Well-known tennis coach, Nick Bollettieri passed away on Sunday, 20th November. The Italian American coach was 91 years old at the time of his death. Bollettieri helped shape the lives of several top-ranked tennis players including Andre Agassi, Jim Courier, Monica Seles, the Williams Sisters, and Maria Sharapova, among others.
Brian Gottfried was also among the first players he helped coach.
Nick Bollettieri's legacy will live on
Despite his prolific reputation as a tennis coach, Bollettieri’s playing career was limited to him playing the sport in high school.
His coaching career began at the Dorado Beach Hotel in Puerto Rico in the 60s before he began his own academy a decade later, in 1978. The Nick Bollettieri Tennis Academy was the first of its kind when it was established in Florida (Bradenton) for prior to its start, tennis players didn’t have any such place where they could stay and learn and improve on their game.
Less than a decade after it began, the academy was sold to IMG. Nonetheless, Bollettieri continued to help train players who visited it wanting to better their tactical nous. Apart from an illustrious coaching career, Bollettieri also authored his autobiography and a book that delved into various technical aspects of the game.
Bollettieri had been suffering physically in the last couple of years. In 2020, the then 88-year-old Bollettieri fell on the court during an active training session. Jimmy Arias, former US Open semi-finalist, and world no. 5 had shared back then, “He (Jimmy) called me, I talked to him last night and he was in pretty good spirits, except he's a guy that's never gone to the doctor.
He refuses to go to the doctor; he's scared of needles… He is now feeling better”. According to the published reports then, Bollettieri had had a kidney infection. Recently, on Saturday, Bollettieri’s daughter, Angelique Anne Bollettieri had announced on Facebook that her father was on his deathbed.
Her post read, “Dad is close to transitioning to the next place. Please keep him in your thoughts for a peaceful departure and wonderful journey. We love you, Daddy”. She’d also tagged a frail-looking Bollettieri in the post, surrounded by his family members. Photo Credit: IMG Academy