2008 Australian Open semi-finalist Daniela Hantuchová paid tribute to famed tennis coach Nick Bollettieri as she will never forget the day the legendary coach decided to take her under his wing. On Monday, the IMG Academy confirmed Pollettieri’s death at the age of 91.
Hantuchova, 39, began her career in 1999 and retired in 2017. But years before turning professional, Hantuchova was transferred under Bollettieri’s wing. Former Slovakian tennis star Hantuchová recalls what it was like coaching Politieri.
Hantuchova recalls The Bollettieri Training: The Day That Changed My Life
“I will never forget the day Nick asked my parents if they were okay with him, and that he would be my coach. I was 12 years old and my life literally changed at that time.
It was shocking to realize that the pioneer of the coaching world and one of the greatest people in tennis history trusted and believed in my game more than I ever thought possible. The next thing that shocked me was that from that day on, Nick made me go to the gym with him to work out every morning at 4:20 (not 5:20!!!), just to see how much I really wanted to.
An extra 40 minutes before the academy officially opened at 5 a.m. made me realize that if we want to achieve anything else in life, we have to make that extra effort,” Hantuchova wrote in her Instagram post.
During her career, Hantuchova won seven titles, reached the Grand Slam semi-finals and was ranked fifth in the world. Now, Hantuchova is grateful to Bollettieri for helping her achieve her tennis dreams. “Dear Nick, the way you thought about me, how intentions are what really matter on court and in life, that actions speak louder than words and that you have discipline and commitment in everything we do is what I try to live by every day.
Not only did you talk about it, but you were an example of how to do it, being the first and last person to come and go from the academy. Thank you for everything and words can never describe how grateful I am for all that you have done not only for me but for the tennis world and for all of us who have been fortunate enough to be called your students. Hantuchová said.