Several years ago our Director of Sales passed on some information about two young athletes working hard to expand the reach of pickleball, particularly in Italy. It’s a tale of two young men from two different countries who met by luck and connected through their love of sports.
The two picklers in question are Mattia Astori from Italy and Myles Getto from the USA.
You may remember Mattia from our mention of him during the Italian Open in 2018. This interview with Mattia below is from 2017, and he has since went on to work with Zelindo Di Guilio (founder of the Italian Pickleball Assocation) to build pickleball’s presence in Milan. He’s also become an IPTPA Level II-certified instructor, so he’s certainly been keeping busy!
We thank Carol Amos (Myles’ aunt) for her personal help and for supporting Mattia’s efforts, along with Mattia for providing us this wonderful story. Enjoy!
I’m 17 years old and I decided to become an exchange student last year. It’s probably the best decision I’ve ever made so far. I got ‘shipped’ to Fallon, Nevada, a place completely different from what I’m used to, since I live really close to Milan in the north of Italy. I’ve played tennis since I was eight, doing multiple tournaments around the country and outside the country internationally. I stopped playing when I was 15 in 2014 because school ended up requiring too much time.
While I was in the U.S. I decided to join the high school tennis team, and that’s where I met Myles. Myles is who introduced me to this wonderful sport and I loved it from day one. We practiced together for the whole year and played multiple tournaments together, getting one bronze medal in Utah, one silver medal in Sacramento and one gold medal in Las Vegas. During the year he hosted me as a brother and now I’m hosting him as a brother in Italy for a little while. These days I’m hoping to get pickleball started with his support.
My mom works and cooperates with a guy that owns a sport center in Brugherio. I already know him, Alessandro, because I worked for him in a summer camp two years ago. As soon as my mom told him about pickleball he got so excited and wanted to be the first one to start it in Italy. He wanted me to start a little course for the children of the summer camp and really thinks they’d enjoy it. (I do too!)
Carol helped me so much to make this dream come true providing us with all the equipment needed to start the course. Unfortunately we’re having a little problem with the equipment because it has been stuck in customs for almost a month now. Alessandro is taking care of the case and sent all the papers required to make them go through, and I’m helping him try to find a phone number and see what the problem is.
It’s not the first time I’ve had problems with customs sending a package from the U.S. to Italy, so I guess it’s common, but we’ll find a way to make it work!