Nick Bollettieri: The International Tennis Hall of Fame Experience - UBITENNIS
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Nick Bollettieri: The International Tennis Hall of Fame Experience

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TENNIS NICK BOLLETTIERI – As many of you know, I was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame on July 11 along with Lindsey Davenport, John Barrett, Jane Brown, and Chantal Vandierendonck. Receiving this award was a great honor and it had a big impact on me. I would like to use this month’s article to share my thoughts about my induction into the International Hall of Fame because I never thought this would happen. By Nick Bollettieri

 

I started teaching tennis nearly 60 years ago on two run down courts in Miami. I was a pretty good athlete and played many sports growing up but I didn’t play tennis until I was in college. I picked the game up quickly and made my college tennis team as a junior and senior. After college I enrolled in law school but quickly realized I did not want to spend my life in an office. I loved being outside and being in the sun. Because I needed to provide for my new family, I figured I would try teaching tennis. I didn’t know much about teaching the game but I was willing to work hard to learn. I also realized that I had an ability to relate to players, motivate them, and bring out their best. I dreamed about one day becoming one of the best coaches in the world.

Because of my brashness and bravado however, I had a tendency to rub the tennis establishment the wrong way. In fact, for most of my career I was considered a little crazy and a bit of a rebel. I guess to do some of the things in tennis that I’ve done, you have to be a little crazy. Because of the love and encouragement of my parents, I had the courage to follow my dreams and not be afraid of failure. My father told me what’s important is not that you fall down, it’s how you get up that counts. He said if you’re afraid to fail, you’re also afraid to be successful. With that encouragement I had the courage to do some crazy things like creating the first boarding tennis academy, believing that I could help players become top professionals, and working with 10 players who became number one in the world.

Many people have asked for my thoughts on the Hall of Fame honor and a copy of my speech. Here are some of the comments I made that day:

Wow, now I know exactly how it feels for those to reach the top of Mount Everest!! And, may I say the view from up here is amazing!

I’d like to start off by saying congratulations to my fellow members of the Class of 2014. It’s an honor and privilege to be in the same company as you Lindsey, John, Jane, and Chantal.

It’s not often that I am humbled – as those of you who know me will tell you – but, being honored a long side the four of you today is something I will cherish for a lifetime.

I’d also like to thank all of you who voted for me…(for a while I thought I was going to be the Susan Lucci of the tennis world!)…so, your vote means the world to me, it really does.

Now, I didn’t reach the top of this mountain by myself. In fact, we Italians don’t like to do anything by ourselves…. So, do me a favor, please….. If I, Nick Bollettieri, have ever yelled at you – either on or off court – please stand up now.

Wow…. We made it! Can you believe it? It only took 60 years…. But we made it! It is truly because of you that I am standing right here today. I wish I could name and thank each one of you individually, but we’d be here long after dark.

There is really no way I could ever thank you enough for making my journey such a great one. Just know that I love you…and I always yell at those I love the most…so you can expect to hear this old raspy voice hollering for many more years!

Okay…..now you can sit down….

It sure would have been a lot easier and faster if we had taken the well-worn path up the mountain…

But, when you were brave enough to follow me when I forged my own path which others found to be unorthodox and downright crazy….but, we made it and we sure had a whole lot of fun getting here! Thanks again to all of you!

I may not have been too good of a student, but I’ve always been pretty good with numbers…..in fact, I guess you could say I’m “A Man of Numbers”….

Let’s see… there’s

10 Numbers Ones

9 Lives

8 Wives

7 Amazing Children

Having a 6th Sense

5 o’clock …. The time my first student meets me on court

4 Beautiful Grandchildren

3 Years of Service to our Country

2 Great Parents

1 Passion

0 – The number of books I have read in my lifetime!

Whew…..try saying THAT three times fast!

Add in the rest of my family;

And friends, coaches, and players who are like family;

And the thousands of kids I have had the privilege of working with over the years

And you’ve got me in a nutshell….

The fuel that has sustained me to the summit is without a doubt my passion to help others become champions of life. Nothing makes me more happy than when I run into a past student or receive a kind note telling me of how I changed their lives…that they are better parents, lawyers, doctors, CEO’s PEOPLE because of ….

Their passion to try to reach their full potential…

To not quit when the going gets tough….

To know that when I was yelling at them what I was really saying was,

“I believe in you and I want you to believe in yourself because you can do it…you can do anything you are willing to work for”.

That’s how we made it up this mountain…by pushing each other, making huge sacrifices and being there for each other.

