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Nick Bollettieri and Maria Sharapova
The Bollettieri Academy has groomed its latest star
The Nick Bollettieri Tennis Academy has produced some of the biggest names in the game.

And its latest graduate - Wimbledon champion Maria Sharapova - is well on the road to superstardom.

When Maria was just seven years old her father, Yuri, took her from their native Russia to the Bollettieri Academy in Florida - risking everything in the hope that she could realise her potential.

Maria Sharapova
Sharapova revels in victory

A decade on, his faith has been repaid in spectacular fashion, and Sharapova joins the likes of Andre Agassi and Monica Seles on the growing list of Bollettieri stars.

The Bollettieri Academy was founded in 1978 as a full-time tennis boarding school.

Its programme is based around three guiding principles: discipline, responsibility and effort.

Bollettieri, now 72, was a former paratrooper and his pupils follow a tough, disciplined regime from an early age.

They're taught to believe in themselves, dictate the game and chase down every point with dogged determination.

Sharapova is the latest Grand Slam winner to emerge from the Academy, but even Britain has tasted success courtesy of Bollettieri.

Andre Agassi
Agassi has won eight Grand Slams

Miles Kasiri was this year's runner-up in Wimbledon boys' singles and has spent two years at the Academy.

While each player has own their own style, they all share the classic Bollettieri traits of power, conditioning and incredible mental toughness.

The Sport Academy's tennis coach, Dan Thorp has analysed Sharapova's game. He believes her self belief is one of the main reasons for her success.

"Sharapova has followed a very carefully structured physical conditioning programme from a very young age," says Dan.

"As a result she is in fantastic condition and - importantly - she knows it.

"She uses her condition to intimidate her opponents, by chasing, hitting hard and being relentless in her efforts."

And having made light work of Serena Williams at Wimbledon, it looks as though Bollettieri's latest star will be at the top of her game for many years to come.

Who is Nick Bollettieri?
Coaching guru Nick Bollettieri was born in North Pelham, New York, in 1931
He opened the Nick Bollettieri Tennis Academy in Florida in 1978
Having worked with some of the world's top players, he's now considered one of the most influential and successful coaches in tennis
In 1987 the Academy had 32 students in the main draw at Wimbledon and 27 at the US Open.
In 2002 Nick was inducted into the Italian American Sports Hall of Fame

Bollettieri stars
Maria Sharapova
Andre Agassi
Monica Seles
Anna Kournikova
Jim Courier
Tommy Haas

Did you know?
Sharapova's father, Yuri took her from Russia when she was just seven years old
Sharapova is the second Russian woman to win a Grand Slam this year, following Anastasia Myskina's win at the French Open

:: Bollettieri Tennis Academy

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