Wichita pickleball players serving up aces one game at a time

Competitive Drive

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – It’s a growing sport in the Wichita community, but for two ICT natives, Pickleball is more than just a game, it’s a lifestyle.

When Matt Wright and Lucy Kovalova picked up the paddle for Pickleball, the sport seemed closely similar to a game the two had played before.

“First, I thought it was like mini tennis, and it was fun for us,” says Kovalova.

The former Shocker tennis standout and her partner quickly figured out they could compete against other players from around the world.

“When we first learned about the game, we would go on YouTube and text each other and say, ‘hey, go watch this match. Go watch these players,’” says Wright.

The US Open Pickleball Championship challengers say they have no plans of stopping anytime soon and hope to continue putting away the competition.

“I personally hate losing. I can’t stand it,” says Kovalova. “I’m down on myself after a couple day after we lose. We won the other two majors and there is a third one we are missing.”

Wright is content with his new sport.

“I’ve kind of abandoned tennis for this,” he said. “This is really where my heart and mind are at this point.”

Wright and Kovalova’s next tournament will be the Franklin Pickleball Masters Tournament at Wichita Venue September 21-22.

Chicken N Pickle Wichita will host the Inaugural Pro Invitational.  Gold medal recipients will be awarded $10,000. silver medalists will receive $5,000; and bronze medalists will take home $2,500.

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