NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) — Starting Friday, the Fifth Annual Big Easy Pickleball Tournament will begin in downtown New Orleans. The three-day event will be held at the Health Club by Hilton with over 350 players from around the U.S competing in the racket/ paddle sport.

Pickleball is a sport that combines the elements of tennis, badminton, and ping-pong. It is considered one of the fastest-growing sports in the country.

The tournament is designed to accommodate men’s, women’s, and mixed doubles at different skill levels and age groups. In 2022, the tournament will feature for the first time an Open Mixed Doubles “cash division” where 16 teams will compete for cash prizes. 

Opening night festivities will begin Friday at 7 p.m. and will continue Saturday and Sunday. On Saturday and Sunday, it will begin at 8:00 a.m. Spectators can attend the event for free.

“We are thrilled to see how the interest and excitement for this tournament, not to mention the sport, has grown over the years,” said Helen Siegel, one of the coordinators of the tournament. “This year we are offering a small cash prize to inspire a new level of competition, and we hope this will attract even more players. The tournament is a great opportunity for spectators to witness high level competition while learning more about the sport.  It also encourages out-of-town participants to come and enjoy all that our city has to offer.”