I will never be remembered for my business sense,

Or for my luck with marriages

Or for putting my family first…

What I hope I will be remembered for is

DARING TO FOLLOW MY PASSION AND HOPEFULLY IGNITING THAT SAME SPARK OF PASSION IN OTHERS!

Thank you again for this tremendous honor.

IMG Bollettieri Academy logo 2For Information on the Bollettieri Academy in Italy Contact Fiorella Bonfanti

Tel: +39 348 035 7450;

email: fbsports57@gmail.com

IMG Bollettieri academy logo

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Ash Barty vs Danielle Collins, UBI writers’ Australian Open women’s final Predictions

Ash Barty and Danielle Collins will collide for the Australian Open title on Saturday and according to our experts there’s only one winner.

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Ash Barty and Danielle Collins (@WTA_Insider - Twitter)

Tomorrow will see the best two women’s players in this year’s edition of the Australian Open do battle.

 

Ash Barty, the world number one, last year’s Wimbledon champion and a previous French Open winner, is looking to win a third Grand Slam title.

The win would need her needing just the US Open to complete the set, the career Grand Slam.

But more importantly for her and Australia, victory on Saturday would make her the first Australian women to win in Melbourne since 1978.

That was the unseeded Chris O’Neil that won 44 years ago.

Meanwhile, Danielle Collins plays the role of underdog, having made it into her first Grand Slam final.

Her previous best at a Grand Slam was here in Melbourne, back in 2019 when she made the semi’s.

It’s all to play for.

I caught up with our writers to hear their predictions for the match.

Adam Addicott:

I think Barty will win. She will be inspired by her home crowd and has the ability to use her slice, which should contain Collins’ power.

She also has the upper hand when it comes to the experience of playing in the final of major events.

Prediction: Barty in three sets.

Tony Fairbairn:

Ash Barty has looked very impressive this tournament on serve having only been broken once all tournament.

The American’s power game has caused Barty problems in the past and with so much on the line, nerves will play its part at some point.

Despite this, experience should prevail here, with Barty’s mix of slice and spin proving too much for Collins.

Prediction: Barty in three sets.

Elias Laradi:

This match features the world number one and Aussie taking on a player no-one had really expected to be here.

But no one has fought harder to get here than Collins.

Yes, Barty is the favourite, and she is playing at home with history on the line, but it doesn’t mean it will be straight forward.

Barty will need to fight the pressure and the nerves.

But she has so far excelled.

Collins has been playing some strong aggressive tennis and it seems to be working for her.

But will it be enough to stop the best player on the planet?

Another factor is that she is playing in her first ever Grand Slam final and could face a lot of pressure and nerves.

Honestly, my opinion is Barty will be too much for her.

I am hoping for a great match that is super tight with crazy momentum swings.

Prediction: Barty in a tough three sets win, even though she hasn’t lost a set all tournament.

Diego Sampaolo

Ashleigh Barty is the favourite to win the third Grand Slam title of her career on home soil.

Barty can achieve her goal to become the first Australian women’s player to win her home Grand Slam tournament since 1978.

But Collins cannot be underestimated and beat her Australian rival in their most recent head-to-head match in Adelaide.

Prediction: I predict that Barty will win a three-set battle.

James Spencer:

Barty has been imperious all tournament and no-one has had a whiff of taking a set of the Aussie.

That said will nerves potentially knock her off course? They could, but I don’t think they will.

She has an unbelievable mentality where she is not phased. It is what makes her such a good athlete.

Meanwhile, I do think Collins will be the player more shaken by nerves simply because like Elias, Adam and Tony mentioned, she’s never been in this situation before.

But that said, Barty on home soil is the overwhelming favourite, so surely Collins can play with the house money and go out swinging cleanly and freely.

I anticipate that, like her previous six wins in this championship, Barty will continue to crush everything before her.

Prediction: I’m going to stick my neck out and say Barty in straight-sets.

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Daniil Medvedev Reaches Second Consecutive Australian Open Final, Downs Tsitsipas In Four Sets

Daniil Medvedev is into his second consecutive Australian Open final with a four set win over Stefanos Tsitsipas.

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Daniil Medvedev (@atptour - Twitter)

Daniil Medvedev is into his second consecutive Australian Open Final after beating Stefanos Tsitsipas 7-6(5) 4-6 6-4 6-1.

 

The Russian’s defence was too much for Tsitsipas’ attack as the US Open champion overcame his nemesis in four sets.

Despite a rant in the second set over coaching from the Tsitsipas camp, the Russian regained his composure to book his place in the final.

