On her YouTube livestream last night, legendary pickleball pro Simone Jardim announced that she is retiring after six years on the competitive circuit in the wake of injuries:
“The good news,” Jardim says, is that she is healing from chronic torn hip labrum and hamstring injuries and is about “70-80 percent.”
She reflected that the sport has changed dramatically since she started. Recounting how she had to inform her partners Lucy Kovalova and Ben Johns that she needed to take time off, Jardim revealed her disappointment that new unnamed partners she had lined up backed out last-minute. “I’m getting myself back together,” she said, and told her audience that she’ll play her last scheduled tournaments in the coming year. She also divulged that she is struggling with mental health issues and “I need to take care of myself.”
Bottom line: “I am moving on.”
It’s the end of a historic era for Jardim, who set the standard for women’s pro pickleball. From her PPA page:
Simone Jardim, a native of Brazil, has had a dominant career in pickleball since turning pro in 2015. She has won more PPA titles than any other female player in history and currently holds the number one ranking in Women’s Doubles and Mixed Doubles. Although Jardim took a step back from Women’s Singles in 2021, she had held the number one Singles ranking up until that point. Jardim partners with #1 in the world Ben Johns in Mixed Doubles and #2 in the world Lucy Kovalova in Women’s Doubles.
A former tennis player, Jardim played for Fresno State University and later taught women’s college tennis. Called the “Queen of Pickleball” by many, Jardim is not only a phenomenal player, but also an ambassador for the sport. She owns Peak Performance Pickleball Academy, where she teaches full-time when she’s not traveling for tournaments. She partners with Nike Sports Camps to run clinics and has mentored a number of pro players. Jardim is also an outspoken advocate for pickleball, pro players, and the evolution of the sport.
Jardim is mother to two children, Alexas (12) and Landon (7) and lives in Naples, FL. She loves working out, hanging out with family and friends, listening to music, and watching movies or shows. She’s also an excellent dancer, thanks to her Brazilian roots and can often be spotted breaking out some of her moves on the pickleball court during practice and changeovers.
Jardim is a godmother of the sport and has inspired countless pickleballers young and old. As one YouTube commenter put it well: “I have enjoyed your inspirational play in tournaments and have learned so much from your YouTube channel. Sharing your skills and helping us develop a mental game through YouTube are a worthwhile career. Looking forward to watching you in 2022.”
Simone’s YouTube channel will undoubtedly continue to provide great content for pickleballers of all skill levels. Follow her here and send her good wishes and thanks.
Gritty at No Man’s Land Pickleball shares some interesting insights and commentary on Jardim’s livestream. First: “It has to be tough to have such a rapid fall from grace. If she’s dealing with personal life issues in addition to the professional struggles, that would be a heck of a lot for anyone to handle.”
Regarding Jardim’s public disclosures about new partnerships that fell through and how she values “loyalty,” Gritty has some sharp commentary about the natural cycle of changing partnerships…and Simone’s own path:
“Reading between the lines, it seems like this is a case of Simone struggling with losing two of the best players in the world as her doubles partners even if this is the circle of life in pickleball as was the case for her with Kyle Yates and Corrine Carr after 2019. Simone talked about loyalty on the live stream and, well, lack of loyalty can be a you know what when it’s you that has to go play the game of partnership musical chairs.”
Harsh, but true.
NML Pickleball also questions, given other pros’ retirement announcements that turned out to be premature, whether this is really a final swan song for Jardim.
We’ll be watching!