World class coach and mentor Nick Bollettieri is in the country in a bid to share his expertise with the up and coming players in the country and is keen to develop the racket sport with the cooperation of his academy together with the national tennis body.
One of the most sought after trainers of all time, Nick Bollettieri is a prominent figure in the tennis arena, who has been the trainer to a number of world class players. The 85-year-old, who hails from Florida, US, has been the personal coach to Andre Agassi, Boris Becker and Maria Sharapova in the past.
Arriving in the country on the request of the Queens Club Tennis Convener Asanga Seneviratne, Nick was impressed by the Sri Lankan system on his first day of training, adding that he sees a lot of potential in the junior circuit.
“I was there at training, saw a couple of youngsters. Seven-year-olds. They were as good as 99% of the seven-year-olds in the world”
Bollettieri, born in Italy, moved to the states in his early childhood and has a unique approach to his coaching, operating by his own rules. Under his direction, he oversees a state-of-the art academy named the IMG Academy that facilitates his coaching and world class trainers.
Speaking to the media in Colombo on his experience Nick conveyed that he sees potential in the country and has a keen interest in developing the system here.
“If this programme goes well, I will visit three or four times a year. Have my staff conduct sessions either here or by video”
Sri Lanka needs a long term plan
The development of the racket sport in the country will need a systematic approach and the veteran coach was not hesitant to point it out.
“Rome was not built in one day. It will be a long-term plan that will need to be laid out if we need to take the move forward”
The prime example is of Japan, where they laid out a long-term vision a few years back and has seen the emergence of players in the likes of Kei Nishikori who trained under the guidance of Bollettieri and is currently the 5th ranked player in the world.
“As a start, we will look at getting a few coaches to the academy and let them take a look at what we are doing. Then they can focus on the teaching that to the kids”
Nick is expected to stay in the island for a further two days with his manager and is expected to return later in the year.
JAT Holdings Sri Lanka empowers the coaching effort in the country looking to uplift the standards in the sport.