Tennis fans were saddened this past weekend to learn that legendary coach Nick Bollettieri had passed away at the age of 91.
According to Fox News, Bollettieri died at his Florida home on Sunday after having suffered from a range of health problems.
The network noted that Bollettieri was known for being only the fourth coach ever to be inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame.
Six of Bollettieri’s students entered the International Tennis Hall of Fame
What’s more, at least 10 of the players he coached went on to achieve world number-one status in the sport while six became Hall of Fame members.
Steve Shulla served as Bollettieri’s manager, and he was quoted as telling the Associated Press that the late coach will be remembered fondly in the tennis community.
“When he became sick, he got so many wonderful messages from former students and players and coaches,” Shulla said.
“Many came to visit him. He got videos from others,” Shulla continued, adding, “It was wonderful. He touched so many lives and he had a great send-off.”
Tributes to Bollettieri appeared on social media
Tributes to Bollettieri poured in on social media, with eight-time Grand Slam winner Andre Agassi tweeting that the coach “showed us all how life can be lived to the fullest.”
Our dear friend, Nick Bollettieri, graduated from us last night. He gave so many a chance to live their dream. He showed us all how life can be lived to the fullest…
Thank you, Nick 🙏🏼 pic.twitter.com/PhO36oPWpI
— Andre Agassi (@AndreAgassi) December 5, 2022
Fellow tennis coach Patrick Mouratoglou said he was “very saddened” by Bollettieri, someone he described as a “very special human being.”
I am very saddened by the loss of @NickBollettieri
The tennis family has lost someone very important today, someone who has made our industry grow and has opened opportunities for coaches and players.
We will remember the very special human being you were and will miss you.
— Patrick Mouratoglou (@pmouratoglou) December 5, 2022
Former world No. 2 Tommy Haas posted a tribute of his own on Instagram, writing, “Thank you for your time, knowledge, commitment, expertise, the willingness to share your skill, your personal interest in mentoring me, and giving me the best opportunity to follow my dreams.”
Hass went on to call Bollettieri “a dreamer and a doer, and a pioneer in our sport, truly one of a kind.”
Fox News explained that Bollettieri served in the United State Army as a paratrooper and then went on to attend law school at the University of Miami. However, he left to pursue a tennis career, founding the Bollettieri Tennis Academy in 1978.