meet plane jumper, nick bollettieri

By Benjamin Snyder

Ripped. Because we know how much you want us to tag this post as “shirtless.”
(Photo by Art Seitz)

Nick Bollettieri 
coaches tennis just about better than anyone else. That, however, isn’t quite enough for the soon-to-be 80-year-old.The former paratrooper needs a little more excitement in his life, planning to jump off a plane the day after he hits octogenarian status this summer. It’ll be the first time for the New York-native since 1975. He’ll do the deed (jumping from a plane, that is… ) with the Army Black Knights at West Point. Now that’s quite a divvy way to spend a birthday, isn’t it, Nick?

Bradenton.com shares the juicy deets: “He lives a whirlwind life that never stops. One of his biggest moments will come when he jumps out of a plane this summer with the Army Black Knights at West Point. It has been 36 years since the then-first lieutenant did his last jump. But as it is in his life, fear does not hamper him.” The article comes just as Bollettieri accepted recognition for fending off cancer at the annual Dick Vitale Gala, an event that raises money for cancer research.Dickie V, an American basketball sportscaster, also had some choice words to say about Bollettieri’s inclusion into tennis history (or, rather, lack thereof), according to Alan Dell’s piece. He’s quoted as saying, “One of the biggest injustices in sports is that Nick Bollettieri is not in the tennis hall of fame. There is a section for contributors to tennis, and there is no one in the world who has contributed more to the game. How they can put contributors in and not Nick Bollettieri blows my mind. It would be the saddest thing if he does not get in while he is living.”

It’s an interesting fact given that Bollettieri has coached ten players who reached the top ranking in the world, including Monica Seles, Andre Agassi, Maria Sharapova and Jelena Jankovic. Props to Dell for stirring up some controversy in the article — it’s always nice reading solid, investigative work complete with quotes that sting.

A plate too full? 
Regardless, Bollettieri has a lot else on his plate (probably too much to care), including a website in the works of being launched called Vidaloo Tennis. No, not spelled exactly like the Indian curry dish. But just another testament to the ever-expanding Bolletieri/IMG brand. So far the site is both barren and weird (can it be both?), featuring a 25-second clip from none other than Vitale himself. “It’s going to be a Hall of Fame website,” he yells in his famous commentating voice. Bollettieri says it’ll be the “most content rich” tennis site, aiding everyone from little kids to senior citizens. It was, however, supposed to be up and running on April 1st. April Fool’s?! It’s not yet. Or is that a 2012 date? Hmm…We’ll have to keep tabs on the site’s progress, and see if there’s content by the time Nick jumps off that plane.

Tennis fans everywhere, mark August 1st on your calendars.

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