Players to Watch – Lucy Kovalova

A native of Slovakia where she was a member of the Junior National tennis team, Lucy Kovalova made her way to the United States after graduating high school in her home town of Presov to play collegiate tennis for Wichita State, where she played #1 doubles for the Shockers for four years. Three years ago, she decided to play pickleball and the results were almost immediate. She has gone to win numerous medals at the sport’s top events namely, gold in Mixed Doubles Pro at the Tournament of Champions in 2017 and 2018 and at the 2017 USAPA National Championships.

Last year at the 2018 Margaritaville USA Pickleball National Championships, Lucy won the Triple Crown, earning Gold in Women’s Singles, Women’s Doubles and Mixed Doubles.

Lucy is one of only two players, man or woman, to garner a medal in all Pro events at the US Open and USAPA Nationals in consecutive years. Her introduction to the sport was quite random. “My club brought pickleball courts to the facility so we started to play every now and then starting out and had fun with it. Later, we decided to travel and play more so we signed up for the first tournament – US Open 2016.”

With her unique combination of power, quickness, range and fluidity of strokes, Lucy has enjoyed a high level of success and attributes her early accomplishments to her tennis background. “Many tennis players like myself enjoy pickleball more because it is a lot more fun and easier on the body. Also, the quality of the game will increase because more and more skilled tennis players are starting to come into the game.”

And, the sport has received a considerable amount of attention as its premier event, the Margaritaville USA Pickleball National Championships is now played at Indian Wells. “I think it is an awesome step forward. Indian Wells Tennis Garden is a beautiful facility and I think we are lucky that we can play pickleball there. Pickleball has gained a lot of credibility by hosting Nationals there. I’m looking forward to playing in this beautiful venue again.”

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