LEGENDARY coach Nick Bollettieri passed away last week, aged 91.
Many younger teens fans will ask: who was Nick Bollettieri?
Well, in a few shorts words, he was famed for shaping the careers of some of the biggest names in the sport.
Andre Agassi, Boris Becker, Jim Courier, Martina Hingis, Jelena Jankovic, Marcelo Rios, Monica Seles, and Maria Sharapova.
He was involved helping Serena and Venus Williams.
Add a few more: Anna Kournikova, Mary Pierce, Mark Phillippousis, Nicole Vaidisova and Tommy Haas.
But Bollettieri was never an elite tennis player.
He played American football at high school and was a paratrooper in the military, rising to the rank of lieutenant.
A brief time at law school, saw him play one season of college tennis in Alabama.
But he learned enough to earn a few bucks as a part-time coach.
The, after his army career he took up a teaching position at a tennis resort in Florida in 1976.
That gave him him the start and he went on to open his own tennis academy.
A friend lent him some money to build a live-in tennis academy in Bradenton, Florida, where he began to attract attention.
And he sent his first wife, Phyllis, on spying missions to pick up tips by watching other coaches.
Bollettieri sold the academy to IMG in 1987 but he still played a role at the centre, developing young talent.
Inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame, Bollettieri will be remembered by many as an innovative coach, able to transform an average pro player into a real champion.
Chris Evert described him on as “the greatest coach ever”.
And the best way to farewell him? This quote from a speech he made when he was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame eight years ago:
“Yes, I am crazy, but it takes crazy people to do things that other people say cannot be done.”
BORIS Becker will be deported from the UK in a few days and will fly back to Germany in a private jet after serving just eight months of his two-and-a-half year sentence for fraud.
And the former champion has already signed a deal with a Munich based TV company to talk about his bankruptcy case and subsequent imprisonment.
“Boris is still one of Germany’s most famous sportsmen and his first interview is much prized,” a source told the London Mail.
“There will be a great amount of interest in his release and the private jet ensures that he is not seen by other media.”
TWO French tennis players have been banned for life after an investigation into multiple incidents of match-fixing dating back to 2014.
Mick Lescure, 29, was found guilty of eight charges and fined $40,000 as well as the ban.
Jules Okala, 25, was found guilty of seven charges and fined $15,000.
The charges were brought by the International Tennis Integrity Agency after an investigation by law enforcement agencies in France and Belgium.
“The sanctions mean both players are permanently prohibited from playing in or attending any tennis event sanctioned by the governing bodies of tennis,” the ITIA said in a statement.
BRITISH tennis chiefs were said to be “disappointed” at being fined $1 million by the ATP for banning Russian and Belarusian players from its events in 2022.
And in an extraordinary move, the LTA has been threatened with expulsion from the ATP Tour if it repeats the ban in 2023.
The Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) came under intense political pressure from the British government in May to impose a ban on player after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Russian and Belarusian players were barred from all five LTA tournaments (Queen’s Club in London, Eastbourne, Surbiton, Nottingham and Ilkley) and from Wimbledon, run by The All England Club.
The WTA had also fined the LTA and the AELTC $1 million.
And the LTA has been threatened with expulsion from the ATP Tour if it repeats the ban.
The LTA is to appeal the fine, but the ATP said last week it had no intention of changing its decision.
Their decision was backed International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach, who criticised the British government for “interfering and forcing the Wimbledon organisers to exclude Russian and Belarusian players”.
“Governments should not decide on political grounds who is participating in which sports events,” he added.
STICKING with Wimbledon and their often stiff and crusty early 20th century British ways … Roger Federer revealed on a US TV show last week he was denied entry to the All England Lawn Tennis Club a few weeks weeks ago.
Speaking on Trevor Noah’s The Daily Show Federer said because he could not produce his membership card, he was not allowed in for refreshments.
Any player who wins Wimbledon is granted membership to the exclusive club.
And remember, Federer has won Wimbledon eight times.
But he was still denied entry.
Federer said it was his first visit to Wimbledon when the venue out of season as he ran into a security guard who wouldn’t let him enter without proof that he was a member.
“I get out and I’m like, ‘yes, hello, I just was wondering how I can get into Wimbledon. Where’s the door? Where’s the gate?’
“And she said ‘do you have a membership card?’”
He didn’t have it with him.
He told the security guard: “No, I don’t have a membership card, but I am a member. I’m just wondering where I can get in?”
The security guard told him membership was required.
Federer insisted that he was a member.
The guard wouldn’t budge.
So Federer tried another ploy.
“I look at her and say ‘I have won this tournament eight times. Please, believe me, I am a member’.”
Still no movement.
So there Swiss star went back to his car, before finding another entry point where staff recognised him.
And after he told them he didn’t have his membership card with him, he was allowed entry.
In the hospitality area he got his cup of tea and told Noah he even chatted with the club chairman.
“I did think about going over to the other side and giving a wave that I was in, but I didn’t do it,” Federer joked.
GAEL Monfils is the most profile name so far to skip the 2023 Australian Open in order to use his protected ranking at Roland Garros.
The Frenchman, who reached the quarter-final at Melbourne Park in January, only played in eight tournaments this year due to injury.
“I think that you know, there is the protected ranking, when you don’t play for a certain amount of months. I know that if I take it, I have to not play the Australian Open to reach the six months needed and that will be my decision,” Monfils told Canal+.
“2023 is an important year for me, a year of transition, transition between my injuries and the fact to be competitive to try to qualify for Paris 2024. I would not like to miss them [Olympics], it would be my last one.”
He may be retired but Juan Martin del Potro is still playing the odd game or two of tennis – as our What the F…. moment reveals from the Neckar island home of Virgin millionaire Richard Branson recently.