The Mercer County Park Commission, County Executive Brian M. Hughes, and other local officials cut a ceremonial ribbon November 17 to open the four new pickleball courts at the Tennis Center in Mercer County Park.
Pickleball is a lively racket sport that combines elements of tennis, pingpong and badminton, and the new courts are the first “pickleball only” courts in Mercer County. In pickleball, two, three or four players use paddles made of wood or composite materials to hit a perforated plastic ball, similar to a wiffle ball, over a net.
“Pickleball has become increasingly popular throughout the country, and we’re pleased that people can now enjoy the game on regulation courts right here at the Mercer County Tennis Center,” said Hughes, who was joined by Freeholders John Cimino and Pat Colavita, and East Windsor Mayor Janice Mironov, a pickleball proponent. “The great thing about pickleball is that it’s easy to learn and can be played by people of all ages.”
A pickleball court is 20 feet by 44 feet for both singles and doubles play, the same overall court size as in badminton but with the net lowered to 36 inches on the ends and 34 inches in the middle. (By comparison a regulation tennis court is 27 feet by 78 feet for singles — 36 feet wide for doubles.) The ball is served diagonally, starting with the right-hand service square, and points can only be scored by the side that serves. There is a 7-foot no-volley zone on each side of the net, to prevent “spiking.” The server continues to serve, alternating service courts, until he or she faults. The first side scoring 11 points and leading by at least two points wins.
The fee to play pickleball at Mercer County Park is the same as tennis. Mercer County adult residents may purchase a 2018 tennis/pickleball ID card for $70. The Mercer County junior/senior rate is $35 for the year, and the non-resident ID card is $105. Players who purchase the ID card can play for no additional cost during daylight hours. If lights are needed, the cost is $2. If a player decides not to purchase the ID card, the cost is $7 per person each time they play. Court time runs 90 minutes. Players may reserve a court three days in advance with the ID card. The 2018 ID card is available for purchase at https://register.communitypass.net/mercer.