Hall of Fame tennis coach Nick Bollettieri died Sunday night, his manager, Steve Shulla told The Associated Press. He was 91.
Bollettieri died while at home in Florida after a series of health issues.
“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,” Shulla said. “It was wonderful. He touched so many lives and he had a great send-off.”
The famed tennis coach worked with the sport’s top players for more than 60 years, helping develop 10 world No. 1 players, including Andre Agassi, Boris Becker, Jim Courier, Maria Sharapova, Venus and Serena Williams, among others.
Bollettieri was known for his passion of the game, witty philosophies and unorthodox teaching style. He became only the fourth coach to be inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 2014, despite never playing professionally.
The coaching legend founded the Bollettieri Tennis Academy — now IMG Academy — in 1978 in Bradenton, Florida. In May of 2022, Bollettieri became the first inductee of the IMG Academy Hall of Fame.
IMG Academy honored Bollettieri’s legacy in a tribute video on Monday.
Tim Pernetti, President of IMG Academy Bradenton (a division of IMG Academy), said Bollettieri was still coaching and mentoring young student-athletes in his final days.
“Anyone who knew Nick knows how much he loved developing the potential in young people, coaching tennis and this Academy,” Pernetti said. “Even in his last days, you could often find him on campus, coaching and mentoring young student-athletes and staff with the same passion and enthusiasm as he did in his 20s. Our heart goes out to his wife, Cindi, and his children. He has made a permanent and lasting impact on all of us.”
IMG Academy director of tennis Jimmy Arias, who is one of Bollettieri’s original students, said: “Tennis wouldn’t be where it is today without Nick’s influence. His tennis academy, which I had the privilege of growing up within, not only served as a launching pad for many tennis greats but evolved into an institution that has had a profound impact on the development of athletes across many sports at all levels.”
The tennis community continues to share memories and condolences on social media following the news of Bollettieri’s passing.
Billie Jean King took to Twitter Monday, writing, “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.”
Former women’s world No. 1 Chris Evert tweeted, “RIP Nick Bolletieri. 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.”
Bollettieri is survived by his wife, Cindi, and his children.