By Bobby Blair
CORAL GABLES, Fla. – Saturday at the Biltmore Hotel, Tennis.Life sponsored our second “Extreme Camp” with Nick Bollettieri, part of our community outreach initiative.
We welcomed over 50 aspiring players of all ages. Some of the juniors in attendance worked so hard; dreams of winning a Grand Slam one day were running through their hearts and legs, and they hoped their time with Nick would take them to the next level of their journey.
With Nick, a special tip here or there about a player’s game can make all difference. His input helped 10 of his students reach the world No. 1 ranking and win countless Grand Slam titles.
He told the assembled campers the story of how, years ago – on the very grounds on which they stood at the Biltmore – he found Monica Seles on Court No. 4 and offered her and her entire family a full scholarship to his academy. They accepted, and the rest is history: Monica became one of the greatest players of all time.
Some of our campers were middle-aged and older adults just loving the experience of the fresh, early morning air and all the energy and passion in our midst as they struck the ball on the beautiful Biltmore grounds. These players hoped a special tip from Nick might just make them a little better, too, because tennis is a sport where dreams have no age limits.
Our online Facebook scholarship winner was a 13-year-old girl by the name of Maddie Barnabes. Maddie’s family has sacrificed incredibly so that she can pursue a tennis career. The look in her eyes when Nick gave her a few tips and a word of encouragement was unforgettable.
This is a big part of why we do our “Extreme Camps”, to provide those with less the opportunity to benefit from all the incredible things tennis has to offer, life lessons that ultimately prepare young people for the future in one of the best ways possible.
Tennis bestows upon young players an incredible skill set to equip them for life: discipline, tenacity, courage, goal-setting. They learn how to lose and get back up, and work even harder the next day.
We were excited to partner with Robert Gomez, the host of this second “Extreme Camp”. Robert is one of the finest junior coaches in the world; his dedication to developing young people on and off the court for over two decades in South Florida is time-tested and parent-approved. The results his players have posted in competitive tennis – and in life – speak for themselves.
We look forward to partnering with world-class coaches like Robert all over the world as we bring our Tennis.Life “Extreme Camp” experience to many other tennis destinations.
It’s a dream come true for me to help young people access the best of the best in tennis to assist them in their pursuit of excellence, and help provide resources that just might change their life just as Nick Bollettieri changed my life at 14, when he gave me full scholarship to his academy.
That generosity and opportunity changed my life forever; it put me on a rewarding journey that never would have been possible without his belief and confidence in my ability to achieve on and off the courts. As a tribute to my dear friend, mentor and coach, I’m thrilled and humbled to pay it forward.
Thanks to all for your incredible support. And thank you for joining us at www.tennis.life as we, together, “Live It”.