Tennis: WTA names Steve Simon as new CEO to replace Stacey Allaster

The Women's Tennis Association (WTA) has named Steve Simon (left) as the new chief executive officer of the women's tour.
The Women's Tennis Association (WTA) has named Steve Simon (left) as the new chief executive officer of the women's tour. PHOTO: WOMEN'S TENNIS ASSOCIATION WEBSITE

SINGAPORE - The Women's Tennis Association (WTA) has named Steve Simon as the new chief executive officer of the women's tour.

The American replaces Stacey Allaster, who stepped down from the position after six years as chief in order to spend more time with her family.

Simon is the tournament director and chief operating officer of the BNP Paribas Open Indian Wells tournament. He also sits on the WTA's board of directors.

In a statement released early Tuesday morning, the WTA board said: "Steve Simon, with his successful career leading one of tennis' most prestigious tournaments, is the perfect person to run the WTA. 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."

The Indian Wells tournament, which Simon has run since 2004, is widely regarded as the "fifth Major". It is the largest two-week combined tournament outside of the Grand Slams, and also the most attended WTA and ATP World Tour tournament in the world.

Simon will join the WTA immediately after winding down his role in California, and is expected to be with the WTA full-time at its headquarters in Florida from the end of November.

He said: "I am humbled and at the same time very excited about the opportunity that has been presented to me by the Board. 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."

He has already gotten a ringing endorsement from some of the most prominent names within the women's Tour, among them former and current greats.

Said WTA founder Billie Jean King: "Steve Simon is the right person for the job. His track record is marked by success. He is thoughtful, respectful and he has excellent business judgment."

Added world No. 1 Serena Williams, who played the tournament for the first time this year after a 14-year absence: "When I returned to Indian Wells this year, Steve could not have been more helpful, professional and supportive. I know how much he cares about the opinions of the players. He's a good listener and he has our best interests in mind."