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Steve Roforth, from Punta Gorda, returns the ball as playing partner Bob Lombardo, from Pine Island stands by. They and about 420 pickleball competitors played in the World Pickleball Championship at the 2019 event in Punta Gorda.

After huge success in 2019, Charlotte County Tourism is proud to welcome the return of the World Pickleball Championship, and first-ever pickleball tournament awarding $100,000 in cash prizes, scheduled to take place Wednesday through Sunday, Feb. 3-7 at the PicklePlex in Punta Gorda.

The World Pickleball Championship brings with it the world’s top players, based on Global Pickleball Rankings, who will compete to determine the best player in the world. Team USA — comprised of three-time World Pickleball Champions, No. 1-ranked Ben Johns, and other top U.S. pro players — will test their skills on the Championship Court as they battle it out against Team WORLD, headed up by world-renowned players, Steve Deakin from Canada and Simone Jardim from Brazil.

“This event showcases some of the very best, top-level pickleball players in the country,” said Sean Walter, Sports Business Development Director at the Punta Gorda/Englewood Beach Visitor & Convention Bureau. “We are fortunate that our community and visitors will have the opportunity to see this competition up close and in-person. The PicklePlex and the backdrop of our beautiful destination will provide plenty of memorable experiences for all attending.”

All individual matches will be played on one central court, giving spectators a close-up view to watch all the best professional players compete in their matches. Social distancing protocols will be in place, with live viewing of the final match televised on CBS Sports.

This event will follow CDC safety guidelines by checking temperatures at the gate, requiring social distancing and wearing masks when in close proximity of other fans. No fans are allowed near the athlete area, and masks must be worn around concession. Sanitizer stations will be available, but spectators are encouraged to bring their own sanitizer.

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