The temperatures and humidity went wild at the Kansas City and Cincinnati Opens recently. Most players would have wilted in the sweltering heat, but Brooke Buckner soldiered on. Dinking and diving around the court and giving every game her all in spite of the conditions.
No Ordinary Person
All very admirable, you might think, but when you consider she is also seven months pregnant, you start to realize we’re simply not dealing with just an ordinary person here.
“I love competing so much. The heat didn’t bother me. Fortunately, I’m used to it (Buckner spent most of her childhood in Florida),” she told Andrew Gilman of the PPA Tour.
Dedicated To Training
Buckner, a mother of two, is anticipating the arrival of her third child just before Thanksgiving. Despite this, she remains dedicated to her rigorous training and playing commitments in addition to her roles as a mother and a wife.
She intends to participate in this month’s Major League Pickleball event before temporarily setting aside her paddle until her daughter is born.
“It was an adjustment learning to move with the ‘bump,’ Bucker says. “But otherwise, I’ve felt really good out there and feel very fortunate to be feeling as good as I am.”
Buckner and partner Yana Newell reached the quarterfinals in Kansas City, and she also secured a victory in mixed doubles with Daniel De La Rosa.
She reached the second round in Cincinnati, partnering with Collin Shick and Olivia McMillian.
As she says, “The major difference is the movement is obviously not what it was when I’m not 30 weeks pregnant.”
“A Lot Of Juggling And Good Support”
Buckner affirmed that despite the upcoming addition to her family, her routine will remain largely unchanged, apart from an additional child at home.
As for her daughter’s name, Buckner has chosen to keep that detail private for the time being. She does, however, express her intention to return to playing as soon as circumstances allow, with her new baby accompanying her.
Buckner has outlined her plan for a regular pickleball schedule in 2024: “Being a pro player and a mom just requires a lot of juggling and good support from my husband, Adam.
“Without his support and all the work he does at home, this wouldn’t be possible. I’m so thankful for him. I have two other kids, so our life is already chaotic, but we love it and have found a way to make it work for us.”
An Accomplished Tennis Player
Originally hailing from Cleveland, OH, Buckner spent the majority of her formative years in Delray Beach, FL. Before venturing into pickleball, she served as an assistant coach for the women’s tennis team at UNC Charlotte.
This followed her tenure as a standout player at the University of Michigan, where she garnered recognition as one of the most accomplished tennis players in the institution’s history.
Brooke attributes her present achievements to her collegiate-level tennis background: “Tennis helped me prepare for the pressure that comes with playing at a professional level in pickleball and instilled the work ethic it takes to compete at the highest level.”
Mashed Potatoes And Seven-Nation Army
Buckner embarked on her pickleball journey in October 2020, just a few months after welcoming her son into the world. Since then, she has made a notable mark on the sport.
Among her personal preferences, mashed potatoes claim the title of her all-time favorite food, while her go-to song is “Seven Nation Army” by The White Stripes.
In terms of career highlights, Buckner has achieved impressive feats, including a Mixed Doubles Gold Medal at the NC Body Armor State Games with Chris Patrick, a Mixed Doubles Bronze Medal at the APP Masters with Chris Patrick, and a Singles Silver Medal at the US Open 5.0.
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