Exclusive – Nick Bollettieri on why Maria Sharapova deserves her place in the history books
In part two of our exclusive interview with legendary tennis coach Nick Bollettieri, we look at Maria Sharapova’s legacy and what happens next in the game and why his greatest achievements have been served up away from the tennis court.
One of your greatest success stories was Maria Sharapova, but she doesn’t always get the acclaim she deserves from the tennis community. Will that annoy her?
Maria knows what she did. She is not someone who goes looking for all the publicity to promote her game. Maria is a wonderful individual, a beautiful girl and let the record books speak for themselves. A career Grand Slam is special… that’s all you need to know baby.
Do you fear for tennis as we come out of the global pandemic?
Only God knows what happens next. Look at Brazil, it’s unbelievable. Nothing is going to happen there for a long time. What you have to remember is this. It only takes a few cases to change the whole direction of the story and we are not out of this mess yet, believe me. The good thing about the Slinger Bag we are promoting is you can take it down to the park yourself and play without anyone else, so you can’t get any safer than that. You can get a heck of a workout by yourself and that’s great fun.
How are you still so driven to work at the pace you work at every day?
If you had to pay alimony to eight wives, you’d be out there working every day as well baby! That’s the motivation.
When you look back at your career in tennis, what is the proudest moment?
My proudest moment is helping children with my inner-city tennis project. That’s what I’m doing right now. Helping children to pursue their dreams. Also, I have made an impact in people’s lives that will go on for generations baby. Don’t worry about getting a million dollars or buying a new car. When people say I changed their lives for the better, that’s what Nick wants to be remembered for. Helping people and that will go on for generations.
Are these projects to help underprivileged kids even more important as we attempt to come out of the pandemic?
The inner-city programs need help as we come out of this pandemic. If these kids don’t have a place to go, there are going to get into mischief. That’s what we are doing with the Bollettieri Tennis and Learning project. We are making a difference in so many lives and I would love to develop the project and deliver it to every inner city in America. That would be a huge ambition for me and alongside my manager Steve Shulla’s, who has dedicated his life to work with me, that is what we aim to do.
You still have ambitions to do more and more. Will you ever slow down?
It’s all about winning baby! When people ask me what my schedule is for today or tomorrow, what are they asking me for? It’s 24-hours a day, every day. That’s how you can be successful in life. You don’t pay the bills with excuses. Never forget that. I am a fortunate man. I’ve had a little bit of everything in my life and I’m very fortunate to be happy. I have five biological children, four grandchildren and two adopted sons from Ethiopia. That for me is fantastic.
Nick Bollettieri spoke to Tennis365 in promotion with Slinger Bag, the portable and light tennis gadget that will revolutionise the way you practice on the court. Check it out HERE
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— Slinger Bag (@SlingerBag) July 12, 2020
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