Bollettieri on Serena
Originally published on 02/07/18 00:00
“Some people raised their eyebrows when Serena Williams started her comeback at the end of last year, less than four months after the birth of her first child. Did her return to tennis surprise me? No way, baby! Competing is in Serena’s blood. It’s what has driven her to such wonderful heights and made her the great champion that she is.
I’ve known her for more than a quarter of a century, ever since Richard Williams brought Serena and her sister Venus to the IMG Academy in Florida, which I had founded in 1981. They were only nine and 10 at the time, but their father was already convinced they were on the path to greatness. “My two girls are going to be bigger stars than Michael Jordan,” he told me.
Holy cow, what an impression they made even on that very first day. Not only did they give the balls a mighty whack but they were also clearly girls on a mission. There was never any messing around with Serena and Venus: they were there to work.
It’s been like that ever since. Just look at Venus. She’s coming up to her 38th birthday and has been dealing with serious health issues for a number of years now, yet she’s still going strong.
Serena has had physical problems of her own over the years, including a blood clot in a lung and horrific injuries to her foot when she stepped on some glass in a restaurant, but has kept bouncing back to achieve even greater success.
Can she do it again as she chases her 24th Grand Slam singles title, which would equal Margaret Court’s all-time record? Man, you learn never to rule anything out where the greatest female player in history is concerned, but this could be her greatest test”
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This is an extract from a feature that appears in the Summer 2018 edition of tennishead print magazine.
Nick Bollettieri is a regular contributor to tennishead magazine.
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