Nick Bollettieri, famed tennis coach, dies aged 91


Nick Bollettieri, the famed tennis coach who taught the likes of the Williams sisters, Andre Agassi and Maria Sharapova, has died aged 91.

Bollettieri’s loss of life was confirmed by the IMG Academy, which Bollettieri is the founding father of, in a press release despatched to CNN.

“Anybody who knew Nick is aware of how a lot he cherished growing the potential in younger individuals, teaching tennis and this Academy,” Tim Pernetti, president of IMG Academy Bradenton – a division of IMG Academy – stated.

“Even in his final days, you might typically discover him on campus, teaching and mentoring younger student-athletes and workers with the identical ardour and enthusiasm as he did in his 20s. Our coronary heart goes out to his spouse, Cindi, and his youngsters. He has made a everlasting and lasting affect on all of us.”

Tommy Haas, former world No. 2 and considered one of Bollettieri’s former pupils, posted a heartfelt tribute on Instagram.

“So many reminiscences, I’m not positive the place to start. Nickiiiii, that’s how I’ve referred to as you for the longest time,” Haas wrote.

“Thanks to your time, data, dedication, experience, the willingness to share your ability, your private curiosity in mentoring me, and giving me the most effective alternative to comply with my desires. You have been a dreamer and a doer, and a pioneer in our sport, actually considered one of a sort.

“I absolutely will miss you across the academy, our Tennis talks, miss exhibiting of your tan, white enamel and physique fats, miss watching you do Tai Chi, miss enjoying Golf with you watching you attempt to cheat, consuming a Snickers bar and operating for the bushes, and listening to all about your plans even on the age of 91.

“Thanks once more for every part…….. RIP Nickiiiii.”

Born in Pelham, New York, Bollettieri turned his consideration to tennis teaching to earn cash on the facet whereas learning for a regulation diploma on the College of Miami. He had beforehand frolicked as a highschool soccer quarterback and a paratrooper within the navy.

In 1977, he based the Nick Bollettieri Tennis Academy – now the IMG Academy – after borrowing $1 million from a buddy to construct a live-in tennis academy for his college students.

Throughout over 30 years as a coach, Bollettieri grew to become one of the crucial sought-after lecturers in world tennis because of the success gamers had below him.

The Academy has since expanded into different males’s and girls’s sports activities, together with baseball, soccer and soccer.

In 2006, in an interview with CNN World Sport, the famed coach laid out his imaginative and prescient for profitable athletes, and the way they should be open to vary.

“The bodily and psychological a part of the sport can’t be secondary to your courtroom time,” he stated. “You should have a ardour for the sport and compete for each single level.”

He coached a number of grand slam winners and 10 world No. 1 gamers, together with Agassi, the Williams sisters, Sharapova, Boris Becker, Monica Seles and Anna Kournikova earlier than being inducted into the Worldwide Tennis Corridor of Fame in 2014.

Bollettieri outside his tennis academy.

2011 Wimbledon runner up and former world No. 12 Sabine Lisicki paid tribute to Bollettieri on her social media, saying: “Thanks Nick.”

“It’s exhausting to search out the precise phrases and I’m undecided if I’ll be capable to,” the German wrote.

“You’ve gotten given so many youngsters a spot to work for his or her dream. Supporting them along with your data and the consider that something is feasible. I used to be lucky to be considered one of them. So many reminiscences we created collectively that I’ll cherish ceaselessly.

“You’ve formed the sport of tennis and even simply a few months in the past at 92 you have been telling me all about your subsequent plans.

“You can be dearly missed. Relaxation In Peace Nicki.”

Jimmy Arias, former world No. 5 and considered one of Bollettieri’s unique college students, additionally paid tribute to him.

“Tennis wouldn’t be the place it’s at the moment with out Nick’s affect,” Arias stated.

“His tennis academy, which I had the privilege of rising up inside, not solely served as a launching pad for a lot of tennis greats however developed into an establishment that has had a profound affect on the event of athletes throughout many sports activities in any respect ranges.”