Medvedev will play 20-time grand slam champion Rafael Nadal in Sunday’s showpiece event.

Both players started the match strongly as they created effective and aggressive tennis early on.

Tsitsipas kept the rallies short with great use of angles and depth while Medvedev counter-punched well using consistency to trouble the Greek’s defensive work.

Only two points were dropped by the server in the opening eight games and it was Medvedev who struck first in terms of returning aggression and consistency as he had three break points in the ninth game.

However Tsitsipas remained firm using big forehands and movement into the net to overcome the early test for a 5-4 lead.

Tsitsipas carried the momentum into the first set tiebreak as he opened the court up nicely to take an early mini-break lead.

But Medvedev’s defence rushed the Tsitsipas attack and the Russian clawed his way back taking the tiebreak 7-5 with a missed Tsitsipas forehand.

That didn’t hinder Tsitsipas though as he remained aggressive early in the second set to break Medvedev in the opening game of the second set.

The Greek’s improved mental stamina was there to see as he ramped up the pressure on serve with Medvedev not creating too many opportunities.

When the Russian did create opportunities he was clinical though as more unforced errors from the world number four on big points sealed the break back for 3-3.

Eventually Tsitsipas would come roaring back later in the set as his powerful consistency would triumph and he broke for a 5-4 lead.

That’s when Medvedev started to fume to the umpire about Tsitsipas’ dad coaching and questioning the umpire’s integrity.

Tsitsipas remained cool, calm and collected as he overcame some Medvedev return resistance to hold and take the second set 6-4.

Medvedev would continue his arguments when walking off the court as he looked to regroup ahead the third set.

The Russian’s early fortitude and resolve was put into action as he saved two break points to open the set.

Tsitsipas looked the most likely to break but the Greek couldn’t be aggressive on the big points and outsmart the Russian when it really mattered.

The 4th seed’s lack of clinical edge would go punished as Medvedev moved through the gears and produced a stunning return game in the tenth game to break and take a 2 set to 1 lead.

From then on it was all about the Russian as he tired out the Greek into errors, opening up the court and firing winners.

Two consecutive breaks sealed the Russian’s path to a second consecutive Australian Open final and a fourth grand slam final in total.

After the match Medvedev admitted energy levels were crucial today, “I managed to re-concentrate and pulled out some serves and that got me back into the match,” Medvedev said in his on-court interview.

“I tried my best and I’m happy it worked. A few moments I maybe missed some balls, he missed a few and then in the third I just found some momentum and make some very important passing shots. His energy was going down and my energy was going only up.”

Medvedev will play the same player he played in his first grand slam final and that is Rafael Nadal. On that occasion Nadal won in five sets to lift the 2019 US Open title.

Nadal will be aiming for a record-breaking 21st grand slam title while Medvedev will look to win his second consecutive grand slam on Sunday.

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Japan’s Kei Nishikori out for six months after hip surgery

Kei Nishikori has been ruled out for an extended period after having surgery.

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Kei Nishikori (@SK_Tennis - Twitter)

Former world number four Kei Nishikori’s injury struggles continued, after a hip operation has ruled him out for at least half of this season.

 

Nishikori has had previous elbow, wrist and knee issues that have hampered what was once a promising career.

Now 32, the highest ranked Asian player in history will need a long rehabilitation period to recover, following arthroscopic surgery on his left hip.

Coached by former French Open champion and world number two Michael Chang, the two achieved a lot of success after partnering up in 2014.

Nishikori reached the finals of the Madrid Masters 1000 and was a set and a break up on a virtually unbeatable Rafael Nadal on his favourite clay.

However, the Japanese suffered a leg injury and had to retire during the third set.

He did go toe-to-toe with Nadal on clay that season and the season after, winning the Barcelona Open twice, one of the Spaniard’s favourite tournaments.

Nishikori was once a bookies favourite to win the French Open and was once dubbed ‘Clay Nishikori.’

The highlight of his career was reaching the 2014 US Open final, but nerves may have played their part, as he went down meekly in straight sets to Marin Cilic.

A golden opportunity to win a Grand Slam in the era of Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray, none of which were the opposite side of the net, had been spurned. 

Nishikori is yet to win a Masters 1000 after losing three other finals in Miami, Toronto and Monte Carlo.

This latest injury setback puts into question whether we will ever see the best of Kei Nishikori again.

For all his fans in Asia and across the world, they will be hoping this latest surgery will at last make him injury free. But based on past history, it would be difficult to bank on that.

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