Tucked in the beautiful mountains of Brigham City, Utah, Pickleball’s Tournament of Champions 2016 is in the books with yet another weekend of the highest level of pickleball to be found. Prize money of $46,000 was up for grabs to top finishers in the events of Doubles, Mixed Doubles and Singles.
Following my finals I nestled in to a front row seat to watch the Men’s Doubles Masters Final (Masters are age 18 – 49 years old). It was great and boy did they have long, long dink rallies… I did video some points of the finals – see the below video to watch the action.
Also, I asked winners Wesley Gabrielsen and Kyle Yates to share a bit of insight into their day of doubles together at the Tournament of Champions – here is what they had to say:
It was definitely an honor and a pleasure teaming up with Kyle for that event. Our whole motivation that day was to finish first but in order to do that we knew we had to stay mentally and physically tough all day. Given the new ball and the longevity of the points we were going to play, we adopted the philosophy of dinking till we dropped.
The weeks prior I knew both of us had prepared to dink many many many balls. I needed to rally and by maintaining the philosophy of being a backboard and all of our matches we were able to wait for the right opportunity to attack when it was there. This was especially the case when we knew we were going to play Tyler and Callan Dawson (in the finals)
All day Wes and I felt very confident in our matches. We knew we would be tough to beat with the pure 2 ball as he and I are both good at returning shots and playing defense. I have played with Wes a few times now, and have won a National title with him, so we were very comfortable with each other.
He was always positive and encouraging, even after we got down in some matches (0-5 to Klein/Gertler, 0-3 to Wright/Strecker). We were even down 8-10 to Rozpedski/Evans and pulled off the win. As for the final, Wes and I have both have been on the big stage before several times. Wes has won the men’s open at nationals and we both played in the US Open final. We were pumped and focused and I think we played some of the best pickleball we could play. It was so much fun playing and winning with him.
Great Focus and Patience Wes and Kyle!