As we officially had our launch party earlier this month by announcing RacquetX to the world, it was no coincidence that we wanted to shout about our first-of-its-kind event by confirming our first three named speakers.
And it was no coincidence that our first three names on the agenda this coming March were from ‘the big 3’ racquet sports because, make no mistake, while our showpiece event at the Miami is a celebration of all racquet sports, no matter how mainstream or niche, it’s hard to argue that it’s been anything other than tennis, pickleball and padel who have dominated with their success story in recent years.
So, who are our first three named speakers set to descend on the Miami Beach Convention Center from March 24th – 26th 2024?
First up is one of the leading figures from the tennis industry, the former Chairman and President of the United States Tennis Association (USTA) for two consecutive terms, Katrina Adams. Katrina is one of life’s true go-getters and has done it all. As a former professional player, she competed for 12 years on the WTA Tour, winning 20 career doubles titles and reaching a career high of World Number 8. She’s also been a coach, a broadcaster – commentating on television for the Tennis Channel and working as a regular contributor to CBS Sports Network all-female sports panel We Need to Talk – and administrator.
Katrina has also served as Vice President of the International Tennis Federation (ITF), Chair of the Billie Jean King Cup Committee, Chair of the Gender Equality in Tennis Committee and the Executive Director of the Harlem Junior Tennis and Education Program. She has also been a long-standing champion of diversity and inclusion, a topic close to RacquetX’s heart and a theme that will be prominent at our inaugural event in March. Oh, and did we mention that Katrina’s also a published author, with her maiden book “Own the Arena” published in 2021?
Pickleball’s success story in the U.S. needs little introduction, and perhaps neither does our first pickleball speaker, Thomas Shields. With pickleball starting to win the hearts of millions across America, Thomas established himself as one of the pickleball visionaries, setting up a newsletter in October 2020 that soon attracted over 150,000 subscribers. Today, The Dink as his media company is known, reaches over 750,000 pickleball players and fans every week between the newsletter, a podcast, and social media channels. Shields’ second media company, Upswing Sports, specializes in newsletter-first content, servicing pickleball and other niche sports with digestible news. With his upcoming appearance at Miami Beach Convention Center, Shields will be discussing his experiences at the heart of the racquet sports boom.
Tailing off our first trio of named speakers for the big 3 racquet sports is none other than Marcos Del Pilar. Those that have been fortunate enough to meet the former tennis and padel-playing Spaniard don’t forget him, while those fortunate to meet him at RacquetX in March won’t forget him! Del Pilar is a force of nature and has – if not alone, than almost single-handedly – driven ‘brand padel’ across the United States in recent years. His on-court infectious energy and enthusiasm has seen him deliver a hugely successful Padel MBA Coaching Programme from coast to coast, with more than 350 padel coaches now certified in the USA in record time. His inspirational leadership saw him lead Team USA to the past two International Padel Federation (FIP) World Championships. He was President of the United States Padel Association (USPA) from November 2021 until July 2023, and, most recently co-founded Americas’ newest professional sports league, the Pro Padel League (PPL) which debuted in Tampa, Florida with an original seven franchise teams from May to July.
Del Pilar is a trailblazer for his sport and we, for one – and we know we’re not alone – are excited to welcome him alongside Adams and Shields in Miami in March.
Adams, Shields and Del Pilar represent RacquetX’s first named speakers, of which there will be many more in the weeks and months ahead. It’s a mark of our ambition to bring together the pioneers, trailblazers and thought leaders from each and every racquet sport, to Miami Beach Convention Center from March 24th – 26th 2024 – and the perfect reason to book your flight to Miami for this first-of-its-kind event.