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Simone Jardim: The Heart and Soul of Pickleball

Simone Jardim: Simone Jardim originally from Brazil and now based in Naples, Florida, has transitioned from Division 1 tennis to become a distinguished figure in pickleball. Her career highlights include two Triple Crown victories at the US Open, symbolizing her dedication and skill in the sport. Reflecting on pickleball’s rapid growth from grassroots beginnings to a global phenomenon, Simone sees parallels with her own journey, emphasizing the sport’s appeal and accessibility across generations. In an exclusive interview, she discusses her career, the evolving landscape of pickleball, and her vision for its future, highlighting her role in shaping the sport’s enduring legacy.

A Second Opportunity in Sports

Transitioning from tennis to pickleball was a thrilling challenge for Simone Jardim. She embraced it as a second chance in sports, drawing on resilience and a passion for community created  during her college tennis career. Simone never felt pressured by the transition; instead, she found renewed purpose and joy in pickleball, where she continues to excel and inspire.

I never felt the pressure… I was getting a second opportunity with sports. So it didn’t really faze me, and I always enjoy being part of a community. I don’t think you can tell, but I’m pretty outgoing, so I just enjoy being part of a new community.” – Jardim

The Unstoppable Growth of Pickleball

Simone marvels at how pickleball has skyrocketed from zero to global recognition. She talked about the early days when few knew the sport. Today, pickleball commercials dominate television screens, a statement to its explosive growth. This newfound visibility has transformed her life, shifting her from anonymity to a recognizable figure.

“Back in the day, people had no clue what pickleball was. Now, you watch TV, and there are like two or three commercials per hour about pickleball. Now you go from like ‘What is pickleball?’ to ‘I’ve seen you play.'”- Jardine

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The Joy of Coaching

Beyond her on-court achievements, Simone is deeply invested in nurturing the next generation of players. She and her husband have fully embraced coaching, relocating to Nashville to cultivate young talent. Her coaching philosophy is straightforward: she loves what she does and believes in doing what brings joy. This approach shapes her coaching style, focusing on both technical skills and personal growth. Fellow players, like Richard Liveres, commend her dedication and hard work.

“I love what I do… If I’m not enjoying something, then what’s the point? That’s why I really am having fun, and Richard works hard, and that’s all you can ask for in a coach.” -Jardim

The Evolution of the Game

Simone offered insights into advancing in pickleball, from beginner to pro. She stressed the importance of practice and innovation. According to her, consistent play improves skill, but true excellence requires developing new shots and techniques. She also emphasized the value of studying the game, watching film, and learning from losses. 

“The 3.0 to me is the easiest path. The more you play, the better you get, but to truly excel, you need to develop new shots and techniques. People need to watch and learn from their losses… that exposes some of your weaknesses.” – Jardim

The Community Spirit

Simone Jardim, amidst pickleball’s rapid commercialization, holds firm in her belief that the sport’s sense of community will endure. Beyond its commercial expansion, she emphasizes that pickleball’s unique community aspect thrives on closeness and the shared joy it brings. This communal spirit, integral to pickleball’s appeal, is rooted in the connections forged both on and off the court. Simone cherishes this aspect deeply and hopes it will persist as the sport evolves and attracts a broader audience. 

“Pickleball brings a unique sense of community because of the proximity and the laughter it fosters.”- Jardim

News in Brief: Simone Jardim

Simone Jardim and her husband have recently moved to Nashville to enhance their coaching efforts, building a new training facility aimed at developing future pickleball pros. Simone continues to compete at a high level, balancing her playing career with coaching and mentoring. Her journey from tennis star to pickleball legend is a testament to her dedication, passion, and commitment to the sport and its community. Her story inspires players and fans alike, proving that with heart and hard work, anything is possible.

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