Tennis legends Andre Agassi, John McEnroe, Andy Roddick and Michael Chang will go head-to-head later this year in pursuit of a $1 million prize: to play pickleball.
Decorated tennis greats will compete in the inaugural Pickleball Slam, which will take place April 2 at Hard Rock Live at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Florida, according to event organizers Horizon Sports & Experiences (HS&E).
Agassi, McEnroe, Roddick and Chang all have storied careers.
Agassi, an eight-time Grand Slam winner, retired from tennis in 2006, while McEnroe, a seven-time Grand Slam singles winner, has become a well-known commentator and pundit.
Former world number 1 Roddick is the last American man to win a Grand Slam (he accomplished that feat in 2003), while Chang is the youngest man to win a tennis major, after clinching the Open title in France in 1980 at the age of 17.
David Levy, co-CEO of HS&E, called the pickleball slam a “convergence of culture and sport.”
“We look forward to bringing together four of America’s most iconic tennis legends for this groundbreaking competition, which heralds a new milestone for America’s fastest-growing sport.”
As with other racket sports, pickleball is all about getting the ball over the net and preventing your opponent from hitting it back.
It can be played in singles or doubles, indoors or out on a 20-foot by 44-foot court, about the size of a badminton court, and lasts until one side reaches 11 points, with a two-point cushion.
Pickleball’s popularity has skyrocketed in North America, fueled in part by the Covid-19 pandemic, as it offers a safe and socially distanced form of exercise.
He had originally found a solid footing among retirement communities where he was loved for his gregarious looks, moderate exercise, and just plain fun.
However, between 2018 and 2021, USA Pickleball’s membership nearly doubled and the organization estimates that 4.8 million Americans now play the sport.