His eternal tan, his permanent smile a bit carnivorous and his unwavering self-confidence almost made him a caricature of America dominating the world.
On his courts at the “Nick Bollettieri Tennis Academy” (IMG Academy) and under the Florida sun, the greatest players on the planet have played: Boris Becker, Jim Courier, Pete Sampras and so many others.
Nicholas James Bollettieri, better known as Nick Bollettieri, one of the greatest coaches in tennis history has died at the age of 91.
“Nickiiiiii, that's what I've called you the longest.
Thank you for your time, your knowledge, your commitment, your expertise, your willingness to share your skills, your personal interest in guiding me and giving me the best opportunity to achieve my dreams.
You were a dreamer and an actor, and a pioneer in our sport, truly one of a kind” commented the former world number 2, the German Tommy Haas, one of his former students.
Nick Bollettieri has passed away: the farewell of a tennis legend: In the end he didnand#039;t make it: Nick Bollettieri died on December 4, 2022, after there had been rumors about his deteriorating health in recent weeks https:// t.co/yPwQ9DLgLQ
— Tennis World USA (@TennisWorlden) December 5, 2022
The first life of Bollettieri born on July 31, 1931 in the State of New York led him in the flag and in the Marine Corps at the end of the Second World War.
After graduating in philosophy from the University of Mobile in Alabama and after having started studying law, which he quickly abandoned, he became interested in 1956 in a sport still reserved at that time for an elite: tennis.
A credo: the fighting spirit
He becomes a monitor.
For 20 years, he is a trainer like there are thousands on the planet.
He is notably the tennis director of a hotel in Puerto Rico.
Nothing particularly distinguishes him from the others except his method.
To train future champions, Nick Bollettieri has only one credo: the development of the "fighting spirit", self-confidence, the desire to fight even when all is lost.
He who doubts has no place at home.
Former soldier, the UV-shot coach imposes infernal cadences on players who agree to work with him.
In 1978, Bollettieri founded his academy in Bradenton on the west coast of Florida: “He transformed 40 acres of tomato fields into an epicenter of sport and performance known throughout the world” summarizes ESPN.
Here, tennis is not just a game. Under the smile, the IMG Academy sometimes looks like an army camp.
Lights out at 9 p.m.;
fixed times for training, meals;
limiting outings and family gatherings;
tobacco, soft drinks prohibited and in the event of breaches of the rules, the sanctions are severe: Mr. Bollettieri does not laugh with discipline.
“Young people have to get used to what they see as injustice.
A good mind is 80% good physical and vice versa” he says in his brochures.
Some, more and more over time, denounce his methods too harsh for young children.
In more than 40 years, hundreds of apprentices go to the Academy and not all of them end up champions, broken by the infernal rhythms: “I play almost six hours a day and I feel that I am progressing a lot.
Now I put more topspin, so I make fewer mistakes.
In the morning, from 5:30 a.m. to 7 a.m., I train with Nick.
When we work well, he is happy.
But, sometimes, he shouts very loudly.
One day, someone did not finish an exercise, he threatened to fire him "testified in 2006 in our columns one of his recruits, Pierre Durali (10 years old at the time) who from Bagnolet had crossed the Atlantic to work with the master.
He was a great hope.
16 years later, he is no longer ranked at the ATP.
POV: You are strolling through Eddie Herr!#ScenicSunday pic.twitter.com/JefrytbuJf
— IMG Academy (@IMGAcademy) December 4, 2022
For others, the Bollettieri method works wonderfully.
Serena Williams, Maria Sharapova, Jim Courier, Boris Becker, Monica Seles, Anna Kournikova, Tommy Haas went to his house.
In 1982, the father of a player from Las Vegas discovered Nick Bollettieri in a television report.
His military methods are not hidden but it catches the eye of the father who sends his offspring to Florida.
This 12-year-old kid's name is Andre Agassi.
His father pays the first three months of registration for $3,000 but no longer has the means to continue the adventure.
No matter: Bollettieri who smells the vein welcomes him for free.
Agassi will make his glory and his fame.
In total, 10 world number 1s have been students in the Bollettieri academy.