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Tennis: US coach Nick Bollettieri is dead


He formed numerous world stars at his academy, and the list of his former students is prominent. But his methods were also controversial. Tennis coach Nick Bollettieri has died at the age of 91.

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Nick Bollettieri


imago sport photo service / imago images/Hasenkopf

The tennis world mourns the loss of coaching legend Nick Bollettieri.

The American died on Monday at the age of 91, according to the IMG Academy he founded.

A few weeks ago, Bollettieri's daughter announced that her father was about to move "to the next place."

Former Wimbledon finalist Sabine Lisicki said goodbye to her former coach via Twitter: »You gave so many children a place to live their dreams.

You supported her with your knowledge and belief that anything is possible.

You shaped the game of tennis.

You are greatly missed.

Rest in peace, Nick."

Former pro Tommy Haas wrote on Instagram: "Thank you for your time, your knowledge, your commitment, your expertise, your willingness to share your skills, your personal interest in mentoring me and giving me the best opportunity to achieve my dreams follow.

You were a dreamer and a doer and a pioneer in our sport, really one of a kind.«

Bollettieri, who was married eight times, worked until old age in his tennis academy in Bradenton/Florida, where he formed numerous stars since 1978.

These included Andre Agassi, Monica Seles, Maria Sharapova, Williams sisters Venus and Serena, Jim Courier and Anna Kurnikova.

Most came to him early, some as children.

At times, Boris Becker and Haas also relied on the expertise of Bollettieri, who was born Nicholas James Bollettieri on July 31, 1931 in Pelham/New York.

As successful as it is controversial

There have also been criticisms of his methods (read more here), for example from Agassi, who in his autobiography, Open, described Bollettieri's Academy as a "better prison camp" with constant pressure and "cutting competition."

John McEnroe called him a "charlatan" and knew nothing about tennis.

Martina Navratilova, who saw the danger of teenage burnout in the tennis academy trend pushed by Bollettieri, was also a prominent critic.

But Bollettieri stuck to his convictions.

»Success consists of blood, sweat, tears, frustration and the determination to achieve it« was his firm belief, which he shared on the occasion of his 90th birthday.

Bollettieri was not an outstanding tennis player himself.

He served as a paratrooper in the Marine Corps, studied law, and then tried his luck as a coach.

It wasn't until 2014, well after some of his students, that he was finally inducted into the Tennis Hall of Fame.

Bollettieri formed a total of ten later world number ones.

In 1987 he sent 37 current or former students into the race at Wimbledon.


Source: spiegel

All sports articles on 2022-12-05

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