AT JUST FOURTEEN YEARS OLD, Anna Leigh Waters is the number one seeded Singles women’s pickleball player in the world. Hailing from Boynton Beach, Florida, Anna Leigh has reached this impressive height after only playing pickleball since September of 2017. Surprisingly, her introduction to the sport was a mere twist of fate. When Hurricane Irma hit Florida in 2017, Anna Leigh and her family were evacuated to her grandfather’s house in Pennsylvania and ended up playing pickleball for two weeks straight. Safe to say, she weathered the storm and was hooked. Fast forward a few years and here we are. She’s at the top of her game and she’s only getting better.
The transition from hobby to profession really sped up this past year. As the sport of pickleball itself grew at a rapid pace, tours got bigger, participation skyrocketed and curious sponsors came knocking on all fronts. All the while, Anna Leigh was wrapped up in all of it. “I realized how beneficial pickleball could be to my future when we came back this year and the PPA Tour had created so many opportunities for the pros,” she explains. “The prize money was bigger, the exposure was greater, and there were more sponsors out there. I knew if I worked really hard, this sport could be life-changing for me.”
Pickleball has opened countless doors for Anna Leigh while competing over the past year or so. From traveling and blossoming sponsorships, to continuous wins in both Singles and Doubles with her mother, Leigh—if these past successes are any sign of future foreshadowing, let it be known.
Playing alongside her mother, Leigh Waters, (who is also a professional pickleball player), is a huge contribution to this journey Anna Leigh is currently on. Their strong relationship is worn proudly on their sleeves and it's clear that these two truly connect on the court. “It is amazing to get to play with my mom. We have that mother/daughter intuition that helps us anticipate on the court,” says Anna Leigh. “Plus, we are so supportive as partners and know we have each other’s back. We’ve made so many memories together traveling and playing together, not to mention winning some big titles!”
When it comes to Singles matches, Anna Leigh tells me she’s really had to work on her mental game recently, since the days and matches can be long and emotional. There’s a lot of pressure on these athletes to perform at the top of their game every match, and it takes a lot of physical and mental strength to achieve that. “Also, we took off all of 2020 because of COVID, and most other players continued to play,” she explains. “So it was really tough to re-enter the game, brush off the rust, and work my way back up the rankings.”
Naturally a very competitive person, Anna Leigh is on a constant mission to be the best version of herself on and off the court. Her motivation illuminates on the court and you can tell she’s locked in and focused every match. “I always want to be the best I can be to put me in a position to win,” she tells me. “My goal to be the best is what drives me to work on all aspects of being an athlete.”
Equipment plays an important role in every athlete's game. Whatever the sport, whoever the athlete, having access to the best equipment is always a huge plus. Thankfully, Anna Leigh has found the support and comfort she needs to compete at her best with Lasso performance socks hugging her feet and ankles. “Pickleball involves a lot of lateral, quick movements,” she mentions. “Lasso socks keep my ankles supported through these movements, match after match. And I love the new tie dye colors,” she adds with excitement. “But my favorites are the dark marble colorway!” It means so much to us seeing Lasso's benefits being utilized to their fullest potential during this rapid surge of pickleball participation for both pros and beginners alike. At the end of the day, we just want to see movement happen without restriction and quality where it matters most.
Pickleball involves a lot of lateral, quick movements. Lasso socks keep my ankles supported through these movements, match after match!"
We're humbled knowing Anna Leigh is able to reap the benefits of Lasso’s unmatched compression off the court during recovery and while she's traveling as well. “I wear them after games, especially if I am going to the airport and will be flying,” she notes. “And I also love wearing Lasso during my soccer workouts, too!”
As we start officially closing out the year, the progress we've witnessed from Team Waters' is inspiring to say the least. Anna Leigh is a true athlete and her relentless motivation in all she sets out to do is a reflection of her success. Watching the recaps and clips on social media is one thing, but seeing her compete live is incredible to witness.
So, how does the rest of the year look for this pickleball phenom? She tells us, "I have Major League of Pickleball in November followed by PPA La Quinta and Nationals. My next tournament is the PPA Championships in Vegas." There are clearly no signs of slowing as Anna Leigh wraps up 2021. But don't get it twisted! 2022 is expected to be a huge year for Team Waters' and we are excited to see it all unfold. "2022 is going to be very busy with more tournaments than ever!" Anna Leigh concludes.
And we're here for it.