Back in 2017, Anna Leigh Waters, then a 10-year-old home-schooled student had never heard of the sport of pickleball. A competitive tennis and soccer player, she dreamt of playing one of the sports on the collegiate level one day. But, a fateful trip to her grandfather’s home in Pennsylvania that summer, introduced her to paddles and dinking.
Hurricane Irma and its outer bands of the storm had knocked out power to the family’s home in Delray Beach, just north of Palm Beach County on the east coast of the state. So, her Mom, Leigh headed north to wait out the storm and in so doing, both played pickleball for two straight weeks. Dad and husband Stephen stayed back at home with Maggie, the family’s bullmastiff. He knew his construction materials business would be in high demand after the storm subsided.
Up in Pennsylvania, the newest sport was quickly turning into Leigh and Anna Leigh’s favorite. While both play singles on the pickleball circuit, it’s their doubles play that is making people take notice.
Recently, the duo won a gold medal in Women’s Pro Doubles at the prestigious Tournament of Champions. “She has her whole pickleball life ahead of her and I’m so excited to be part of her journey. We are making memories everyday traveling the country playing pickleball,” said Leigh. “These are memories for a lifetime and moments I get to spend with Anna Leigh during her childhood that are nothing short of blessings.” Anna Leigh also won a silver in Women’s Pro at TOC.
Anna Leigh’s play in singles is nothing short of remarkable as well. At last year’s Margaritaville USA Pickleball National Championships, she won a gold medal in Women’s 4.5 Singles and in March at the US Open she captured a gold medal in Women’s 5.0 Singles and along the way, teamed up with Kyle Yates to win Mixed Doubles 19+.
But it is her play with her Mom that brings out the best in Anna Leigh. “I love playing with my Mom because she is a great player, she gives me a lot of confidence, and she calms my nerves when she can sense that it is affecting my play. Because we are mother and daughter, we can anticipate each other’s shots and we move together very well. Winning a major at TOC was awesome, but the best part about it was winning it with my Mom.”