The APP Punta Gorda 2023 Tour

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The APP tour opened its season for 2023 at PicklePlex in Punta Gorda, Florida, with the APP Sunmed Punta Gorda Open at PicklePlex. At the tournament were many new faces amongst the pro brackets, including Next Gen stars Ryler DeHeart and Alix Truong, as well as veteran players Parris Todd, Simone Jardim, and Hunter Johnson – including Ryler DeHeart, who recently earned his pro card through Next Gen tournaments like Punta Gorda Open!

1. Simone Jardim

There was once speculation about whether or not the American Professional Polo League (APPL) would survive, but since Simone Jardim announced her return as league commissioner after retiring last year, it appears the league is here to stay. Born in Brazil, Jardim rose through college tennis ranks to top NCAA doubles play before transitioning into coaching, where she currently leads Michigan State women’s tennis to two Big Ten regular season titles under her helm.

She lives on a farm with her husband and their two children, where they frequently entertain local wildlife. The family enjoys country music – particularly that of Bentley – which they attend concerts of, as well as playing pickleball with his band members, so much so that they plan to open a pickleball venue on their property.

3. Parris Todd

Parris Todd made history at the APP Sunmed Punta Gorda Open on Sunday by becoming the first-ever woman to sweep all three titles – Women’s Pro Singles, Doubles, and Mixed Doubles. Over 700 competitors competed at PicklePlex in Punta Gorda. Florida.

Todd completely dominated the women’s side of the draw, remaining undefeated and winning all her matches to take gold in women’s pro singles – defeating Megan Fudge 11-5, 11-6 for gold and Ewa Radzikowska hard fought for bronze but ultimately fell victim to Megan Fudge in two straight games of women’s pro singles final 11-5, 11-6 to win it.

Todd teamed with Simone Jardim to win women’s doubles at APP. Together, they defeated #4 seeds Megan Fudge and Alix Truong 8-11, 8-11, 15-8 in a winner-take-all game in the loser’s bracket final 8-11, 8-11, 15-8 in an exciting winner-take-all contest in loser’s bracket final of loser bracket final of loser’s bracket tournament of PPA Championships this weekend. If they succeed again, seeing if MLP teams compare against them will be fascinating!

4. Hunter Johnson

Hunter Johnson captured the inaugural Men’s Pro Singles title of 2023 this weekend at a tournament held in Punta Gorda, Florida. As the top seed, Johnson effortlessly defeated Richmond-based pro #11 Jhonnatan Medina Alvarez 11-3 and 11-2 for victory in his winner’s bracket final match.

Parris Todd took home her third APP gold, defeating two-time defending champion Megan Fudge 11-7, 13-11 in the final of her singles event. Ewa Radzikowska once again demonstrated her ability in women’s singles play and will return against Johnson next week for bronze medal honors.

Milan Rane and CJ Klinger have had an eventful day, playing matches that went all three games to reach the semifinals in both doubles draws. So far, they’ve defeated Barr/Nunnery, Fudge/DeHeart (17-15!), Whitwell/Lica, and Dow/Scarpa before facing off with top seeds Johnson brothers in one semifinal where both will likely earn at least bronze medals today; that would mark a fantastic achievement from a team ranked 15 only a few weeks ago; Sam Querrey/Christa Gecheva lost in back draw to Moo Venkatesan/Jena Klett pairing.

5. Kyle Yates

Men’s Doubles on the 2023 APP Tour offers some exciting competition. The Johnson twins have hit several tournament podiums individually but have yet to take home a doubles medal; that could change as they play together more frequently as part of their transition into full-time professional pickleball play. At Milwaukee Mashers, they played an intense semi-final match against Daescu and Yates that eventually resulted in a tiebreaker game!

Yates and Daescu easily won their match against Richmond, Virginia’s #11 Jhonnatan Medina Alvarez, and Kyle Yates of Richmond, Virginia in the final. While neither twin, Johnson, had their best performance during this last, but were ultimately unable to reach the gold medal match against Yates and Daescu, who were top seeds in each bracket final matchup.

6. Andrei Daescu

“Andrei the Giant,” an experienced 6’4 former tennis pro from Romania, recently signed with Major League Pickleball’s Milwaukee Mashers team. Now playing professionally on the Association of Pickleball Professionals tour and participating in 16 events this year.

At the Mesa Open, Daescu and Pesa Teoni won Men’s Doubles as #1 seeds while teaming with Susannah Barr to claim Mixed Doubles gold as winners of both brackets – beating Todd Johnson & Rane Long in both cases in the winner’s bracket final to earn gold medals and earn a place on Daescu & Teoni’s trophy shelf.

On Championship Sunday, they defeated Hunter and Yates Johnson in an exhilarating 3-game tiebreaker to capture gold and take back-to-back men’s doubles titles on the APP tour. The next stop will be San Diego, where they hope to keep up their winning streak!