Simone Jardim of Naples felt plenty of pride and a sense of accomplishment on the court after winning the gold medal in the Minto U.S. Open Pickleball Championships on Saturday night.
However, the real rewards came not from the playing surface or medals doled out on it, but rather from the people in the stands.
Jardim and Kyle Yates defeated Lucy Kovalova and Matt Wright in the Mixed Pro Doubles finals 5-11, 11-8, 11-6, and both expressed their thanks for all the support during the week-long tournament at East Naples Community Park.
“Our family moved here three years ago. This area means so much to us,” Jardim said. “We never want to leave. I feel the people here love us, not because of the 45-1 record, but because of the people we are. And I am truly grateful to everyone.”
Simone Jardim and Kyle Yates celebrate at the Minto U.S. Open Pickleball Championships at East Naples Community Park on Saturday. The pair won the mixed doubles title. (Photo: Morgan Hornsby/Naples Daily News USA TODAY NETWORK – FLORIDA)
All of Saturday’s action will be broadcast on the CBS Sports Network on May 24th at 7 p.m.
Jardim won her third straight mixed doubles title, and it was the second straight for Yates, a Fort Myers resident.
“Matt and Lucy are just amazing,” Jardim said of her opponents in the Mixed Doubles final. “They’ve helped bring our sport to a whole new level. Kyle and I both came in with a game plan, and we executed it well. Kyle was there to have my back when I made mistakes. I saw it as my job to keep the ball down, and he was there if I ever got in trouble.”