Steve Simon Stats
Born in Arcadia, CA
Resides in Indio, CA and Huntington Beach, CA
Played Junior, High School, College tennis
Played on the Satellite Tour
WTA Board Member (Tournament Class Director)
ATP Media Board Member
Tournament Director, BNP Paribas Open
Chief Operating Officer, Desert Champions
Web site http://www.iwtg.net
Steve Simon’s introduction to the sport of tennis at the age of 10 came through his father, who played Saturday mornings in Arcadia, CA. From there he went on to play junior tennis and continued playing on the High School team and in college. After trying hard to make it on the Satellite Tour until age 23 he decided to go into teaching tennis as a Pro at the Tustin Hills Racquet Club. Simon also owned a facility called the “Tennis Factory” in Austin, before working for Adidas USA in California for seven years.
In 1989 it was Charlie Pasarell who enticed Steve Simon and Ray Moore to come join him at the Indian Wells tournament which was at the time played at the Hyatt Grand Champion. Simon’s position entailed selling sponsorships and coordinating Television. Since then the team Pasarell, Moore, and Simon have been together, guiding the tournament through good times and not so good times. In 2003 Simon became the official Tournament Director, at a time when the tournament was called the Pacific Life Open. Today, many tennis fans consider the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells the “5th Grand Slam.”
Steve Simon points to extraordinary growth and changes over the years and says, “BNP Paribas Bank has a five year contract with the tournament, with an option to extend it another 5 years. We have met and exceeded their expectations and they are very happy with their investment.” He explains that “Desert Champions” owns the tournament and the sanction, with him at the helm as Chief Operating Officer. “Garden of Champions” is the organization that owns the stadium, the land, and manages year-round operations.
In addition to his duties for the Indian Wells tournament and the Tennis Garden, Simon serves on the Boards of WTA and ATP Media and finds time to play social tennis a couple of times a week for fun and exercise.
10 Questions for Steve Simon
- If you hadn’t gone into tennis, where would you have gone in life?
I would have become a lawyer.
- If you retired today, what would you do?
I would be coaching a High School tennis team, play tennis, golf, and work around the house.
- What is your favorite tennis book?
No favorite book
- Why do you think British tennis players have such a hard time winning Grand Slams?
It may be the pressure is too great while the environment is not the greatest. Tim Henman was a great player and Andy Murray still has a shot at a Slam.
- What is your favorite tennis tournament?
BNP Paribas Open and Wimbledon
- In Pro-Tennis, if you had the power to make a historic decision, what would you change today?
I would make sure the calendar is more balanced, aligning play time with broadcast time to get better broadcast windows.
- If you were able to start all over, what would you do different in regards to your tennis career?
I would not do anything different. I have been fortunate to stay involved in the tennis industry and was able to fulfill my dreams. Tennis is a true passion of mine and it is really a fun business.
- Are we in the USA doing the right things to develop future tennis champions?
The challenge we have in the USA is mainly the education system and the fact that there are so many sport opportunities kids can excel in. I think the kids need more competition at peer level, like it was done in the old days. Today kids can strike the ball real well, but can they play? To compete means hitting shots under pressure and raising one’s game when necessary.
- What can the USTA learn from other countries’ tennis associations?
Overall I think they are doing a good job. The USA is quite unique because of the size of our country. A smaller country with a smaller tennis federation and only 12 kids has it maybe a little easier. The question is ho are we progressing the kids and utilizing our resources better?
- Who is for you the greatest tennis player of all time?
The eras are not equal and so comparisons are difficult. In my era it was Laver, and then came Sampras. Now it’s Federer.
Thank you, Steve!
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