© Ella Ling

Maria Sharapova

Bollettieri: how to make it on the pro tour


Exclusive: Nick Bollettieri, who has coached ten players who have held the world number one ranking, on how to make it on the professional tour.

1. You can’t have any weaknesses. “If you want to make it in the modern game, you can’t have any weaknesses, none at all. I remember Jim Courier coming to see me. His mother had written to me, ‘Nick, you need to do something about his backhand’. We didn’t change much with his backhand and he went on to become the world number one. But if Jim came to me now, and wanted to make it in the modern game, we would have to do something about that shot.” 
2. Know about every part of the tennis game. “You have to be able to do everything in tennis, to know about every little part of it.”
3. You can’t survive by standing six to eight feet behind the baseline. “That’s what’s hurting Roddick, and that’s why Murray has moved closer to the baseline this season.”
4. Have the ability to make two powerful steps towards the ball. “You need the power and the flexibility – you can’t be stiff – to make strong movements towards the ball. And how you recover afterwards is also hugely important.”
5. You need a serve that will give you some free points. “If you haven’t got that, you don’t have a chance in this ball game. If you’re having to work hard to hold serve each time, you’re going to get broken and you’re not going to get very far.”

  • Lecasu

    Rule 5 doesn’t apply to Rafa Nadal. Imagine how dominant he could have been if his serve was better!