Let’s revisit Nationals 2014… Why? Because there is so much to learn and share from those 7 days of top level pickleball play. I asked Daniel Moore, gold medal winner of Men’s Open Singles at the 2014 USAPA Nationals, if he would share his open singles experience. I hope you enjoy hearing from Daniel! More Nationals insights to follow….
By Daniel Moore
I came into my first nationals unsure of what to expect. I had played a decent amount of pickleball since I started about a year ago, but it was mostly with my dad. How was I going to stack up against the top players in the world?
It helped that coming into the final day of the tournament, I had already played 3 events, 19+ doubles, 19+ singles and open doubles. In doubles, I played with my dad and although we didn’t do terrible (5th in open), we thought we could have done better. In singles, I had already won one, playing close matches with Kyle and Wes. I knew that the final day was going to be tougher.
I tried not to let winning the age singles get into my head for the open singles. You are only as good as your next match. The other thing I told myself before the tournament was that no matter what my opponent’s score was, I still just had to get to 11 to win the match. Keeping that in mind allowed me to stay calm, even in situations where the score might not have been in my favor.
Playing at that level, none of the matches were easy. I had to stay completely focused because a single slip can lead to losing several points. But I tried to stick to the fundamentals, keeping every ball deep and just getting the side out when my opponent was serving.
It might sound cliché, but of all the matches I played, I will remember the final against Wes the best. Not only were we having incredible points and moving each other from side to side, a part of me felt like we were making history. I would be able to talk about this much later as a contribution I made when pickleball was still in its infancy. Wes played a great match, and although the outcome didn’t turn out in his favor, I hope rivalries like that develop into something for the history books. Being a part of such a genuinely nice group of athletes and being able to win the biggest tournament has been a real honor and a great life experience.
To learn more about Daniel check out the “Replies” below, he share about his background…