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New Bollettieri Book Presents Legendary Coach as Tennis Godfather

By Scoop Malinowski | Monday, February 6, 2023

Nick Bollettieri is gone, but the legendary coach continues touching lives.

Hall of Fame coach Bollettieri died at age 91 on Sunday, December 4th.

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In a career that spanned more than a half-century, Nick Bollettieri coached 10 world No. 1 players and is one of only 5 coaches in history inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame.

Now, many of the players he coached and several of the coaches he trained share their stories and insights of the coaching legend in a new book that examines the Pelham, New York native's role in shaping the modern game.

"[Nick] gave so many a chance to live their dream," says Andre Agassi of his former coach in new book Nick Bollettieri: Godfather Of Modern Tennis. The book is on Amazon retailing for $8.99 for paperback and $4.99 for kindle.

The book is a compilation of memories, anecdotes, stories and interviews of one of the most important coaching figures in tennis history, Nick Bollettieri and his world-renowned "Nick Bollettieri Tennis Academy."

Andre Agassi, Marcelo Rios, Jimmy Arias, Brian Gottfried, Fritz Buehning, Kathleen Horvath, Lars Ulrich, Julio Moros, Maria Sharapova, Chip Brooks, Red Ayme, Tommy Haas, and many more offer their memories and anecdotes of time spent with Nick.

Here's an excerpt from the new Nick Bollettieri book.

Andre Agassi: "Nick first started with Jimmy Arias, who had the biggest forehand in tennis at the time. Tennis had never seen anything like it. And then (Aaron) Krickstein and Carling Bassett hit so hard, and myself. I think he's added a lot to the level of tennis as far as a power sense goes with just dominant tennis playing, aggressive playing. And that's what keeps tennis striving.

"I don't know if you're ever going to see another No. 1 player in the world who is under six feet. Everybody is going to be big and strong. Because you need to be big and strong. And he taught you how to do that even if you weren't big and strong…"

Lars Ulrich (Metallica): "In Denmark I was top 10 in the 12s and 14s. Denmark is roughly the size of the West Village. My dad (Torben) was one of the best players in the world. When I finished school in Denmark at age sixteen I went to Nick Bollettieri Tennis Academy in Sarasota, FL (actually Bradenton) the first year it got off the ground. I was one of the kids who didn't have to go to school because I already finished school in Denmark.

"I remember Nick would say, "Jump on it, jump on it!" There was a pecking order. Nick spent a lot of time on the main court with Jimmy Arias and those players. I was on court two or three. Nick would come over and say "Jump on it Lars, jump on it!" This is what we spent $20,000 for?! I found out I didn't have the tenacity to do the six to eight hours of all that shit everyday. I was kind of turned off by the six hours every day of drills and backhand down the lines…"

Bob Davis: "My first memory of Nick was back in 1981 when I told Arthur Ashe that I was going to open my own private sleepover academy in upstate New York. He recommended that we come to Florida and meet with Nick, who had the foremost tennis academy in the world, to learn the ins and outs of the business.

"So Arthur and I flew down to Bradenton for a weekend with Nick. His advice to me was - Keep the boys and girls apart. One mistake in that regard can ruin your entire academy.

"Question: Lasting memory of Nick Bollettieri?

Bob Davis: "My lasting memory of Nick is his generosity and his intent to have his legacy be in support of underprivileged kids.

"People don't know that side of Nick. He was inducted into the Black Tennis Hall of Fame - the only Caucasian man inducted into the Black Tennis Hall of Fame - at least to date. And he claims that that is more important to him than his induction into the International Tennis Hall of Fame."

Sander Groen, former ATP doubles champion, shared this thoughts and memories of Bollettieri: "He is so beloved because of his personality. There is not too many people with this kind success who are so accessible and kind as he is.

"The past 20 years he has been like a grandfather to anybody who loves tennis and he makes everybody feel like they are same important to him, no matter if player, coach or fan. And he had nothing to gain from that. Every time I spoke to him he made me feel as if he was my father. And I can imagine he hardly had any idea who I was because I cannot imagine he knew me as a player.

"I think the last time I saw him he was mingling with the crowd in front of Arthur Ashe Stadium sitting on the edge of the fountains promoting his book… I couldn’t believe that. To me he is the godfather of modern day tennis."

About The Author: Scoop Malinowski has written about tennis for ATPWORLDTOUR.COM, TENNIS Magazine, Tennis Week,, Ace Magazine of U.K. Australian Tennis Magazine,, Tennis View, Australian Open Official Program,,,, New York Tennis, Totally Tennis Magazine, The Daily Record of Morris County, N.J.,, Florida Tennis, South Asia Life & Times Magazine.