If there is justice in the tennis world, Nick Bolletteri will one day stand among his peers in the game's mecca, the International Tennis Hall of Fame.
Until that day, when the voters come to their senses and recognize one of the giants of the game, Bollettieri can take solace that he finally has a room with a view.
And what a view it is, a room unveiled this week at IMG Academy in Bradenton that is loaded with memorabilia and memories. A room professionally decorated and giving testament to the influence Bollettieri has had on the game of tennis.
It is full of the history that should be on display at the International Tennis Hall of Fame in Newport Rhode Island.
When Nick Bollettieri learned this week that he had been once again passed over for membership in the club that honors the greats of tennis, the legendary coach's immediate reaction was: "What haven't I done?"
Actually, the 80- year-old Bradenton icon has done more than enough.
The question shouldn't be "why isn't Bollettieri in the Hall of Fame?" It should be, "What took so long?" Yet, for reasons nobody can reasonably explain,, Bollettieri remains on the outside of the Hall of Fame looking in.
Nominated in the contributor category, it is unconscionable that Bollettieri isn't included in this year's class. Bollettieri should be at the head of any class that honors people who brought something to tennis.
Like him or not, no one has contributed to the game in so many ways as the man with the perennial suntan and unyielding energy.
Not only has Bollettieri had a hand in molding several players who now reside in the HOF — and many more who eventually will join them — but he changed the way the game was introduced to players with his live-in academy program. It is an idea that built the world-renowned Nick Bollettieri Tennis Academy, which has morphed into the multi-sport IMG Academy based in Bradenton.
"This is an absolute joke," fumed Lakewood Ranch resident and ESPN broadcaster Dick Vitale about Bollettieri's latest rejection. "Those (voters) should look in a mirror.
"Nobody has contributed more to all over tennis than he has. This is an absolute crime. It is flat out not fair."
Bollettieri is one of the reasons Vitale landed in the Sarasota-Bradenton area, sending his two daughters to the NBTA. Bollettieri is the primary reason that most everyone who has been anyone in the tennis world in the last 35 years has been to this area.
"I don't question it. It is just the way it is," Bollettieri mused about the sleight, trying once again to take the high road.
Still, you know it hurts Bollettieri, not being enshrined in the HOF of the sport he has dedicated his life.
His fingerprints are all over the game, yet his footprints can't cross the threshold because some of the unidentified voters, hiding behind the shield of anonymity, apparently carry an agenda.
There are more than 200 people now in the tennis Hall of Fame.
Some, like Andre Agassi, Chris Evert, Martina Navratilova and Monica Seles, are some of the biggest names in the game. But there are many more that even the most fervent tennis fan would be hard pressed to recognize.
And not enough room for a man who has helped change the game and the way it is played?
Yet life goes on, and Bollettieri's life is full.
Last week he went to Saint Stephen's Episcopal School to take part in "Daddy Day."
"That was a thrill for me," said Bollettieri, who, with his wife, Cindi, have adopted two youngsters — 6-year-old Giovanni and 4-year-old Giacomo — from Ethiopia.
In a couple weeks, Bollettieri will address the cadets at the Air Force Academy in Colorado, before riding in a glider on a flight through the mountains near Colorado Springs.
As far as the Hall of Fame?
Who needs it. Bollettieri now has his own exhibit, right there at the academy.
Wednesday, after months of preparation, a room was unveiled near his office. Professionally decorated, the 15-by-30-foot room serves as a sort of shrine to everything Bollettieri. "It is beautiful," Bollettieri said.
It's Nick's tennis life on display.
Where once his memorabilia was strewn about, it is now housed in a room with special lighting and cases. Photos from throughout his career are now framed and hung with care.
The floor is a tennis court, of course.
There is the putter used by Bing Crosby, presented to Bollettieri by Barry Gibb of the Bee Gees (Gibb's son attended the tennis academy).
There is the sword Bollettieri was presented at West Point. The football signed by Joe Paterno, the baseball autographed by Pete Rose.
And articles written throughout the years, detailing his contributions to the game.
Maybe those entrusted to vote for the International Tennis Hall of Fame should stop by and take a look at those accomplishments.