News, Culture & Society

Australian tennis legend who coached Boris Becker dies aged 67 after a short battle with cancer

Australian tennis legend dies after a short battle with cancer

Australian tennis coach Bob Brett has died after a short battle with cancer at the age of 67. 

Brett worked with grand slam champions Boris Becker, Goran Ivanisevic, Johan Kriek and Marin Cilic in his almost 50-year career. 

The Melbourne-born man famously coached Becker to become the No.1 ranked tennis player in the world between November 1987 and February 1991.

Becker also won the 1989 Wimbledon and US Open under Brett’s guidance. 

Australian tennis coach Bob Brett (pictured), who coached Boris Becker to world No.1, has died after a long battle with cancer at the age of 67

He also coached Australian players Paul McNamee and Peter McNamara.

McNamee said Brett’s passing left a ‘big hole’ in Australian tennis. 

‘He’s one of the unsung heroes of Australian tennis, because of the impact he had around the world,’ McNamee told the Herald Sun.

‘He’s one of our greatest-ever coaches and you’d have to put him up there with Mr (Harry) Hopman, Tony Roche and Darren Cahill.

‘He was a salt-of-the-earth Aussie. He always kept the accent, was a true blue guy and was never affected by his success — he was the same guy from beginning to end.’ 

Brett coached a number of Grand Slam champions like Goran Ivanisevic, Johan Kriek and Marin Cilic in his almost 50-year career. He also coached Australian players Paul McNamee and Peter McNamara

Brett coached a number of Grand Slam champions like Goran Ivanisevic, Johan Kriek and Marin Cilic in his almost 50-year career. He also coached Australian players Paul McNamee and Peter McNamara

Brett was born in Melbourne in 1953 and developed an interest in tennis from a young age, spectating various Championships in 1965.  

He worked as a ball boy for the US Davis Cup team, where he observed top players like Arthur Ashe and Clark Graebner, in 1965 and for the Australian Davis Cup team the following year.   

But he was unable to pursue his own professional tennis careers and worked as a postman and a second evening job from 1971 to 1974.  

Brett then decided to pursue a career in coaching and learnt from Australian coach Harry Hopman at the Port Washington Tennis Academy in 1974. 

By 1978, he began coaching his own players such as Andrés Gómez, Johan Kriek, Fritz Buehning, Tim Wilkison, and José Luis Clerc. 

Later additions included Tim Mayotte, Mats Wilander, Guy Forget and Henrik Sundström.

In 1987, he began coaching Boris Becker and led him to win Wimbledon and the US Open in 1989.

‘I’m a very sensitive animal and he (Brett) found the right words for me,’ Becker said after his Wimbledon victory.  

In 2020, Brett established a non-profit association in Australia, the Kent Yamazaki & Bob Brett Tennis Foundation, which supports disadvantaged youth in Australia. 

He was also awarded the ATP Tim Gullikson Career Coach Award in November last year. 

Brett also established the Bob Brett School of Tennis in San Remo, Italy. 

He is survived by his two daughters, Caroline and Katarina, and his brother, Arthur Brett, who is a four-time Olympic coach in sailing. 

Brett at the Australian Open in Melbourne in 2000

Brett at the Australian Open in Melbourne in 2000

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk