Nick Bollettieri, famed tennis mentor, dies aged 91 | CNN



Nick Bollettieri, the famed tennis mentor who taught the likes of the Williams sisters, Andre Agassi and Maria Sharapova, has died aged 91.

Bollettieri’s dying was confirmed by the IMG Academy, which Bollettieri is the founder of, in a statement despatched to CNN.

“Anyone who understood Nick is aware of how much he beloved producing the opportunity in young folks, coaching tennis and this Academy,” Tim Pernetti, president of IMG Academy Bradenton – a division of IMG Academy – stated.

“Even in his last days, you could typically obtain him on campus, coaching and mentoring youthful university student-athletes and workers with the identical passion and enthusiasm as he did in his 20s. Our heart goes out to his wife, Cindi, and his small children. He has made a long-lasting and long lasting impression on all of us.”

Tommy Haas, former world No. 2 and one particular of Bollettieri’s former pupils, posted a heartfelt tribute on Instagram.

“So several reminiscences, I am not positive where by to start. Nickiiiii, that is how I have called you for the longest time,” Haas wrote.

“Thank you for your time, know-how, determination, abilities, the willingness to share your talent, your own interest in mentoring me, and offering me the most effective opportunity to comply with my dreams. You had been a dreamer and a doer, and a pioneer in our activity, really one of a kind.

“I surely will miss out on you about the academy, our Tennis talks, miss showing of your tan, white tooth and body unwanted fat, miss observing you do Tai Chi, miss playing Golf with you observing you try to cheat, having a Snickers bar and operating for the bushes, and hearing all about your ideas even at the age of 91.

“Thanks once again for everything…….. RIP Nickiiiii.”

Born in Pelham, New York, Bollettieri turned his attention to tennis coaching to make money on the facet even though researching for a law diploma at the College of Miami. He had previously put in time as a higher school football quarterback and a paratrooper in the armed service.

In 1977, he launched the Nick Bollettieri Tennis Academy – now the IMG Academy – after borrowing $1 million from a mate to construct a are living-in tennis academy for his college students.

In the course of around 30 years as a mentor, Bollettieri became just one of the most sought-immediately after teachers in world tennis thanks to the results gamers experienced less than him.

The Academy has considering that expanded into other men’s and women’s athletics, together with baseball, soccer and soccer.

In 2006, in an interview with CNN Environment Sport, the famed trainer laid out his eyesight for thriving athletes, and how they need to be open to adjust.

“The physical and mental section of the sport can not be secondary to your courtroom time,” he stated. “You have to have a enthusiasm for the activity and contend for just about every single place.”

He coached various grand slam winners and 10 globe No. 1 gamers, like Agassi, the Williams sisters, Sharapova, Boris Becker, Monica Seles and Anna Kournikova prior to remaining inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 2014.

Bollettieri outside his tennis academy.

2011 Wimbledon runner up and previous planet No. 12 Sabine Lisicki paid out tribute to Bollettieri on her social media, declaring: “Thank you Nick.”

“It’s challenging to discover the proper text and I’m not sure if I’ll be able to,” the German wrote.

“You have offered so several kids a position to operate for their aspiration. Supporting them with your information and the consider that something is attainable. I was fortunate to be 1 of them. So numerous memories we made alongside one another that I will cherish forever.

“You’ve shaped the activity of tennis and even just a pair of months back at 92 you were telling me all about your future ideas.

“You will be dearly skipped. Rest In Peace Nicki.”

Jimmy Arias, previous globe No. 5 and a single of Bollettieri’s initial learners, also compensated tribute to him.

“Tennis would not be exactly where it is now devoid of Nick’s affect,” Arias claimed.

“His tennis academy, which I had the privilege of expanding up in just, not only served as a launching pad for a lot of tennis greats but advanced into an institution that has had a profound influence on the progress of athletes across numerous sports activities at all levels.”