Country Girl

After recently purchasing a three-acre farm and becoming a fan of country music, Simone Jardim has gone back to her roots.

Written by
Deborah Lew
June 23, 2023
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Country Girl

Growing up in Santa Maria, Brazil, Simone Jardim frequently vacationed on farms where she rode horses and was able to interact with animals. Her father, Jose-Osvaldo, was a large animal veterinarian.

It comes as no surprise, then, that more than 25 years after moving to the United States to play tennis at Auburn University, Jardim and her husband, Chad Edwards, are settled on a three-acre farm in Naples, Florida, where they are raising their two children, Alexas, aged 13, and Landon, aged nine. The family has five dogs - yes, five - and plays host to a slew of wildlife, including rabbits; squirrels; black bears; and once, a bobcat.

The property consists of plenty of green space with many trees, where Jardim has taken up gardening. She doesn’t plan on growing anything to eat, so as to not encourage the wildlife population, but her dogs, a border collie mix named Charlie, a pit bull and lab mix named Molly, a cavachon named Mocha, and two goldendoodles named Chloe and Cookie, keep the farm well-patrolled.

There may not be any crops, but Jardim’s farm has something arguably more important - an indoor pickleball court where she gets to teach and practice.

“A couple years ago, I was able to make a huge profit on a house that we had bought, because the prices have gone up so much. So then I was able to buy this place, needed work, but it was three acres with a building in the back, and kind of a no brainer that, you can always remodel a house, but the lot was sensational. And with a building in the back, you can't beat that. So we put a pickleball court inside, and then been remodeling the house as we work for the past year,” says Jardim, who loves to come home from her busy touring schedule to the wide open space. “It's the best decision I ever made. Land is is gold, really.”

As if inspired by her surroundings, about a year-and-a-half ago, Jardim began listening to country music for the first time, and has been going to as many concerts and festivals as possible ever since.

“My favorite thing lately has been going to concerts,” gushes Jardim, who had just returned from the CMA Fest in Nashville, Tennessee. “Our son and daughter went to their first concert ever and it happened to be an amazing lineup. There’s a video of my son singing to Dierks Bentley at the concert.”

Bentley, who has won numerous Country Music Association and Academy of Country Music awards, is big into pickleball, as are his bandmates, and they gave Jardim and her family tickets to the event. One of Bentley’s guitarists, Ben Helson, is an avid pickleball player, whom Jardim’s family has played with.

Jardim and her husband have also attended Rock the Ocean’s Tortuga Music Festival, an annual multi-stage festival on Fort Lauderdale Beach, which brings awareness to ocean conservation. In addition to Bentley, Jardim’s favorite country artists at the moment include Luke Combs, whom she’s hoping to be able to see in concert this summer, as well as Eric Church, her favorite part of this year’s Tortuga Festival back in April. If she had to pick two favorite songs at the moment, they’d be “Gold” by Bentley, and “Human” by Cody Johnson.

While there’s obviously an athletic side, and now we know there’s the country side, what many people don’t realize about Jardim is that there is also a very feminine side. She loves shopping, dresses, and dressing up.

“I don’t get to do it as much - I don’t get to do it ever, actually, with the pickleball life. Very seldom,” confesses Jardim about getting dolled up. “But yeah, that’s kind of one thing that a lot of people don’t know about me.”

Although her most recent shopping weakness has been boots - surprise, surprise - her all-time number one thing to shop for is dresses, something she has always loved to wear. Some of her favorite shops to frequent include Buckle, White House Black Market, Express, and Lucky Brand.

When she’s not winning APP tournaments, rocking out at a country concert, being a mom of two, shopping for dresses, or cleaning mud off a goldendoodle, Jardim somehow finds the time to share her passion and talent for pickleball via her Peak Performance Pickleball Academy, which she operates with her husband. They offer pickleball camps for aspiring players, mostly in Florida, to limit their additional travel. After coaching college tennis for 14 years at Fresno State, William & Mary, and Michigan State, teaching has become a part of who she is.

“When I started playing pickleball there wasn’t a whole lot of tournament play going on. Money wasn’t really there on the pro level, it was very little. So teaching was kind of the only way to make good money,” recalls Jardim. “Sponsorships especially weren’t quite there, so teaching was the first thing that I did coming into pickleball.”

Having idolized Steffi Graf and Roger Federer growing up, she was the head tennis coach at Michigan State when she was asked to play pickleball at the Michigan Athletic Club. At the time, she had no idea what pickleball was, but accepted the invitation anyway. She began playing singles at lunchtime just for the workout, and eventually got into doubles. She has built quite the career for herself over the last seven years.

This season, heading in the Newport Beach Open, Jardim has won a total of eight medals - five gold, one silver, and two bronze. Jardim is a two-time triple crown winner of the US Open Pickleball Championships and has more career gold medals than anyone else on the APP Tour. Pickleball has afforded Jardim many opportunities, which she is immensely grateful for, and it has also taught her about having resilience in life.

“One of the things about resilience that has been always with me is never give up on anything. That’s kind of how I think pickleball has been in several stages of my career, up and down, and you have to wake up in the morning and keep on going and keep on trucking,” advises Jardim, who does actually drive a truck. “That’s kind of how I feel about life in general, you know, there are bad days and there are good days and you’ve just got to keep on fighting.”

Sounds like the beginning of the next chart-topping country hit.

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