It turns out Nick Bollettieri is mortal, after all.
The founder of the Nick Bollettieri Tennis Academy (now the IMG Academy) collapsed on court during a tennis lesson this week and was rushed to hospital. He turns 89 in July.
Jimmy Arias shared the news on Tennis Channel Thursday. Arias was one of the original campers at the academy, 40 years ago.
“He called me, I talked to him (Wednesday) night and he was in pretty good spirits, except he’s a guy that’s never gone to the doctor,” Arias said during Thursday’s broadcast. “He refuses to go to the doctor, he’s scared of needles. He goes, ‘Jimmy they stuck me 18 times.’ He is now feeling better.”
Arias juggles his Tennis Channel work with his day job at IMG Academy. Named director of player development in Nov. 2018, Arias moved up to the “director of tennis” job just over a year ago.
According to Arias, the reason for the distress was a kidney infection. Bollettieri is due to return home Friday.
Bollettieri has been a remarkable physical specimen. Through seven children and eight wives, his schedule has never not been pretty hectic. Back in 2012, when he was a sprightly 80, a bout with double pneumonia meant just three days in hospital.