Nick Bollettieri turns 81 today. But turning the page on another year on life's calendar doesn't bother the truly ageless tennis coach.
Unlike last year, he won't be jumping out of an airplane with the Army Black Knights but Bollettieri continues to live life at a pace that would put people half his age to shame.
"I am going up to the farm," Bollettieri said about his plans for today, speaking about the 325-acre place near Craftsbury, Vt. But that doesn't mean that the man who changed the tennis world is ready to sit idly and watch life go by.
"My two sons insisted I come up to the farm for my birthday," said Bollettieri, who rarely sleeps more than four or five hours a night. "They said if you don't come up we will make you 100. If you come up we will make you 50."
Understand that the sons Bollettieri is talking about are ages four and seven. With five grown children, Bollettieri, who has been married eight times, adopted the young sons from Ethiopia.
He insists that they help keep him young. They also help Bollettieri shrug off once again being ignored by the International Tennis Hall of Fame.
If the Hall of Fame needs a referendum to put Bollettieri into the Hall of Fame, a place he clearly belongs, they can look online to the comments people from all walks of life have made in response to a recent USA Today article. From auto racing great Jackie Stewart, to tennis players who have crossed paths with the Nick Bollettieri Tennis Academy, to tennis fans ... they know the contributions Bollettieri has made to the game.
So what's next? After the family gathering, Bollettieri, who recently spent a week at Wimbledon, will return to work at IMG Academy in Bradenton before heading to New York for three weeks. There, he will work for BBC during the U.S. Open and also host a show for American Express over the Labor Day weekend.
"Every day is important to me" Bollettieri said. "I tackle everything I consider important, but I also have fun in everything I do."
Area players shine in state tournament
Nearly 100 junior tennis players took part in the Team Tennis Junior League state tournament held recently at the Sarasota Bath and Racquet Club.
Approximately 450 mini-matches (nearly 2,000 games) were held in three age divisions and eight skill levels, against teams from the Tampa Bay area in what was billed as the "Battle of the Bays."
Manatee, Sarasota and Charlotte counties won five of the eight singles titles and five of the eight doubles titles.
The area winners in singles were Alex McCurry-Oliver, Eric Scarlett, Stanislaw Grzeslo, Corrin Bresky, and Daniel Luptak.
Doubles winners were Reef Karnas-Vincent Yanez, Anh Tran-Darwin Tepe, Matthew Pelisek-Eric Scarlett, Bob Zipay-Jared Bivens, and Danielle Tormey-Ashley Tormey.
Bradenton's Cade Gilchrist won a $500 scholarship, provided by the "Youth Tennis Foundation" of Florida, a nonprofit organization that offers support for the development of youth tennis in Florida.
Sarasota's Jane Lutz has been chosen to represent the United States at the 32nd ITF Super Seniors World Team Championships to be played Sept. 10-15 in Croatia. Lutz, a mainstay on U.S. teams for several years, will compete in the Doris Hart Cup, a tournament for women 80-over. Lutz captained the team a year ago. ... Tennis players are playing for the gold at the 2012 Olympics in London. One Bradenton resident owns a gold medal. Robert Seguso teamed with Ken Flach of St. Louis to win the gold in the 1988 Olympics in Seoul, Korea. That was the first year tennis returned to the Olympic Games since 1928. ... Christian Harrison, a Bradenton resident, reached his first ATP Challenger singles semifinals this past week in Lexington, Ky. Harrison, 18, upset the No. 6 seeded player to reach the semifinals in the $50,000 event before losing to fourth-seeded, and eventual champion, Denis Kudla. Christian Harrison is the younger brother of Ryan Harrison, who competed for the U.S. at the Olympics.