I am often asked by the readers of the blog “What is the best tennis academy in America?” or “Which tennis academy do you recommend for our kid?” Last year, I tried to answer these questions and wrote an article “The Best Tennis Academies in the U.S.”
Recently, I have reviewed all information I used during the research about the tennis academies. I think that today the best tennis academy in America is Nick Saviano tennis academy. I have analyzed top 100 in men’s and women’s tennis and figured out that Saviano tennis academy has more active top players, who were trained in the academy at least for several years, than any other American tennis academy. Look at top 60 women tennis players and you will find four players: Stephens, Bouchard, Robson and Puig. Look at top 20 and you will see rising stars #16 Sloane Stephens and #19 Genie Bouchard; both of them are youngest among all today’s elite tennis women players.
I also recommend you to read the following article “Rising stars Sloane Stephens and Genie Bouchard honed their strokes on Broward courts” was written by Harvey Fialkov, Sun Sentinel.
Over the past few years local hackers at Plantation’s sprawling 28-court Veltri Tennis Center would wonder who were those teenage girls exchanging warp-speed groundstrokes while a bow-legged, 50-something, gentleman wearing sunglasses and an Australian gaucho hat offered words of advice.
What they couldn’t have imagined is that those now 20-year-old young women have become arguably the WTA Tour’s top two rising stars, 18th-ranked Sloane Stephens and 19th-ranked Eugenie Bouchard, legitimate contenders for the upcoming Sony Open title.
And the now 57-year-old, intense coach was Nick Saviano, a former Top 50 player who has helped shape some of the sports legends, such as Jim Courier, Pete Sampras and Jennifer Capriati during his 29-year career as a molder of tennis champions.
“You’re always excited when you see them perform well, especially when you know them since they’re little girls,” said Saviano just before a practice session with Bouchard Saturday morning on one of two hard courts at Veltri.
“There’s a sense of pride. I’m also elated for the families because I know the sacrifices involved. I don’t like to say I developed them because of the parents and other [coaches], but rather be a positive contributor to their tennis and their lives.”
Bouchard, a native of Montreal who’s living with friends in Weston during the Sony Open, trained full-time with Saviano from 12 to 15 when his High Performance Tennis Academy was in Sunrise before relocating to Plantation in 2011.
“It was a good move for my career because tennis isn’t as big in Montreal as in Florida because I had to play indoors all the time and the variety of players wasn’t great,” said Bouchard, who skyrocketed from 144th to 32nd in 2013 to be the highest-ranked teenager.
This year she hired Saviano to travel with her to the four Grand Slams and a few other Premier Mandatory events such as Indian Wells and Key Biscayne.
“Nick helps me with all parts of my game, my technique, strategy and mental aspects,” said Bouchard, whose coming-out-party took off after a semifinal run at the Australian Open in January. “He’s very wise and gives me great tennis and life lessons about being in the moment, enjoy the moment, play with passion and that could be applied to life.”
Saviano met Bouchard while coaching Stephens, a Plantation native, at the Eddie Herr junior tennis championships in Bradenton nine years ago when she was playing against a young British girl named Laura Robson.
The Robsons introduced Saviano to Bouchard and soon all three were training together. Robson, 20, who cracked the top 50 last year after a fourth-round finish at Wimbledon, still works with Saviano during down times in her schedule.
Before Stephens, in November, hired renowned coach Paul Annacone, who guided Sampras and Roger Federer to several Grand Slam titles, she regularly checked in with Saviano for tune-ups.