Simone Jardim’s Retirement – Random Thoughts
Authored by Gritty
The big news coming from yesterday was from Simone Jardim’s live stream on Facebook. Simone announced at the beginning of the live stream that she is retiring from playing professional pickleball after the 2022 calendar year. It’s an announcement that wasn’t quite out of nowhere, but it is still fairly shocking. Simone is unquestionably the best female pickleball player of all time and until as recently as a few months ago, she was the clear #1 women’s player in the world. While the sport of pickleball continues to get younger as a whole, Jardim is only 42 years old.
It sounds like Jardim is going through a real rough stretch personally. She faced her first real bout of adversity as a professional in the latter half of 2021 with injuries and lost partnerships. Jardim gave her version of how her partnerships ended with Ben Johns and Lucy Kovalova on the live stream. In summary, her account is that sometime in October she went to Ben and Lucy to tell them she would take the remainder of the year off due to her injuries, and told them that they should look to find new partners, which they did. However, upon getting further medical advice, she determined she would be able to play but didn’t want to ask Ben and Lucy to drop their new partners. So she found new partners for 2022 and then some of those new partners bailed on her. Here is a brief clip of Simone’s version of the partnership situation below:
To say that we’re both a bit skeptical to 100% accept Jardim’s version of events is likely an understatement. Regardless, it is clear Jardim is going through a tough time in her life both professionally and personally. She said on the podcast that she’s struggling with her mental health. 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.
Although this is pretty big news for the pickleball world, I don’t think it is a leap to say that we could have a far more toned-down Brett Favre situation on our hands here. 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.
I’m also curious how her still committed 2022 partners feel about this announcement. Her partners have to be worried about getting a fully engaged Simone when she steps on the court. She also had some odd comments about partnerships during her live stream that I did not fully understand:
Jardim is not going to be 43 until next November. Currently, you can play high level pickleball in your 40s when healthy – Matt Wright, Steve Deakin, Erik Lange and Lee Whitwell to name a few. If she gets healthy, I don’t think anyone will be surprised to see Simone get some good results. Our understanding was that Simone had JW Johnson and Lea Jansen lined up in some capacity as regular partners for 2022. Assuming neither of those players backed out, both of them are more than strong enough to medal with a healthy Simone consistently.
Simone has announced a future retirement during a very emotional time. As we have seen with other professional athletes, retirements announced in those circumstances don’t always last. If she gets some results in 2022, her mind may very well change at some point. This retirement is definitely big news right now but we’re in wait and see mode over here to see whether the retirement is for real.
Agree or disagree? Let us know in the comments below or email us at email@example.com
17 thoughts on “Simone Jardim’s Retirement – Random Thoughts”
I feel for Simone, and wish her the best in recovery. However, based on her comments about partnerships and tournaments I can understand why the partners that she had lined up bailed as soon as possible. Apparently being “in sync” with her is being willing to let her pull out of any given tournament, possibly day of, if ‘she’s not feeling up to it’. Hopefully that’s a bit dramatic and not actually the case but that’s how it sounded to me.
i think it’s a recognition by a very smart mature person of where the pro game is headed and how aging effects level. She has a bright future as a leader of clinics, and quite likely top level coaching of juniors, and pro players alike.
Who cares. I don’t blame her partners for backing out. Her comments about dropping out if it doesn’t help her bottom line is selfish to her partners and the fans. But hey that appearance fee for just showing up to tourneys is more than worth it I’m sure. PPA how u like that deal now?
Hi Kevin – Since I produced the livestream shown above, I think it’s only fair to clear up something here. I believe the sentence that you interpreted as her saying “help my bottom line” was actually her saying something closer to “help my body and mind”….there was a short interruption in her connection which caused that glitch. And I believe her intent was to state that she wants to prioritize her health (mental and physical) in 2022, and feels that some partnerships can either help or get in the way of being healthy.
I guess I have been living under a rug. I’ve been wondering why Simone has been absent. Thanks for the info. I hate that she is struggling.
I wish her the best. It’s an emotional time, and pickleball doesn’t bring the money that allows big-time professional athletes to have a retirement statement perfectly crafted by a PR team.
Definitely a tough time and we wish her the best in her recovery
“Fall from grace”? What? Really? I think that is an absurd statement. How has she fallen from grace? She has a huge fan base, a huge personal training clientele base. Huge clinic draw. An established training academy in Naples. I hope she reads what you wrote and uses it to stoke that competitive fire to beat your ass up and down all over the court. She will not go silently into the night. 💪 Go Simone will be the new court battle cry. C’mon! Let’s Go! 😲
We could have clarified the fall from grace is strictly from a pickleball playing perspective and I don’t think there’s any denying the fall has been big from that standpoint
A fall from grace? Getting injured and not being able to compete at 100% is hardly what I would refer to as a fall from grace. Her record against other pro players, of every age group, speaks for itself. Dumb statement. Pisses me off, actually.
I respectfully disagree. It is not due to fault of her own but in a very short span of a few months she has gone from undisputed #1 female in the game to announcing her retirement at the end of 22. If that’s not a fall from grace, I’m not sure what is.
Maybe she is just one of the few #1 pros in any sport with the good sense to go out on top.
There’s quite a bit of snark here that I don’t feel like is deserved, especially when you’re talking about someone’s of Simone’s stature.
The Brett Favre comparison is unwarranted. This isn’t a dramatic drawn out contract negotiation or a billion dollar organization anointing a new successor. It’s just a human being who has given her life to the game.
Pickleball isn’t big enough or rich enough for us to already have inflammatory Jim Rome esque journalists. I wish Simone the best and hope to see her play this year in person.
Appreciate the perspective. We wish her the best in her recovery as well. But ultimately we are going to give our honest thoughts regardless of a player’s standing in the game and that’s what we have tried to do here
I listened to Simone’s Facebook Live, and took notes. As a retired TV Sports Producer, I have listened to hundreds of athletes’ press conferences. Here are the quotes that stood out to me:
“Throughout this time, I forgot who I was and where I came from and my family and what I represent to them, and what I stand for, I think mostly.”
“I owe it to myself to not change what I believe in.”
“I don’t know what I am going to do, I have no clue, but I know that this (pickleball) is no longer what I want to do.”
“Pickleball is a big part of my life, but it’s small in comparison to everything else, which again are family, health are so much more important.”
Pingback: APP Tour Beer City Open – 5 Takeaways – Long Live Queen Simone – NML Pickleball
Pingback: APP Tour Mesa and PPA Tour National Championship – 7 Taekaways – Simone Jardim Not Done Yet – NML Pickleball