Known to tennis players and coaches worldwide, Nick Bollettieri said this about his legendary career: “I wanted to do something that other people were afraid to do, because they were afraid of failure,” said Bollettieri, 89, during his presentation Sunday, March 28, at the World Tennis Conference with host Fernando Segal. The four-day conference is available on the TennisONE App. “I started teaching tennis in 1957, charging $3.50 an hour. I didn’t know too much about it but in time God gave me the ability to be very simple with my approach.”
Bollettieri started running summer tennis camps in the 1960s, and that gave him the idea to start the first full-time tennis academy. People called Bollettieri crazy, because he was trying to do something that no one had ever attempted.
“We went from a hotel in Bradenton, Fla., where we housed the players, to housing them in my house,” Bollettieri said. “Then a friend lent me $2 million to buy 40 acres of land.”
That was in 1978 when he founded the Nick Bollettieri Tennis Academy in Bradenton- now known as IMG Academy. The academy was entirely devoted to tennis, and attendees were among the most talented players in the world. Now Bollettieri ranks as one of the top tennis coaches and changed how the game is taught at every level. In addition, Bollettieri has had a lasting impact on many coaches, and offered advice during his WTC presentation on how they should work with young players.
“As a coach, your responsibility is to take that student to their ability level, whether it is a good player, a collegiate player, or a professional player,” Bollettieri said. “If you do that, you are a success. What I have done and am still doing today, is to help coaches with programs for high school and junior high school. There are a lot of boys and girls who can reach high heights in tennis, but have no money at all. Coaches, in your community, get some sponsors for the local boys and girls who have no money. That is what we have done with the Arthur Ashe Program, to give children the opportunity to pursue their goals and not pay one penny for it.”
Bollettieri worked with Andre Agassi, Serena Williams, Maria Sharapova, Jim Courier, Boris Becker, Monica Seles, Anna Kournikova, Tommy Haas, and others. Bollettieri is a member of 10 different Hall of Fames and a leading philanthropist, including work with inner city programs to help boys and girls with their fitness.
The online World Tennis Conference concludes Sunday, March 28. To join, click on the following link to download the free TennisONE App to register for the conference. https://t1.app.link/WTCPR All conference sessions will be archived for later viewing. Attendees will have access to all the video sessions for 30 days after the conference ends through the TennisONE App. Individual days are offered for $45 each day.