As the Minto US Open prepares to publish its pro draws this Thursday, the event has released new policies surrounding players' paddles and paddle contentions.
According to a US Open press release, the usual requirement to use USAP approved paddles and have the USAP approved designation on the paddle will be in full effect.
But if a paddle is contested, the paddle will be sent to a lab site for additional testing.
"If a paddle has a test result that comes back from the lab determining it is over any of the legal specifications any awarded medals or prize money received from the event where the paddle was used will be forfeited and a 1-year suspension from attending the next US Open," the release says.
Additionally, if a player contests someone else's paddle and it is later found to be within legal specs, the contesting player will be subject to forfeiting any medals or prize money and they will receive the one-year suspension.
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So, basically: Challenge it? Consequences. Use it? Consequences.
"The US Open stands behind its brand of integrity and helping ensure fair competition and play for all," the release states.
Pickleball community sounds off
Much of this year's paddle conversation kicked off with Lea Jansen's assertion on Twitter that her opponent Salome Devidze was using a delaminated paddle in their match last weekend.
Lea dives deep into the issue in the latest episode of PicklePod. Meanwhile, many question the US Open decision to crack down on paddle contentions.
Pro Shea Underwood weighed in on the news via a post on Memes of Pickleball:
Pros & cons of US Open's decision
Probably the most common case against these new regulations is that they could cause a chilling effect on players reporting what some pros – like Lea Jansen – believe to be a rampant issue in the pro pickleball scene.
Others, however, are simply glad to have what they perceive as a fair method of paddle contesting.
"This would be nice because I’m tired of watching these players moan and groan about the paddles," says another commenter on Instagram.
Now that USA Pickleball is rolling out a new paddle testing regimen in partnership with the major leagues, there are bound to be some kinks left to work out of an issue that is quickly spiraling.
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