday, but it wasn’t a tennis court. And, she traded her racket for a paddle.
With her 11-4, 11-5 win over Lucia Kovalova, she became the first women’s pro champion at the inaugural U.S. Open Pickleball Championship at East Naples Community Park. Packed with title
matches for different divisions and age groups, Sunday capped off the six-day event.
Jardim started playing the growing sport just over a year ago and quickly found out what the fuss was about.
“I got that pickleball bug,” she said. “It’s hard to not play anymore.”"
Read More: Pickleball's big week in Naples ends