Remembering Tennis Legend Nick Bollettieri
Tennis pioneer, father, coach, and USTA Florida Hall of Fame member, Nick Bollettieri, died Sunday, December 4, 2022, at the age of 91. They say legends never die, and Bollettieri's legacy in tennis is certain to live on forever.
In 1978, Bollettieri founded a Tennis Academy in Bradenton, Florida, which is known today as IMG Academy. This was monumental in the tennis community as it was the world’s first boarding tennis academy.
Today, IMG Academy’s tennis facility is massive, featuring over 50 courts, which include hard, clay, grass, and indoor options. USTA Florida has had the privilege to use IMG’s courts for events and programs as well as having Bollettieri share his knowledge with Florida tennis players.
Bollettieri dedicated a great portion of his life to the tennis academy and coaching all ages and skills of tennis. Throughout his career he coached 10 players that reached World No. 1 ranks, including Serena and Venus Williams.
In the 1980s he was a massive advocate for Florida junior tennis by supporting sponsorships and funding to USTA Florida, which was at the time, known as the Florida Tennis Association. He also partnered with Arthur Ashe to make the Ashe-Bollettieri Cities programs to support youth tennis.
For his work throughout the tennis community, Bollettieri was inducted into the USTA Florida Hall of Fame in 2018. “We did things that people said couldn’t be done,” he said during a 2018 interview with USTA Florida. “We gave scholarships, and those scholarships supported people because those people wanted to be champions.”
Off the court, Bollettieri will be remembered through his spouse, Cindi Eaton, and his seven children. When he wasn’t coaching the future of tennis, he loved to spend time with his family and give his kids every opportunity they needed to achieve their goals in life.
USTA Florida is deeply saddened by Bollettieri’s passing and our condolences go out to his family, friends, and every life he impacted in the tennis community.