HOLLY HILL, Fla. – Professional pickleball teams from all over the country, including the Orlando Squeeze, are competing in the Major League Pickleball tournament this weekend.
“Definitely really excited to kind of get out there, compete, be loud, cheer and really have fun out there,” said Orlando Squeeze Player, Bobbi Oshira.
It’s Oshira’s second tournament with the Orlando Squeeze. She said their number one goal heading into the tournament is making sure they’re prepared.
“Getting a lot of good hits and, you know, making sure where we’re comfortable, where we’re here for each other, we’re supportive,” Oshira said. “And at the end of the day, you know, going out there, trying our best and you know, at the end of the day if we lose, we stick together as a team.”
This is MLP’s second tournament of the 2023 season and 24 teams will battle it out among two divisions – Premier and Challenger Level.
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Nearly 100 players from Chicago, Atlanta to Orlando will participate in this weekend’s tournament.
“I think to be honest that’s really what pickleball is all about,” Oshira said. “It brings a lot of different people together, a lot of different cultures together, you get a lot of people from different states coming to Florida.”
The Orlando Squeeze also has players from all over the country. While Ohshiro is from South Florida, her other teammates are from Utah and California.
Orange Squeeze’s Co-Owner, Ryan DeVos, has another connection to Orlando sports – his family owns the Orlando Magic.
DeVos said they spent a lot of time practicing ahead of the competition.
“We’re able to actually bring everybody together, which all our players live in different parts of the country,” DeVos said. “So to be able to spend a little time getting used to each other, super helpful and we’ll be able to show the results on the court tomorrow.”
DeVos said part of pickleball’s magic is the sport’s accessibility.
“You don’t need to be training in like tennis for multiple years,” DeVos said. “You can jump in and play in 45 minutes.”
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