Nick Bollettieri, the man who shaped tennis

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Nick Bollettieri, the man who shaped tennis

Nick Bollettieri has died at the age of 91. The historic coach of the tennis world, American son of Italian immigrants of Neapolitan origins, and native of Pelham, according to many was one of the best coaches around and revolutionized this sport by introducing obsessive attention to physical preparation and respect for training discipline absolute.

Nick has shaped tennis, he has written indelible pages in the history of the Game, training many of the champions who have walked in the footsteps of the giants of the last tennis Eras. Bollettieri brought classic tennis into the future, starting from scratch and bringing out many champions.

Bollettieri was also the owner and founder of the Nick Bollettieri Tennis Academy, in which he welcomed and trained future great champions of world tennis from an early age. The news had already been circulating for a few weeks, with a post from the daughter declaring the precarious conditions of the father, now dying.

He himself had denied, but this morning Nick, so nicknamed, died in Bradenton. Bollettieri's name will certainly remain scratched in the history of this sport. Twelve of his players managed to reach the top of the ATP and WTA rankings: Andre Agassi, Jim Courier, Marcelo Rios, Pete Sampras, Capriati, Jelena Jankovic, Martina Hingis, Monica Seles, Maria Sharapova, Venus and Serena Williams.

The first tennis player directed by Bollettieri to reach the top position of the ATP rankings was the US champion Jim Courier. the American in 1993 then became the coach of Boris Becker, who had already had the satisfaction of touching the top step of the podium.

The German arrived in his academy already as a star. Those were the last years of his career. He managed to win the ATP Finals in Frankfurt. Sales, on the other hand, was the first player to reach the top of the WTA ranking. Bollettieri can say that he raised, coached and brought the Williams sisters to success.

The film King Richard shows how their father, to bring his girls to success, relied on the expert hands of the American coach and his Bollettieri Tennis Academy. The rest is history. Serena became No. 1 in the world in July 2002, barely 22 years old.

Venus, on the other hand, became No. 1 in the world in February 2022, at the age of 21. One of the brightest stars is undoubtedly Andre Agassi. who moved to Bollettieri's academy at the age of just 14: the coach granted him free tuition after having glimpsed important potential in him.

Agassi rose to the top of the ATP rankings for the first time on April 10, 1995 at just under 25 years old. Sampras entered the academy in 1989 aged just 18 and it took him just nine months to win his first US Open aged just 19 years and 28 days.

Maria Sharapova moved from Siberia to Florida to enter the Bollettieri Academy when she was just 9 years old. At 18, she was already No. 1 in the world (the first Russian-born tennis player in history to lead the top ranking).