The world of pickleball is expanding at such a rapid rate that mere mortals are barely able to keep pace with our amazing sport. In Essen, Germany at the TVN tennis center, the Bainbridge Cup was contested for the third time in pickleball history. The first two cups featured team North America vs. Team Europe. North America prevail both times in Madrid, Spain and Monte Silvano, Italy.
Now, with the expansion of the IFP (International Federation of Pickleball), the competition was renamed to Team World vs. Team Europe. The Asian countries and India joined North America to make up team World to compete against the European countries. Twenty-two countries competed in total for both teams. About 400 matches were scheduled and 366 were played. The final result was 193-173, with Team World prevailing once again. With only a five percent difference in totals, the competition could not have been much closer.
The Cup organizers included Pat Murphey, president of the IFP; Ron Ponder from Oklahoma, Director of the Cup and Ford Roberson, German Open Tournament Director. Germany as host country provided leadership from Andreas Kopkau, the German Pickleball Federation President. Andreas did an amazing job with the facility and hosting this special event. The Cup will once again be contested next year in the London area of the UK sometime in the summer. Final dates and location should be forthcoming.
After the Cup competition completed on Friday, July 12, the German Open began on Saturday and Sunday. Men’s and Women’s doubles were played first and then mixed doubles concluded the weekend’s events on Sunday. Using the European model for the tournament, players play two matches for seeding purposes in the morning and then bracket play begins around lunch time each day. This format allows all players four matches each day to help maximize play for players that have traveled extensive distances and spent significant funds.
Using the pickleball tournaments software to manage this format allows for a seamless effort that provides complete historical records. With about 150 matches played each morning and about 250 each afternoon, a daily total of about 400 were played. Including the Cup, around 1150 matches were completed during the three days of competition. The German Open included 320 players from 22 countries. This comprised the largest tournament ever held outside the United States represented by the most countries to compete in a world-wide pickleball tournament.
The German Open management team included mother/daughter, Lucy Kitcher and Rebecca Kitcher; Ron Ponder; Marina, a German school secretary; three German students, 15 and 16 in age; Andreas Kopkau, co-tournament director. This special group was trained and coordinated by the German Open Tournament Director, Ford Roberson. Ford was responsible for the registration, bracketing and all tournament operations including players meetings and medal award presentations. Ford said, “After being responsible for the Italian Open last year, the German Open operations were streamlined and improved to provide better tournament management services for both players and spectators”.
Bainbridge Cup and English Open 2020
As the international pickleball community continues to explode into 2020, you need to prepare for an experience that could change your pickleball life. For Americans, the language, English, will not be a barrier as with most European competitions. Begin to plan now to attend the fourth version of the Bainbridge Cup to be held next summer in the London area, along with the English Open Pickleball Tournament. The final date should be announced in the next few weeks on Facebook and other media sources. All players have been included in the cup competition at all skill levels and age groups. A 3.0 player’s match win counts the same as a 5.0 player’s match win. Plan now to come to London in 2020 and be a part of pickleball history.