Bob Brett
Bob Brett Image Credit: ATP Twitter

Dubai: World famous tennis coach Bob Brett has died following a battle with cancer in Paris in the early hours of Tuesday. Brett had been admitted in a clinic in Paris since late 2020 for suspected cancer of the liver that spread quick to the other vital organs.

“He breathed his last at around 2.15am,” close friend and former UAE national tennis team coach Mats Thyren told Gulf News. Brett, who worked with Grand Slam champions including Boris Becker, Goran Ivanisevic and Marin Cilic and French Open finalist Andrei Medvedev, had been presented with the 2020 Tim Gullikson Career Coach Award at the season-ending awards at the end of last year.

In a career spanning more than three-and-a-half decades, the 67-year-old Australian, who had also worked with many national tennis associations, had been unanimously chosen as the second winner of this award, following in the footsteps of compatriot Tony Roche.

The recipient of this award exemplifies excellence, leadership, respect and a true love for the sport of tennis and the art of coaching.

Named after the late Tim Gullikson, the award showcases someone who has inspired generations of young players and fellow coaches to grow the sport of tennis.

“It’s been one of the saddest days of my life. I am in total shock as we try to come to terms with such a huge loss, not just to us personally, but also to the entire tennis fraternity,” Mats Thyren, former UAE tennis coach from Sweden told Gulf News. “Bob taught his players about life, and along with it, how to hit a good forehand. He maintained positive relationships with each of his players even after their partnerships ended."

Together with Thyren, Brett and close coaching friend Stephane Oberer were frequent visitors to the UAE conducting special tennis clinics for players of all ages and abilities following a tie-up with the Jumeirah Beach Hotel. Renowned for his lengthy counting drills, which restarted when a player made a mistake, he opened an academy bearing his name in San Remo, Italy, in 2002.

The Melbourne-born coach enjoyed his greatest success as Becker’s full-time coach from November 1987 until February 1991, shortly after the German won the Australian Open and became World No. 1 on January 28, 1991.