This past weekend in Newport, RI, former IMG Academy Bollettieri tennis programTennis Academy student and alum,Andre Agassi, was inducted into the Tennis Hall of Fame for outstanding achievements throughout his career in tennis. During his tenniscareer, Agassi has claimed a career grand slam, which meanswinning every grand slam title at least once and has also won a total of 68 ATP titles. In addition, he won an Olympic Gold medal in singles in the 1996 Olympics. He is the only male singles player to have achieved such greatness and was dubbed a "Super Career Slam" by Sports Illustrated.
In 1984, when Agassi was just thirteen years old his father sent him to the academy to train with legendary coach, Nick Bollettieri. At first, Agassi's stay was only meant to to be short term because his father could not afford it. However, after Nick saw Agassi's amazing talent, he took him under his wing. Agassi continued to train with Nick during his junior tennis career and beginning of his professional career. Nick had the unique opportunity to work with Agassi during his rock star boy days of long hair and cut off jean shorts and was even with him when he won his first grand slam title at Wimbledon.
This past weekend, during Agassi's speech at the Tennis Hall of Fame, he paid tribute to Nick Bollettieri and the work he had done for him. On Agassi's foundation website, Andre Agassi Foundation for Education, he wrote a personal letter to Nick for the world to see:
Thank you for being there for me at the most formative times of my life and career. As an adult looking back, I can't imagine what a handful I must have been. You gave me the space to grow and experiment, you gave me counsel and wisdom. You gave me time to get to know my game and myself. I remember in Washington, DC as a teenager, after a painful loss, I gave away all my rackets and told you I quit. You simply looked at your wrist and said, "Am I wearing a watch"? You gave me permission to grow at my own pace, and your belief in me made me want to go on. Most of all, you provided an umbrella of protection as I fell under the glare of the international spotlight. There were days that I felt it was you and me against the world. I'll never forget that.
Nick and Andre at the induction ceremony at the Tennis Hall of FameI want you to know how much I appreciate the love and devotion you have for tennis. You were up at five in the morning, tirelessly creating the environment that we needed to thrive. You lived and breathed tennis, and created an unparalleled generation of champions. The International Tennis Hall Of Fame will not be complete until you are there alongside all of the champions that you gave to the world; a recognition that you have earned and that you so deserve. When that day comes, you can count on me to be there for you in any capacity, sharing that moment together. I love you, Nick.
From everyone at IMG Academy, Congratulations to Andre Agassi on a distinguished tennis career and your induction into the Tennis Hall of Fame!