One of the best senior women’s tennis players in the world is a quiet mother of two who is so humble about her success that she keeps her “gold balls” trophies in a bedroom, far from sight of visitors to her Coral Springs home.
But there is nothing discreet about Heather Nobler’s fierce backhand and net game which the 36-year-old said have earned her top senior women ranking in the 35 age and older category in the United States Tennis Association (she’s #2) and in the International Tennis Federation (she’s #8).
Tennis has been a part of Nobler’s life since she was 4-years-old, providing her jobs as a coach and fueling her competitive nature. Now, as a devoted mother and wife, the sport has given her a chance to give back to her community.
As a tennis pro at Coral Springs Tennis Center, Nobler plans this spring to start teaching children with autism how to play the game. She also mentors a girl through Big Brothers Big Sisters of Broward County and soon hopes to teach tennis to children in the program.
“Tennis has given me so much,” she said.
The soft-spoken, unassuming native of Des Moines, Iowa can be spotted most mornings teaching tennis part-time to children and adults at the city’s tennis facilities. When she’s not working on the courts, she makes breakfast, lunch, and dinner for her family and shuttles her 9-year-old daughter and 4-year-old son to and from school and sports activities, which, of course, include tennis.
Even in off-hours from her job, tennis remains central to her daily life, especially as she prepares for national and international tournaments. To stay fit, Nobler is usually up at 4 a.m. to run four to five miles and, later in the day, does strength training at the gym. She also volleys with other players of similar skills at least two or three times a week.
“I love the focus tennis gives me,” she said. “I’ll stay with it until I can’t play anymore.”
The sport has been good to her. She studied at University of Oklahoma on a full tennis scholarship and worked as an assistant women’s tennis coach at Marquette University. After meeting her husband, the couple eventually moved to South Florida for his job as a video director for the Miami Dolphins. They picked Coral Springs as their home.
With her family settled into suburbia, Nobler began rising in the world of competitive tennis. She’s won eight “gold ball” trophies in recent years, along with eight “silver balls” and five “bronze balls.” In the past year, she won gold at the national indoors and national grass courts and placed second at national clay courts.
At a young age, Nobler said she learned from her father not to flaunt her talents. She prefers a low profile, focused more on her family than her winnings at tennis. And so she keeps her tennis championship balls out of public view, but close enough in her bedroom to remind her what the game is really all about.
“Tennis has taught me a lot of life lessons which I think can be great for anyone. It’s taught me patience, respect, mental toughness, and problem-solving,” she said. “As I have gotten older, too, I definitely don’t stress as much as I used to about losses, but I really try to enjoy every moment I have on the court.”