Andre Agassi leads tributes for ‘dear friend’ Nick Bollettieri: ‘He gave many a chance to live their dream’
The great Nick Bollettieri has been hailed as kind, one of the most passionate coaches and a unique human being following his death.
The colourful and larger than life Bollettieri, who coached 10 world No 1s, died at the age of 91 on Sunday.
“When he became sick, he got so many wonderful messages from former students and players and coaches. Many came to visit him. He got videos from others,” his manager Steve Shulla told The Associated Press. “It was wonderful. He touched so many lives and he had a great send-off.”
Bollettieri, the son of Italian immigrants, founded the Nick Bollettieri Tennis Academy in 1978 and it was bought by the International Management Group in 1987.
That academy would nurturer many a legend with the most famous being Andre Agassi, Venus and Serena Williams, Monica Seles, Maria Sharapova, Jim Courier, Mary Pierce, Martina Hingis and Marcelo Rios.
Bollettieri coached Agassi from 1983 until 1993 and during that time the American won Wimbledon (1992) and finished runner-up at two Australian Opens and one US Open.
“Our dear friend, Nick Bollettieri, graduated from us last night. He gave so many a chance to live their dream. He showed us all how life can be lived to the fullest…” former world No 1 Agassi wrote.
“Thank you, Nick 🙏🏼”
Our dear friend, Nick Bollettieri, graduated from us last night. He gave so many a chance to live their dream. He showed us all how life can be lived to the fullest…
Thank you, Nick 🙏🏼 pic.twitter.com/PhO36oPWpI
— Andre Agassi (@AndreAgassi) December 5, 2022
Another former world No 1 Chris Evert hailed him for being kind.
“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,” the 18-time Grand Slam winner wrote.
The great Billie Jean King, winner of 39 major titles, also took to Twitter to pay tribute.
“Our sport lost one of its most passionate coaches & advocates. Nick was always positive & was able to get the best out of everyone fortunate enough to work w/him,” she wrote.
“Our thoughts & prayers go out to his family & team at the Academy.
“May he rest in peace.”
Our sport lost one of its most passionate coaches & advocates. Nick was always positive & was able to get the best out of everyone fortunate enough to work w/him.
Our thoughts & prayers go out to his family & team at the Academy.
May he rest in peace. https://t.co/svkmaNXdBd
— Billie Jean King (@BillieJeanKing) December 5, 2022
Fellow renowned coach Patrick Mouratoglou, who has worked with Serena Williams, Simona Halep and Holger Rune, says Bollettieri paved the way for his own academy.
“You are a pioneer, You are a visionary,” the Frenchman, who founded the Mouratoglou Tennis Academy in 1996 near Paris, wrote on Instagram.
“Thanks to you, I have dreamt of having my own Tennis Academy, help the young generation find themselves as adults, prepare them for life, and make their dreams come true.
“For those who have had the chance to meet you, they can testify that you had a very unique energy and a lot of power inside yourself that you were able to convey to all the players. That made you such a unique human being.
“I’m very saddened by the loss of Nick Bollettieri. The tennis family has lost someone very important today, someone who has made our industry grow and has opened opportunities for coaches and players.
“We will remember the very special human being you were.
“We will all miss you.”
World No 18 Denis Shapovalov said the American would be “cherished as one of the kindest”.
“I will always remember and appreciate you coming out to my court and giving me advice,” he said. “You have given our sport so much, and will always be remembered and cherished as one of the kindest, RIP Nick.”
Heather Watson ends her quarter-final drought with win in Thailand – ‘It was just survival of the fittest’
Heather Watson will now face Chinese seventh seed Xinyu Wang.
Toni Nadal shares thoughts on fans’ hostility toward Novak Djokovic as well as Rafael Nadal’s future
Toni Nadal on why Novak Djokovic has so many detractors.
Stunning LTA numbers confirm tennis participation is booming in Britain
New figures have revealed that there has been a 47 per-cent increase in tennis participation in clubs and parks across Britain.
Aryna Sabalenka’s 2023 tennis schedule: Where is she competing next and her season so far…
A look at Aryna Sabalenka’s possible tournaments for the 2023 season.
Serena Williams welcomes Tom Brady to ‘retirement world again’ as she opens up about her final match ‘regret’
“Sad to see you go,” Serena Williams told Tom Brady.
Elina Svitolina urges IOC to ‘stick to banning Russian and Belarusian athletes’ for Paris 2024 Olympics
Elina Svitolina wants a united front when it comes to sanctions imposed against Russia and Belarus.
Marion Bartoli latest to criticise Elena Rybakina’s coach Stefano Vukov – ‘I just can’t take that any more’
Marion Bartoli basing her opinion on Elena Rybakina’s coach Stefano Vukov on incidents she witnessed herself.
Australian Open viewing figures need context amid Novak Djokovic snipes
TV viewing figures for Australian Open may appear to be disappointing, yet raw figures only reveal part of the story.
Nick Kyrgios on crutches as his manager gives fitness update
Everyone is “really, really pleased” with Nick Kyrgios’ recovery.
Iga Swiatek’s 2023 tennis schedule: Where is she competing next and her season so far…
A look at Iga Swiatek’s possible tournaments for the 2023 season.