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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Petition started by new pickleball club results in promise of court construction on campus

Emma Shea
Far left: Michael McDonald (president), left: Pranav Saravanan (Vice President), right: Shawshank Padala (social media manager), far right: Owen Chambers (athletics coordinator). (Photo by Emma Shea)

A small group of students banded together to share their passion for pickleball, and have successfully petitioned for courts to be built on the University of Arizona campus. 

Pickleball, a unique sport akin to a cross between tennis and ping-pong, has gained rapid popularity across the country in recent years due to its slower pace and simple rules.

“Anyone of any skill level is able to join … whether you’ve been playing for years or haven’t even stepped foot on a pickleball court, everybody and anybody is always welcome to join,” Club Athletics Coordinator Owen Chambers said.

Most founding members of the pickleball club had never played the sport until the group’s president, Michael McDonald, introduced them to the sport only a few weeks ago. Despite being new to the activity, the friends were able to catch on quickly and are excited to share this hobby with other students. 

“I’m sure there are several people out there who want to play pickleball, but just haven’t because there’s not enough exposure to the sport as a whole,” Vice President of the club, Pranav Saravanan said. “The goal of the club is basically to share our love for pickleball with the University of Arizona community and help other people also play.” 

In order to make this dream a reality, the group petitioned for courts to be built on UA campus and convinced UA Athletic Director Dave Heeke, to begin the project of introducing pickleball courts to UA for easy student access.

“We were so overwhelmed with the amount of support we initially received, we quickly moved to an Instagram account and a flyer that directly allowed people to sign up,” the social media manager of the club Sashank Padala said.

“Initially, we’re going to start off a lot more relaxed, starting off with social events within the club so [members] can play, have a good time and understand what the sport is … and gain a greater love for the sport … as more people start playing, we want this to be a bit more competitive,” Saravanan said. “Eventually, we want to make pickleball an official intramural sport.”

This club and sport as a whole is a very inclusive community, and joining is as simple as signing up via the club’s Instagram account, @ua_pickleball. 

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