Players to Watch – Simone Jardim
She is one of the most recognizable names in the world of pickleball and like most of pickleball’s elite players, Simone Jardim’s ascent in the sport began on the tennis courts. Jardim moved to the United States at the age of 18 and quickly made a name for herself in the sport of tennis. She spent two years at Auburn before transferring to Fresno State where she was a two-time All American. At one point for the Bulldogs, Jardim and her doubles partner, Kim Niggemeyer were ranked number one in the country.
After graduation, Jardim coached college tennis at Fresno State, College of William and Mary and then in the Big Ten for Michigan State, where she coached the Spartans for eight years. She was first introduced to pickleball in January of 2015 and made the move to Naples, FL. August of 2016 to start her Pickleball coaching and playing career and most importantly spend more time with family. “When I started playing pickleball it was really about getting a good workout as I enjoyed playing singles a lot, but soon it became about the friends I made and how much fun we had playing on Wednesday nights.”
She currently resides in Naples, Florida where along with husband, Chad Edwards they run Peak Performance Pickleball Academy.
Simone is also one of the sport’s most decorated players having won nearly 90 overall medals in tournament action, 70 of them being gold.
“It was very addicting and one of my favorite things to do,” recalls Jardim. “After playing a couple of tournaments I realized that this was more than a hobby and that the sport would pick up a lot of former athletes and growth would be inevitable.”
The 2017 USAPA Nationals women’s singles champion, a native of Brazil, also teamed with Corrine Carr to capture Women’s Doubles at the ’17 Nationals. The duo then won gold at the 2018 US Open, a tournament in which Jardim also took home gold in the Pro Women’s singles defeating Lucy Kovalova. A mixed doubles gold medal would soon follow with partner Kyle Yates. Having also won all three events at the 2017 US Open, Jardim is a two-time defending Triple Crown winner!
Simone and her husband Chad Edwards are the proud parents of two children, Alexas, 10 years old and Landon who will celebrate his six birthday during this year’s Margaritaville USA Pickleball National Championships. By the way, Simone will turn 40 during the week as well!
As with most pickleball enthusiasts, Jardim is excited about the growth of the sport and sees its potential to expand around the world. “I believe that for pickleball to become an Olympic sport it would have to grow in Asia. For now, I’m just hoping we continue to see more prize money in professional events which will attract more talent.