Nicholas James Bolletieri, better known as Nick Bolletieri (1931-2022) died this Sunday in Bradenton (Florida, USA) at the age of 91. The legendary tennis coach made headlines two weeks ago after rumors spread across the US that he was dead. A photo with his daughters and a statement from him proved it wrong. Finally this Sunday the fatal news arrived.
The training philosophy, the model of the academy and a good handful of stars and number ones of the last three decades cannot be understood without Nick. Not just for the countless number of excellent players he has forged in Bradenton’s facilities. For the philosophy on which its training center for tennis players is based and for the importance of the Bolletieri model in modern tennis.
Probably the star most closely related to Nick is Andrea Agassi. As often happens with the big names who are the reference and history of this sport, the relationship between Nick and Andre was special, different and not at all idyllic. It happens with the best because they are different.
In a year in which we have experienced the retirements of two tennis icons such as Roger Federer and Serena Williams, both the concept that best defines them is that of transcending. Both Roger and Serena have transcended their sports. In Nick’s case, it has transcended tennis and its training. Bolletieri goes far beyond the figure of a simple tennis coach and trainer.
A model, a philosophy, a way of understanding preparation that integrates all aspects of training in the same place. That idea that now seems natural and rooted in many corners of the world (and even normal), has its pioneer in Nick.
Behind Agassi as a great reference in the youth sector, names like Serena Williams, Maria Sharapova, Jim Courier, Boris Becker, Monica Seles, Anna Kournikova, Tommy Haas… and a long etcetera. Leaving a greater or lesser mark on Bradenton. It was the latter, Tommy Haas, who announced the news on his social networks: «Thank you for your time, knowledge, commitment, experience, willingness to share, your personal interest in being my mentor and in giving me the opportunity to pursue my dreams. You have been a dreamer and a pioneer in our very unique sport.”
The Academy began its activity in 1978 as Nick Bollettieri Tennis Academy. In 1987 it was acquired by the giant IMG but Nick continues to lead, being the fundamental pillar of the center and forging the fame that preceded him throughout his life, training after training and tennis player after tennis player.
Books, memories, conferences, visits to universities and even a book and an audiovisual series on his way of working.
Pioneer and point of reference in life, the person of Nick Bolletieri passed away this Sunday. But his way of working, his philosophy, his style, his work and his life transcend the figure of him due to the importance he has had for the world of tennis.
All the successes, feats and great feats of tennis that we have known and experienced in the last three decades are impossible to explain without the figure of Nick Bolletieri and the philosophy implanted in the Bradenton academy. Either directly on their trail or indirectly from their way of understanding this sport. Rest in peace, Nick Bolletieri.
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