Bob Brett, coach to Grand Slam tennis champions, dead at 67


He had coached top-notch players including Grand Slam champions Boris Becker, Goran Ivanisevic and Marin Cilic.

Bob Brett, a tennis coach whose players included Grand Slam champions Boris Becker, Goran Ivanisevic and Marin Cilic, has died. He was 67.

Tennis Australia published a tribute to the Australian coach on Wednesday after being informed by Brett’s family of his passing. He had been battling cancer.

“Bob Brett’s passing is a great loss to tennis,” said Tennis Australia chief executive Craig Tiley. “He was an exceptional coach and widely admired. Bob guided all level of players to success – from Grand Slam champions to those starting out in the sport he loved so dearly.”

Brett received the ATP’s Tim Gullickson Career Coach award in November.

In addition to his work with Becker, Ivanisevic, Cilic and other individual players, Brett coached for national tennis associations in Britain, Japan and Canada. He also opened a private tennis academy in San Remo, Italy.

Brett coached Becker from November 1987 to February 1991, a span that included three of the German’s six career major titles and a rise to No. 1 in the ATP rankings.

Tributes pour in

Tributes to Brett poured in from throughout the tennis world via social media.

“Extremely saddened by the passing of Bob Brett, with whom I have collaborated during 6 years and who has taught me so much in my early years as a coach,” Patrick Mouratoglou, who works with Serena Williams, posted on Twitter.

Brett is survived by his daughters Caroline and Katarina.

Paul McNamee, a former top-ranked doubles player and former chief executive of the Australian Open, described Brett as “a super coach and great bloke, a true blue Aussie who never changed.”

“He is a legend at Hopman’s Tennis Academy, where he helped countless players, including Peter McNamara and I, so much, and coached us both on tour for a while,” McNamee said. “He’s an unsung hero, up there with the great Australian male coaches like Mr. Hopman, Barry Phillips Moore, Tony Roche and Darren Cahill. My thoughts with his daughters and extended family.”

Tennis Australia illustrated Brett’s approach to his work by citing a comment from the coach. “As a coach you can guide them, you can give them examples and talk about history, but in the end it is just bringing out the qualities that they have. The coach is responsible for losses and the player is responsible for the victories.”

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