SCHWARTZ, BOLLETTIERI, AND THEIR LEGACY FOR TENNIS, AND YOU USTA?
By Javier Palenque
I had the pleasure of listening to Alan Schwartz at a business conference a few years back, enough to say that I was extremely impressed with his drive and acumen to start his business around the sport of tennis. I also had the good fortune to know Nick Bolletieri, whom I met several times in Miami and interviewed as well, he was always kind to give some pointers to my son on the court, and while in a group, he was sure to make even more positive comments about my son in front of everyone, he sold me.
I just got back from a trip to South America and when I read the news, I was indeed very sad, first because both men were legends of the game and second because of their love for the game. They left a legacy that only made our country better for the next generations as we all should. This of course can only happen if you have a love for the game that is so strong and deep that you decide to put your whole livelihood behind this love and help others.
In South Florida, Midtown-Weston is a wonderful place for tennis and other family activities and of course, the name Nick Bollettieri is legendary on its own everywhere. For those who do not know, about 30 years ago Alan Schwartz concluded that tennis alone would not sustain itself and he diversified while keeping tennis at the forefront to have a successful business. For the same reason, Nick went broke a few times, helping people and focusing on the elite game. The point to learn here is of course how the game is priority number one, survival number two and that is how legacies are permanent.
It is important to know that both were born in 1931, so in their prime time (1965–1981) they were in the thick of the development of tennis. Now that they have served the country with honor, and left it better for others, I want you to focus on the pathetic USTA leadership and what they have done in the same period with the most resources of any sports organization in the universe.
Weston clubs will thrive with tennis and other sports, even Pickleball and so will the Nick Bolletieri academy owned by IMG, but what about tennis? No, not the 14-day show in NYC, tennis itself? You see the USTA has full control of the sport and not a single leader with a desire to…