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Bollettieri Tennis Academy celebrates 30 years with reunion Nov. 7-9

They will come from all over the world, from all walks of life.

Tennis and Nick Bollettieri will be the common bond for a weekend of memories when the Nick Bollettieri Tennis Academy celebrates 30 years of tradition with a reunion Nov. 7-9.

"I honestly don't know who is coming. I know nothing. They have kept it from me," insists the coaching impresario who built the academy from scratch and molded it into a tennis facility like none other.

The possibilities of who will attend are endless. Bollettieri, now 77 and working as hard as ever, has been coach, mentor, father, to many of the top players in the game over the 30 years he has been running his academy.

From those first students at the fledgling academy he began with a vision while at the Colony Beach and Tennis Resort on Longboat Key, to the thousands who have followed at what is now a mega facility known as IMG Academy in Bradenton, Bollettieri has touched their lives.

Players he has coached have won more than 170 Grand Slam titles. Ten have been ranked No. 1 in the world. That's two more than the number of times Bollettieri has has been married.

More than the tennis titles, it is the former students who have come back to tell how he has helped them succeed in life that has meant so much to Bollettieri.

"To see people going out in all walks of life and using the foundation of discipline, dedication and passion to work harder than anybody else … that is what it is really about," Bollettieri said.

"To see 30 years of alumni getting together will be a once in a lifetime experience for me. It will be like all the awards ever given to me put together in one night."

Close to 300 guests are expected to take part in weekend events that includes a welcoming party at the IMG Academy Club House on Nov. 7. There will be a sports day on Saturday, including tennis and golf, followed by a Gala Dinner at the Ritz Carlton Sarasota that will be emceed by Murphy Jensen and Steve Shenbaum. The weekend will wind down with a brunch at the Legends Bay Clubhouse.

There are a limited amount of tickets available for the public at $300 per guest. Contact Priscilla Kuehnel at (941) 752-2604 or call the IMG Academy Clubhouse at (941) 752-2689.

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