IMG Bollettieri Tennis Academy’s Grand Slam Players

Day 4:  Xavier Malisse

Fifteen years ago, I heard of a young boy (16 years old) who had a bundle of talent but was uncontrollable. The Belgium Federation had enough and politely said, “you best move on.”

Xavier Malisse training at the IMG Bollettieri Tennis Academy with Nick Bollettieri

Where did he go? To the IMG Bollettieri Tennis Academy and the relationship begin and he played in the Eddie Herr Tournament.

I was told by one of my top coaches (Fritz Nau) that Xavier was playing his first round and was tanking the match. Fritz told him that if he did not shape up, that I was waiting for him and warned him the results would not be pretty. Not only did he win that match, but he went on to win the tournament and then sign a lucrative contract with Adidas and turned pro.

His results showed signs of brilliance but also signs of dismay. Why? There was never a question of his talent but a major concern about his mental breakdowns.

Xavier had more excuses than god had children. On court he was Doctor Jekyll andoff court he was Mr. Hyde. Two years ago he said he was finally enjoying the game and his results have been darn good including being a top player.

At the IMG Academy you cannot find a kinder more polite person than Xavier but on the court he is a totally changed person.

~ by Nick's Picks on June 22, 2012.

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