Brighton pickleball supremo Marcia Audibert admitted she was shocked to claim her second national title after taking gold in the women’s 50-60 singles.

The 55-year-old bounced back from defeats in the round robin group stage to power through the knockout stages, claiming the win in the final 11-1 6-11 11-6 against Anna Linton.

Victory sealed a second gold medal at the English Nationals after winning mixed doubles with husband Bernie last year.

And the Brighton-based player insisted finishing top of the podium this year was far more difficult as the standard of play increases alongside the sport’s rapid growth in popularity.

“I’m a bit surprised that I’ve won it,” she said. “I was hoping to go through the round robin but then I lost to two people in that and went through as the third spot and then I had to beat those people again to win it.

“I started slowly and to beat them you had to play really hard and aggressive and hit hard the whole time, so it’s quite tiring.”

Over the past year, pickleball has seen a meteoric rise in the UK due to its inclusive and accessible nature, with an estimated 12,000 regular players and over 450 venues offering the sport across the country.

There are now 682 athletes attending the National Championships at the Bolton Arena, up from 430 at the 2022 event.

The sport enjoys mass popularity in the USA, but Audibert revealed it was not until she moved back to the UK from Texas a decade ago that she discovered the sport.

It is particularly popular with older players due to its low impact on the body compared to other sports such as tennis, something Audibert knows all too well.

“I had a back injury and I’d been out from tennis for 20 something years,” she added.

“We did some beach tennis and then we did some pickle ball and really liked it. I’ve been playing for a year and a half now.

“We never heard of it in Texas but now all of our old places that we loved in Houston have massive courts, indoor and outdoors, so we missed it.

“I think it’s a really good sport because you need a smaller space, you can play at different levels and you can pick it up very quickly at the beginning, so it’s much more fun than some other sports.”

2023 English Nationals takes place at Bolton Arena from Thursday 26th October to Sunday 29th October. This year’s English Nationals is sponsored by Skechers, Franklin, Scan and UK Pickleball Shop, Play will commence from 9am each day. Head to to find out more or to find your nearest place to play.