Nick Bollettieri, former tennis coach who trained or coached legends of his sport, died at the age of 91, the IMG Academy, the tennis academy he founded in Florida, announced on Monday December 5. . “Tennis wouldn’t be where it is today without Nick’s influence”said Jimmy Arias, now director of tennis at the IMG Academy, who was also one of Bollettieri’s first students there.
The tennis advocated by the former soldier was based on very intense physical exercise and competition between his players. He thus trained or accompanied ten future world number 1, including Andre Agassi, Boris Becker, Jim Courier, Monica Seles, Maria Sharapova, Venus and Serena Williams.
The first to comment on his death was, precisely, one of his former students, the German Tommy Haas. “Thank you for your time, your knowledge, your involvement, your expertise, your willingness to share your know-how, your personal willingness to guide me and give me the best chance of achieving my dreams”Haas wrote on his Instagram account several hours before the coach’s death was made official.
“You were a dreamer and a doer, a pioneer in our sport, a unique character. I will miss you at the Academy, in our tennis discussions, I will miss your tan, your white teeth and your fat, I will not see you doing tai chi again, I will miss our golf games, seeing you i will miss trying to cheat (…) and hearing you talk about all your plans, even at 91, will miss me. Thank you again for all “adds the one who was world number 2 at the height of his career.
Quickly followed the tribute of the German Sabine Lisicki, ex-12e world. “THANK YOU Nick. You have given so many children a place to work towards their dreams. You supported them with your knowledge and your assurance that anything is possible. I was lucky to be one of those children. You shaped the game of tennis”, she wrote on Twitter. Bollettieri’s daughter had for her part published on November 19 on social networks a photo of her bedridden father, explaining that he was “passing to the other side”.