Brooke Demerath thrives on competing on the tennis court, but there comes a time when she just wants to sleep in and take a quick break from it all.
After arriving home in Kenmore at the end of July from the United States Tennis Association Zone Team Championships in Southlake, Texas, she unpacked her bags and had training on her docket the following morning at 7 a.m. Rain washed out the practice and she was glad to get some extra shut eye. After all, the 100-degree Texas heat meant 5 a.m. wake-up calls to get zonal action in before things really fried up in the afternoon.
The 15-year-old Inglemoor High sophomore-to-be got heat stroke on the last day of the tournament, but made it through with a clean bill of health as her Washington 16U squad — 12 boys and 12 girls — placed fourth.
Demerath won a handful of singles and doubles matches at zonals, and after battling in a singles three-setter, “I pulled out the win, so that was my happiest day,” she said. She competed at 14U zonals last year and aims to qualify for intersectionals next year as a top-four player for Washington.
She’s a 15th-ranked 16U player in the Pacific Northwest and placed second in the 4A KingCo singles tournament and fifth at state for Inglemoor in the spring.
Over the last two to three years, Demerath has won a few PNW tournaments and some level-three and -four national tourneys.
Demerath is thrilled to be part of the Inglemoor team after helping her mom and coach, Jane, with the Viks the last four years and watching her older sisters, Marie and Sabrina, shine for the squad.
“My sisters did a really good job here and I’d like to follow in their footsteps,” Brooke said. Marie, 30, played at Eastern Washington University, and Sabrina, 21, played at Utah State University. Between them, they netted six 4A KingCo singles titles and three seconds and a third at state.
“Watching them both has helped me become a better player, ‘cause they give me tips of things that they learned,” Brooke said. “I’m a very aggressive player, I’d like to think. I love my forehand, ‘cause that’s the stroke I use to end most points. But then I also really like my backhand, because last year I had a wrist injury and so I couldn’t hit any forehands for about two months. So that entire time, I just worked on my backhand and improved a lot.”
The former competitive swimmer and soccer player really got serious about tennis a few years ago and was part of the stellar Northshore Junior High (now Northshore Middle School) squad, which has now reeled off four consecutive undefeated seasons under coaches Gary Pilawski and Dan Martin.
“I love the feeling of striking the ball,” said Brooke, who noted that huge hits are just one of her favorite aspects of the tennis world.
“I love the people, I love the atmosphere and the whole community and how close and tight-knit it is,” she said. “Now that I’m at a higher level, I love traveling for it. It just makes everything more exciting to be at a new level.”
Demerath trains at the Eastside Tennis Center in Kirkland and at the Redmond Tennis Club, and it’s there where she pushes herself to qualify for zonals and watches other players sweat it out to elevate their games.
“It really shows you how hard everyone works to be there and it makes me want to work harder because nothing is given,” she said.
The Reporter asked Demerath a series of questions for a behind-the-scenes glimpse into her life.
What’s your favorite restaurant in the area?
I really like this place in Juanita called Noppakao. I love Asian food and they have the best Thai food I’ve ever eaten.
What’s your dream vacation spot?
I would definitely say Germany. I always loved it. My dad is half German and I’ve been starting to learn German.
What’s something that’s unique about you that somebody might not know?
I’m actually ambidextrous. I was growing up a lefty, and then seeing my sisters both being righties, I thought I was doing it wrong. So I forced myself to be a righty, so now I can write left-handed or right, I play tennis right-handed, but then I golf, I play soccer lefty.
Who’s your idol?
Either my sister Marie or Sabrina, just ‘cause I’ve watched them grow up and I’ve watched them do everything, and all the struggles they went through, but how amazing they’ve done. Everything I am is ‘cause of them. I mimic them like no other.
What’s your favorite kind of music?
I’m very into the old stuff. I would say ’70s, ‘80s, a little bit of ‘60s. Billy Joel is really one of my favorites.
What’s your favorite movie?