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Pickleball – This is the popular American sport that also inspires Agassi and Graf

Pickleball – This is the popular American sport that also inspires Agassi and Graf

Former tennis stars and married couple Steffi Graf and Andre Agassi do it, as do millions of Americans – they play pickleball, which is still little known in this country, with great enthusiasm. Two people from Newmarket want to create a mix of tennis, badminton and table tennis in the area.

The origins of the popular sport in the United States date back to 1965, when Joel Pritchard and Bill Pell quickly invented the original form of the game during a private match. Since then, the sport of bribery has long been popular abroad and enjoys a growing fan base. Since last year, Newmarket residents Moritz Mumler (29) and Rene Zeltner (27) have also been part of this group. They first came into contact with pickleball while on a trip together in Indianapolis — and were instantly hooked.

Taken into your hands

However, back home the duo discovered that there was hardly any pickleball available in this country. “So we came up with the idea of ​​simply creating something ourselves,” Zeltner says. “We thought about whether we could do the whole thing with a proper association and funding structure,” adds his partner Moritz Mumler. “But that took too long for us. We just said: ‘We will do it.’” “.

Watch in the video: A popular sport in the United States in the Upper Palatinate – a visit to the first pickleball facility in Newmarket

The two independent young entrepreneurs have put their words into action. They have set up their own brand Piba Sports, under which the duo want to introduce pickleball at their own sports facility from June 1. Both also plan to launch Newmarket's first pickleball club in the foreseeable future. The active duo already have three professional pickleball courts built on a site at Dreiangelweg 2a in Neumarkt, owned by the Mümmler family.

Invested in professional places

“We took on financial responsibility for the central area of ​​a reasonable small car for seats,” reveals Memler. The courts, which have the same dimensions as badminton courts, were built by Rebound Ace from Lappere near Regensburg. The company has been building tennis courts for decades – including for ATP tournaments or for Boris Becker and Martina Hingis for private use.

There are now three brand-new professional pickleball courts in Newmarket, while the rest of the outdoor area, surrounded by a chain-link fence, exudes a timeless, temporary charm. This will change little by little, the duo assures, but there is one thing that is particularly important to them at the moment – the possibility of playing pickleball.

Air shots are not allowed in the “kitchen”.

Two big differences between the sport and tennis immediately become apparent: In pickleball, the serve can only be executed under the hip. There is also a color-coded area at the net on both sides of the court, called the “kitchen,” in which it is forbidden to play the ball, that is, to play it directly from the air. Points are played in each set to 11 points as in table tennis, but only the server can score points. In addition to singles, there are doubles and mixed doubles in pickleball.

Mümmler and Zeltner have been on a busy promotional tour in Newmarket and the surrounding area for weeks. The duo have already introduced their sport at dozens of local schools and let students try it out and are busy promoting it. Instagram or YouTube for Pickleball.

The German Pickleball Association is growing

According to Andreas Kopkau, president of the German Pickleball Association founded in Gelsenkirchen in 2017, Neumarkt residents are following a national trend. “In the last six months, a flood of new pickleball clubs have been added. “In just the last five months, 40 new clubs have been founded,” says Kopkau. In all, there are currently about 108 clubs in Germany offering pickleball – and the trend continues In height.

René Zeltner and Moritz Mumler are happy about this development and want to make an active contribution to it in the Upper Palatinate so that more people become passionate about pickleball – just as Steffi Graf and Andre Agassi already do.