Exclusive – Coaching legend Nick Bollettieri on the looming crisis in tennis
Legendary tennis coach Nick Bollettieri believes tennis needs to rebrand the sport quickly to avoid a huge drop off in interest when the game’s modern greats leave the big stage, as he spoke exclusively to Tennis365.
Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic were all absent from the Miami Open tournament that was won by Poland’s Hubert Hurkacz, with Bollettieri suggesting a lot of tennis fans didn’t watch a tournament that lacked star quality.
With Federer, Nadal and Djokovic all in the final chapters of their careers, this scenario could become the norm for tennis sooner rather than later and Bollettieri told us it is a crisis the sport needs to address.
“Let’s not use the word problem to describe the moment that is coming our way in tennis,” Bollettieri, speaking to us as a brand ambassador for Slinger Bag.
“I don’t like the word problem. Every problem has a solution and I have followed that rule all my life, but let’s just say it is going to be very different for tennis. It’s tough to replace those great players.
“A lot of people didn’t even watch Miami and that’s something tennis has to deal with. It’s a issue for tennis, for sure. It’s also a issue for the other players in the game as they have this attitude about the top guys, but the game has to move on.”
At the age of 89, Bollettieri is still going strong and his passion for the game has never waned, with his eagerness to talk about all aspects of his remarkable career that included coaching the legends such as Andre Agassi and Maria Sharapova shining through in our zoom call.
One of the most colourful characters in tennis for six decades, he is still brimming with ideas and enthusiasm for the game and has even embraced social media channels with his Instagram account, officialnickbollettieri, as he serves up ‘nuggests of the day’ to his followers.
“Every day gives you a fresh challenge and I like to put a little tip on my Instagram account when I can,” Nick told us.
“One nugget for you here has to be about leadership; Nick is not bragging baby, as without a team, I would never be where I am today. It’s all about teamwork in life.
“A leader has to be upfront, accept the blame and share the praise. That’s an ethos that works in life.”
Nick Bollettieri spoke to Tennis365 in association with Slinger Bag, the ultimate new tool for the tennis coach or any player who wants to practice without a partner. Check it out HERE.
Missing Wimbledon was ‘the right thing to do’, says Rafael Nadal as he prepares for Washington debut
Rafael Nadal “super happy” to be back on Tour after extended break.
‘Part-time player’ Nick Kyrgios reveals how ‘hate, racism, bulls**t’ drove him ‘into a place of dark’
“I did fall into places where people like Naomi Osaka are now speaking about mental illness,” says Kyrgios.
Patient Emma Raducanu vows to continue learning curve after San Jose defeat
The 18-year-old reached the fourth round at Wimbledon.
Naomi Osaka headlines Montreal field that includes Tokyo champion Belinda Bencic, and Bianca Andreescu
Naomi Osaka set to be the top seed at the Canadian Open.
Rafael Nadal on Novak Djokovic’s Olympics outburst: ‘It is important to avoid this, especially as a role model’
“It’s strange that someone so successful reacts this way,” says Rafael Nadal.
Alexander Zverev euphoric after claiming Olympic gold, saying, ‘this is an incredible feeling’
“There is nothing better than this,” says Alexander Zverev.
Alexander Zverev brushes aside Karen Khachanov to secure historic gold for Germany in men’s tennis at Olympics
Gold for Alexander Zverev at Tokyo Olympics.
‘I am shaking all over my body,’ says Casper Ruud after completing unique hat-trick with Kitzbuhel title
It’s a hat-trick of titles for Casper Ruud.
‘It’s the freaking Olympic Games’ – Belinda Bencic not sure whether to laugh or cry after winning gold
Belinda Bencic in dreamland after winning gold at the Tokyo Olympics.
Comment: Novak Djokovic under fire after controversial final stand at Tokyo Olympics
Novak Djokovic walked away from the Tokyo Olympics without even a bronze medal to soothe his wounded pride.