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Pickleball enthusiast hosts tournaments on his home court

Updated: Jun 23, 2023

By Steve Lee

Times Total Media Correspondent Throughout the state in recent years there have been pickleball tournaments at various recreation centers and complexes that accommodate tennis as well as pickleball. One competition, however, takes place at the home court of one of the sport’s local enthusiasts.


Alex Wadsworth, co-founder with Gary Ivanov of Pickle Man Inc., hosted a Pickle Man tournament on June 2 at his home in Lutz. It was not the first and will not be the last with the third tourney on the family’s property slated for Aug. 6.

Dave Adams and Revathi Balasubramaniam teamed up to win the doubles title. Photo courtesy of Eric Varsalona


In the recent round-robin random format of single-elimination doubles, some of top-level players were paired with beginners while other groups were either highly competitive or somewhat inexperienced.


“It was the most phenomenal experience,” Wadsworth said. “It was fair because we were just putting everyone’s name in a hat. It was very rare that two bad players would play together.”


Having played pickleball for about a year, Wadsworth played in both tourneys he has hosted and finished at the bottom of the pack.


“I’m not very good,” he said, adding, “I’m a good motivator and I get a lot of people involved.”


Dave Adams, who partnered with Revathi Balasubramaniam to win in doubles, liked the format. Both are from Tampa and had to square off in a singles match following their doubles victory with Adams claiming the overall title.


“It was a good little wrinkle,” said Adams, a 44-year-old athlete who played college football for the Air Force Academy and has played pickleball for just nine months. “I think it made it fun for some of the newer players.”

Alex Wadsworth and his 12-year old daughter Avalina played in the tourney on the family's home court. Photo courtesy of Eric Varsalona


Added St. Petersburg’s Jared Freedland, a former tennis player who has played the sport for about a year, “It was fun. It wasn’t as serious as other tournaments. It was more relaxed.”


Aside from adults competing there was a kids tournament with 15-year-old Ella Ledoux winning that division. Wadsworth’s 12-year-old daughter Avalina played in the kids tourney.


Wadsworth, an entrepreneur who makes YouTube videos, took up pickleball last year and in March built a 65-by-35-foot hard court for $30,000 on his property, initially so he and some friends could play without waiting.

Doubles winners Dave Adams and Revathi Balasubramaniam are congratulated after a match by opponents Gavin Chu and Gary Davis. Photo courtesy of Eric Varsalona


“We wouldn’t be able to get a court (at nearby Keystone Park),” he reasoned.

Avalina said having a court in the family’s yard “is cool, because I can go out and play pickleball any time I want.”

The tourney had two divisions with 32 adults and 12 kids competing. Many stuck around afterward for a group photo. Photo courtesy of Eric Varsalona

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