Once a former tennis player filled with regret, Sarah Burr found her calling in pickleball. Today, the 36-year-old Gold Coast mother-of-two has become Australia’s top female pickleball player and the only Australian selected to join the prestigious Arizona Drive team for upcoming Major League Pickleball tournaments.
Burr had left tennis at the young age of 13, despite showing great potential. Reflecting on her decision, she said, “I saw how much work had to be put into it, and I walked away.” She later married, had children, and built her life around her family.
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Pickleball: A New Beginning for Sarah Burr
Two years ago, a Facebook post about pickleball by a friend caught Burr’s attention. The sport, a mix of tennis, ping pong, and badminton played with paddles on a badminton-sized court, is hailed as the fastest-growing sport in the US. Intrigued, Burr learned to play and quickly became hooked, transforming her enthusiasm for pickleball from a hobby to a serious pursuit.
As a primary school teacher, Burr juggled her newfound passion with her career. Eventually, she decided to become a relief teacher so she could participate in tournaments. Just three months into playing socially, Burr won a silver medal at the NSW Pickleball Titles.
Sarah Burr’s Pickleball Achievements
Burr’s success continued as she competed in national and international events such as the Asia Open Pickleball in Thailand, the US Open, and the World Pickleball Championships in Bali. Her sister soon joined her as a doubles partner, and together they won championships at the state, national, and Asia Open levels.
Pickleball, though not yet a household name in Australia, is gaining popularity, particularly in the US. At the US Open, Burr and her teammates were among 66 courts and roughly 1500 competitors.
In September, Burr triumphed at the World Pickleball Championships, winning the triple crown — women’s singles, doubles, and mixed doubles. She repeated this feat in the Australian pickleball titles a week later.
A Life-Changing Decision
While in Arizona for a tournament, Burr performed exceptionally and decided to put her name down for major team drafts. Shortly before Christmas, she received a call from Arizona Drive. The team boasts an impressive management lineup, including former NFL star Larry Fitzgerald, Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps, NBA All-Star Devin Booker, and country music singer Dierks Bentley.
Thrilled to be the only Australian on the team, Burr hopes to move to the US for a year to pursue her dreams as a professional athlete. She believes in the power of hard work and seizing opportunities, stating, “Living with regret is the worst thing.”