Former Wimbledon champion Goran Ivanisevic has saluted the “amazing” Bob Brett, the late Australian tennis coach who he said taught him more than anyone in his career.
Grand slam great Chris Evert, who spent a year under Brett’s tutelage, also paid tribute to her former mentor, who died on Tuesday aged 67 after a battle with cancer.
Brett shaped the careers of Ivanisevic and Marin Cilic after he guided Boris Becker to three grand slam titles and the world No.1 ranking.
“We knew this was going to be a tough battle, but it’s still shocking to lose you so young!” Ivanisevic, the 2001 Wimbledon champion, said on Instagram.
“We shared so much, the good and the bad, and you have been the one who taught me the most in my career.
“Your legacy will continue to live forever as the tennis world will never forget what an amazing person and coach you were.”
Evert, America’s 18-time grand slam singles winner, said Brett was “one of the greatest coaches and people in tennis”.
“I felt privileged to work with him for a year and witness his hard work, discipline and commitment,” Evert added.
Two more all-time greats of the women’s game also recognised Brett.
Billie-Jean King said “the tennis community has lost one of its smartest coaches” while Martina Navratilova asked him to “please keep coaching up there.”
Former US Open champ Cilic said on Instagram: “He was a big inspiration to me and to many, many others.
“People who knew him, knew that he lived to the fullest – always pushing boundaries, always looking for excellence for himself and everyone around him – leading you to find your full potential.
“His enthusiasm, desire to be better and his passion have been inspirational.
“I will always be grateful and thankful for the years we spent together, the friendship we shared, and the many tennis & life lessons he taught me.”
The tributes came even from beyond tennis as Daley Thompson, Britain’s double Olympic decathlon champion, said: “Others will tell you what a great coach he was, I’ll say that he was a good friend, great company and always smiling.”