What is the Bainbridge Cup in Pickleball?

The sport of Pickleball was first conceived in the city of Bainbridge Island of Washington in 1965. The International Federation of Pickleball (IFP) launched the first ever intercontinental Pickleball tournament in 2017. It was named the Bainbridge Cup in honor of the city where the sport was first played.

Format
The players participating in the Bainbridge Cup are categorised based on their skill level and age group. The skills are classified as intermediate and advanced. In each skill level in accordance with the age group, matches are played in singles, doubles and mixed doubles formats. Over 50 matches are played in the event. The Top 3 competitors from the tournament receive medals. The best doubles team of the event also gets recognition.

Teams
Teams in Bainbridge Cup have always changed based on the venue where the event is hosted and the country of origin of the representative players. The first two editions were held between Team North America and Team Europe. Both these editions were held in Spain and Italy. It was the visiting team that won in both instances. The 2019 edition was held in Germany and the participating teams were Team World and Team Europe. The latter yet again lost as the home side.

The COVID-19 pandemic played spoilsport in the next two editions of the Bainbridge Cup. They were scheduled to be played in Nottingham and Florida. The event in Florida was supposed to be played between East vs West sides (based on the division by the Mississippi river) but was eventually cancelled.

The Bainbridge Cup returned in 2022 in Maharashtra, India. The event saw an Indian side take on a rest of the world side named Pickleball United. The event lasted for five days. On the fifth day, Team India won against Pickleball United 7-6. The winners got a prize money purse of $50,500; the highest in any Pickleball tournament. As of June 2023, no venue has been announced for the Bainbridge Cup’s sixth edition.

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