Gilles Simon is a French professional tennis player who is currently ranked World No. 7 and is the French No. 2 behind Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. After turning pro in 2002, it took him five years to claim his first ATP Tour title, the 2007 Marseille Open. To date, he has won five ATP tournaments. Simon's profile has increased considerably in recent months after high-profile victories over Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer in big tournaments.
Simon began his professional tennis career in the summer of 2002, starting with Futures tournaments held throughout France before gradually branching out to other countries. He won his first Futures title in Lisbon, Portugal, in June 2003, and reached the quarterfinals of three other tournaments before capturing his second title in Jamaica in September of the same year. During 2004 he saw three wins in France and another in Algeria, thus collecting a total of 3 hard, 2 clay, and 1 carpet Future titles.
Simon is one of the eight men to beat both Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal since they assumed the #1 and #2 positions; the other seven men being David Nalbandian,Tomáš Berdych, Novak ?okovi?, Fernando González, Andy Roddick, Andy Murray, James Blake. He managed to do this feat in two Masters Series events in Canada and Madrid.
Simon is one of the four men to beat Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic since they assumed #1, #2 and #3 positions; the others being Andy Roddick, Andy Murray and David Nalbandian.
In January 2005, he won his first ATP Challenger tournament (on hard court) in Nouméa, New Caledonia, and defended it the following year.
Ranked as World No. 113, Simon made his Grand Slam debut at the 2005 French Open, but lost in the first round to compatriot Olivier Patience in four sets.
During the Australian Open, Simon beat Chilean Nicolás Massú and Czech Tomas Berdych (who were 62 and 100 ranks ahead of him, respectively) before losing to No. 13 Thomas Johansson in the third Round. After this Grand Slam result, he broke into the Top 100 for the first time, climbing from No. 123 to No. 89.
The Frenchman reached his first ATP Tour final in Valencia with wins over Andreas Seppi in the quarterfinal and Fernando Verdasco in the semifinal but ultimately fell to Nicolas Almagro, giving the Spaniard his first ATP title. Afterwards he got to the semifinals of Casablanca, as well as the Round of 16 in both the ATP Masters Series tournaments held in Monte Carlo and Hamburg.
At the 2006 Australian Open
The rest of the year was rather forgettable, however, with only two quarterfinals and a few first- or second-round losses. The only bright side for Simon was his progress in the rankings -- he broke into the Top 50 in May and managed to stay in the upper 40s/lower 50s for the rest of the season, finishing as the World No. 45 in December.
Already by mid-February, this year began to be more fruitful for the Frenchman than the last. After a slow start in January, Simon kicked it up a notch -- with victories over Lleyton Hewitt, Jonas Björkman, Robin Soderling and Marcos Baghdatis all in a row, he was finally rewarded with his first ATP title in Marseille, throughout which he did not drop a set.
In Dubai, he avenged his loss to German player Philipp Kohlschreiber from the week before in Rotterdam; in the second round of Indian Wells, he bageled Tommy Robredo in the third set for the win (at the time the Spaniard was ranked No. 7 in the world).
In September, he won his second title in Bucharest.
He broke into the Top 30 for the first time on November 5 and ended the year as No. 29 in the world.
By the end of the year, his career record against Top 10 players was 4–5. Although three of those losses were from Robredo, two of the wins were over the World No. 4 Russian Nikolay Davydenko.
Simon reached the quarterfinals in Marseille, defeating World No. 3 Novak Djokovic 6–2, 6–7(6), 6–3 in the second round, and the semifinals in Rotterdam the next week. Later during the grass court season, he reached the Nottingham Open quarterfinals.
In May, he won his third ATP title in Casablanca as a qualifier, with four of his five matches playing against fellow Frenchmen.
After his 3rd-round loss to countryman Richard Gasquet at Wimbledon, Simon decided to leave Europe for the United States earlier than he normally would have with the hope of getting used to the hard courts as well as the blistering hot summer weather before the back-to-back Masters Series events in Toronto and Cincinnati. Going into the Indianapolis Tennis Championships, Simon's world ranking was a career-best No. 25, and it was his first time playing in this particular US Open Series event. He battled his way through the heat, and made it to the final, where he defeated the defending champion Dmitry Tursunov in straight sets, 6–4, 6–4. This was the only match of the tournament in which Simon did not play 3 sets. This win meant Simon his 2nd title of the year and 4 ATP titles overall.
The following week, he continued his winning streak at the Rogers Cup in Toronto, including a 2–6, 7–5, 6–4 win over World No. 1 Roger Federer in the second round, before being ultimately stopped in the semifinal round by German veteran Nicolas Kiefer; up until that point, Simon had won nine matches in a row. Afterwards, he not only broke into the Top 20 for the first time but also the Top 15, moving up eight ranks from No. 22 to No. 14, a mere three ranks behind the French No. 1, Richard Gasquet. He would have had a chance of immediate revenge against Kiefer as they had been drawn to face each other in the first round of the Cincinnati Masters if Kiefer had not withdrawn from the tournament due to injury. Instead, Simon played American lucky loser Rajeev Ram. However, his run was cut short when he lost in the second round to James Blake.
Simon participated in the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, playing in the singles for France alongside Paul-Henri Mathieu, Michaël Llodra, and Gaël Monfils. He played doubles with Monfils, while Llodra and Arnaud Clément made up the other French pair. Although Simon and Monfils lost in the first round to the Indian team of Bhupathi and Paes, in singles the Frenchman reached the 3rd Round. He saw victories over the Swede Robin Söderling and the Argentine Guillermo Cañas before falling to the American James Blake again.
At the US Open, Simon was seeded 16th. On Day 6, he lost in the 3rd Round to the #17 seed Juan Martín del Potro 4–6, 7–6(4), 1–6, 6–3, 3–6 in an epic 5-set match that lasted 3 hours and 47 minutes.
On September 14, Simon won his 3rd title of the year as well as his 5th ATP title defeating former World No. 1 Carlos Moyà 6–3, 6–4 at the 2008 BCR Open Romania. Simon entered the 2008 Madrid Masters the following month, defeating seeds such as No. 11 James Blake and No. 14 Ivo Karlovi? to reach the semifinals of the tournament. Impressed, the Spanish press nicknamed Simon el superviviente ("the survivor") for clawing through successive 3-set matches and saving five match points against Andreev and Ginepri.In the semifinals, he stunned World No. 1 Rafael Nadal in 3 sets 3–6, 7–5, 7–6(6), saving 17 break points (7 in the final set) in a match that lasted 3 hours and 23 minutes. His amazing run to the finals ended in a loss to British Andy Murray in straight sets, 4–6, 6–7(6). All the same, the tournament boosted Simon to a career high of World No. 10, allowing him to displace Richard Gasquet as French No. 1 and captain of the néo-Mousquetaires.
On November 3, he qualified for the Tennis Masters Cup, a tournament usually reserved for the world's top eight players, in Shanghai, after Rafael Nadal had to withdraw due to knee complications and fatigue. He was drawn in the red group with Roger Federer, Andy Murray, and Andy Roddick. In his first round robin match he beat Federer, the defending champion, for the second time that year, with the score of 4–6, 6–4, 6–3. Simon lost to Murray in his next match, 6–4, 6–2, but followed it up with a victory over Radek Stepanek (a replacement for the injured Roddick) 6–1, 6–4, giving him an opportunity to qualify for the semifinals. After Murray defeated Federer in the final round robin match, Simon qualified for the semifinals, where lost to world No. 3 Novak Djokovic in three sets, the final score being 4–6, 6–3, 7–5. After this, he rose to a career high of world number seven.