Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Bollettieri Basks in Glow of Spotlight

Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Bollettieri Basks in Glow of Spotlight

Article excerpt


HALL OF FAME: Instructor keeps hectic schedule day before his induction

Nick Bollettieri was a man on the go Friday.

Bollettieri's renowned energy level was put to the test as he went from one commitment to another of the grounds of the International Tennis Hall of Fame.

He was here. He was there. He was seemingly everywhere, renewing old acquaintances and finding new friends.

"Boy, this is really something," Bollettieri said late in the day, shaking his head as he toured the room that held a display of some of his memorabilia.

Moments later Bollettieri got a bigger thrill as he was led to a private room where he saw for the first time, and tried on the Hall of Fame jacket he will wear today when he is formally introduced as part of the class of 2014.

"Look at this, will you. Who would have thought," he said as he adjusted the jacket, seemingly not wanting to take it off.

One day before his induction, the stamina of the soon-to-be 83- year-old coaching legend was challenged. There was a clinic, a book signing, a panel about staying active and staying fit while aging, more book signings, a tour of the Hall of Fame museum and an autograph session including Bollettieri and Lindsay Davenport, followed by another book signing.

The day ended with a dinner held at the childhood home of Jackie Kennedy.

His day officially began with a clinic for adult players, 50-and- over, as part of AARP day on the grounds of the Tennis Hall of Fame. Ironically, the man who made a career teaching young players how to become champions, was championing the older generation.

But the message was much the same. He talked about consistency -- how Bjorn Borg's only thought during play was to get the last shot over the net -- and shot selection. He spoke about different players he has taught and what made them top-ranked players.

Bolletieri said if there was only one piece of advice he would give those at the clinic it would be "to get your rackets back early." He then also offered a bit of advice that might be the difference between winning and losing.

"Any shot that is close, call it out," Bollettieri cracked, eliciting laughs from the over 50 crowd. …

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