Yannick Noah, King Gustav and American Football League founder Lamar Hunt are in the Tennis Hall of Fame. Nick Bollettieri is not.
The legendary coach was on the ballot for the first time this year as a contributer to the sport, but he failed to receive 75 percent of the vote for induction. Doubles stars Todd Woodbridge, Mark Woodforde, Natasha Zvereva and Gigi Fernandez were among the seven who made the cut.
To leave out Bollettieri is a petty decision by the voters, a group which consists of members of the Tennis hall and a special panel. Since the Hall doesn't release vote totals or ballots, we don't know whether Bollettieri was close to the 75 percent threshold or not. Nor can we blindly call out all the voters for refusing to vote for the controversial coach. But at least one-quarter of voters deemed Bollettieri unfit for the Hall, and that's preposterous.
Asking whether Nick Bollettieri should be in the Tennis Hall of Fame is like asking whether Bobby Knight should be in baskeball's Hall. The two brash, opinionated coaches may not rub everyone the right way, but their influence on the game has been undeniable.
Tom Perrotta of Tennis.com wrote:
"If Bollettieri doesn't belong in the Hall of Fame, then there's no point in having such an institution. Whether you love or loathe his brash attitude, self-promotion, ever-present sunglasses, permanent suntan and unique definition of "marriage" (he has had eight wives), he is -- objectively, without any rational argument to the contrary -- one of the two or three most important coaches the sport has ever known, right up there with Harry Hopman."
Voters seem to be considering the aforementioned brash attitude and self-promotion more than Bollettieri's Hall-worthy resume. It includes coaching such stars as Agassi, Courier, Monica Seles, Martina Hingis and Marcelo Rios. He also has worked with the Williams sisters and Maria Sharapova, among others.
But, as Perrotta points out, maybe fate played a role in Bollettieri's 2010 snub. Joining him on the ballot next year will be his most famous pupil, Andre Agassi.