On November 1, 2021, Anna Bright posted the following Tweet on her Twitter account, “considering pursuing professional pickleball.”
That was it – that’s the full message. Less than four months later, Anna Bright went double gold in her first pro tournament, winning the women’s pro singles and women’s pro doubles with partner Jorja Johnson.
Pickleball’s Next Bright Star
In her own words, she said she expected to win gold in singles.
Bright said she knew she could win against the players in the draw if she played her aggressive style consistently. And win she did. The most points she surrendered in any game over the day was 8.
Is her confidence…arrogance? Is it warranted coming from a player who only began playing the sport on October 23, 2021? Those of us at ThePickleSports find her attacking style refreshing and, perhaps most importantly, an invigorating breath of life into the APP tour.
Even those in leadership roles with the APP would surely admit the women’s singles draw for their last several events has been less than dynamic. Well, no more thanks to Anna Bright.
A lifelong tennis player whose college career ended at the University of California in May, Bright has seemingly transitioned to pro pickleball with ease. She began entering local tournaments in December, easily winning in singles and women’s doubles at the 4.5 level. She had similar success at the 5.0 level at local tournaments in January and February.
And then…her run to double gold last weekend in her first pro tournament. She and partner Jorja Johnson were knocked to the back draw by Vivienne David and Lee Whitwell.
However, Bright and Johnson battled through the back draw, beat David and Whitwell in the bronze medal match, and came back to double-dip Simone Jardim and Corinne Carr in the Finals.
If you don’t know what double dip means, it is when the team/player coming from the back draw up to the Gold Medal match and defeats the winner’s bracket team twice – once in a 2 out of 3 games, and finally in the single match to 15 points.
Bright has had less consistent success in her mixed doubles matches. Whether her style isn’t ideal for the mixed game, given how difficult it can be for attacking women to keep pressure on men, or whether it’s a lack of finding the ideal partner, we expect Bright to adapt to the mixed game and eventually to be joined with a high-quality mixed doubles partner.
This weekend, Bright pairs with Amanda Hendry in a field that appears to be a bit lighter than last weekend, although Bright and Hendry will still have to contend with the Kawamoto sisters and Bright’s partner from last week, Jorja Johnson, playing this week with Lee Whitwell. In the singles draw, her two toughest opponents are likely to be Jorja Johnson and Megan Fudge, whom she defeated in the Gold Medal match last weekend.
You are going to see a lot more of Anna Bright in the future. And with it, we expect you to see several plays on her name. But you saw it here first – ThePickleSports – we are fans, and we are convinced of “A Future so Bright.”