The Birth of the Academy

Nick Bollettieri

Printable Version

The Colony was the stepping stone to the other side of Florida.

After leaving Puerto Rico (Click Here) I was back in Miami, and had no concrete plans for my future when I heard of a promising opportunity on the other side of the state. The Colony Beach and Tennis Resort, which was located on Longboat Key, one of the barrier islands on the Gulf Coast by Sarasota and Bradenton, was considering bringing on a new director for its tennis program.

Longboat Key, Bradenton, Sarasota? I had barely heard of any of those places. What little I knew about that part of the state came from Mike DePalmer, Sr., a former basketball and football coach, who was then director of tennis at the Bradenton Country Club.

Mike and I had become friends when his two young children, Michelle and Mike Jr., both terrific players, came to Beaver Dam. They later became pro tour players. Michelle was in the top 100 before injuries halted her promising career.

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Nick Bollettieri is the legendary coach who invented the concept of the tennis academy more than 30 years ago. He has trained thousands of elite players, including some of the greatest champions in the history of the game, players like Andre Agassi, Tommy Haas, Jim Courier, Monica Seles, Maria Sharapova, and Boris Becker. IMG Bollettieri Academies are located in Bradenton, Florida.

Bollettieri: Changing the Game

In the unique Bollettieri style, this book tells the story of Nick’s life—or at least the first 85 years. It starts as far from big time tennis as you can get—an immigrant, suburban neighborhood outside of New York and life for two large Italian families living in a two story house. How did Nick go from there to creating the concept of the tennis academy, develop 10 players who became number 1, marry eight wives, have seven children, and still have time to go surfing? This book tells the story of a guy who had a significant influence in the development of the game of tennis as we know it.

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