Former 18-time Grand Slam champion Chris Evert paid a touching tribute to legendary tennis coach Nick Bollettieri. On Monday, IMG Academy announced that its founder Bollettieri passed away at the age of 91. Bollettieri, who coached several all-time greats during his astonishing coaching career, was described by Evert and many others as someone who had a big heart and deeply cared about those around him.
"RIP Nick Bollettieri. Aside from being the greatest coach ever, you were so kind to me, my parents, and my siblings - that meant more to me than anything, you had a big heart and a zest for living," Evert tweeted.
RIP Nick Bolletieri ; Aside from being the greatest coach ever, you were so kind to me, my parents, and my siblings… that meant more to me than anything, you had a big heart and a zest for living…â¤ï¸â¤ï¸â¤ï¸ — Chris Evert (@ChrissieEvert) December 5, 2022
Evert, others pay tribute to Bollettieri
Bollettieri was passionate about coaching and that was one of the big reasons why he became such an influential tennis figure.
According to IMG Academy representatives, Bollettieri was there for others even when his health started to deteriorate. “Anyone who knew Nick knows how much he loved developing the potential in young people, coaching tennis and this Academy.
Even in his last days, you could often find him on campus, coaching and mentoring young student-athletes and staff with the same passion and enthusiasm as he did in his 20s. Our heart goes out to his wife, Cindi, and his children.
He has made a permanent and lasting impact on all of us," Tim Pernetti, the President of IMG Academy Bradenton said. Jimmy Arias, a tennis legend and the director of tennis at IMG Academy, said the game "would not be where it is today without Bollettieri's influence." “Tennis wouldn’t be where it is today without Nick’s influence.
His tennis academy, which I had the privilege of growing up within, not only served as a launching pad for many tennis greats but evolved into an institution that has had a profound impact on the development of athletes across many sports at all levels," Arias said of Bollettieri.