Folkestone pickleball player Jake Saxby can’t wait to see what is next for the sport after earning bronze at this year’s English Nationals.

The 25-year-old finished third in the men’s 18+ 3.5 doubles alongside Dean Powell after beating Richard Green and Oscar Bailey in the bronze medal match.

A medal was the perfect way for Saxby to mark his debut at the English Nationals, with this year’s event seeing a record number of players as the sport continues to snowball in popularity.

“I feel like I didn’t play my best until right at the end but it was still good to get a medal,” he said.

“I played at the English Open [in August] and then I went up one [skill] level in doubles and two in singles so it was a lot tougher but I was hoping to get a medal so I am glad I did.

“It is one of the fastest growing sports in the world, it is massive in America so in this country it is only going to get bigger.

“Everyone here is so chatty and really nice – it is a good environment to be in.”

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.

Saxby is one of the many players using skills from other racquet sports and now regularly plays at his club, Hawkinge Hawks, after his dad first tried out the game.

“It was mainly my dad who first started playing” he explained. “I play table tennis and tennis and he used to play table tennis but decided he wanted to try a new sport and picked up pickleball.

“I went along a few times, enjoyed it and kept playing.

“Singles is very much like mini tennis but the doubles you need the flicks from table tennis.”

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.