The WTA announced the naming a new CEO, he is former Indian Wells tournament director Steve Simon. Simon will replace the outgoing Stacey Allaster who abruptly announced her resignation a few weeks ago.
“Steve Simon, with his successful career leading one of tennis’ most prestigious tournaments, is the perfect person to run the WTA,” the WTA Board said in a statement. “Steve produced results, pursued excellence and he kept innovating, making the fan experience even better. He has a very clear vision for the sport and is held in high regard by all.”
Simon has run the Indian Wells tournament since 2004. Outside of the Grand Slams, it has become the largest two-week combined tournament and is the most attended WTA and ATP World Tour tennis tournament in the world.
“I am humbled and at the same time very excited about the opportunity that has been presented to me by the Board,” Simon said. “I will be focused on building upon the successful platforms that have been put in place by my predecessors, Stacey Allaster and Larry Scott, with a sole focus on driving excellence and innovation, while creating a premium experience for the fans.”
Several players, who have played Indian Wells under Simon and billionaire Larry Ellison, approved the hiring.
“Steve is a strong leader and someone who thinks big about our sport,” said Maria Sharapova. “Every year, Indian Wells gets more innovative and better. I’m glad to see him become our CEO.”
“He knows what fans want and he does a great job helping the players too,” said Caroline Wozniacki. “He has the right business skills, player relationships and smarts to run this tour. The tour is already very successful and I’m sure it will be even more so now. I think he and Micky Lawler will make a great mixed doubles team.”
Simon will be fulltime starting November 30th.
Among the issues facing Simon including grunting, penalties for top players like Serena Williams for skipping events like the WTA Finals, adding new sponsors, the recent spate of withdrawals and retirements, and increasing tournaments, especially in the U.S. where the WTA footprint continues to erode.
And Simon comes in at a time when the future of the WTA is in some doubt once Serena, Venus and Maria retire. Who will sponsors pay big money to see?
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