Can they talk? Joan Rivers and Nick Bollettieri return to Westchester

Two local legends are on the WAG radar these days. Tennis coach Nick Bollettieri – who grew up in north Pelham, as he likes to point out, and first got hooked on tennis when his uncle took him to the New Rochelle Tennis Club – returned to Westchester County recently to sign copies of his new book, “Changing the Game” (New Chapter Publisher, $26.95, 319 pages) at Lifetime Athletic in White Plains.

Meanwhile, Joan Rivers – a former Larchmont resident who attended Connecticut College before graduating from Barnard – brings her standup act to the Paramount Hudson Valley (formerly the Paramount Center for the Arts) in Peekskill May 3. But first, it’s an emotional moment for the comedian this Saturday, April 12, as she confronts the death of her beloved Pekinese, Max, on “Joan & Melissa: Joan Knows Best?” (10 p.m.), now in its fourth season on WE.

Both are excellent conversationalists, Nick because he knows everyone and everything in tennis and is a true teacher; and Joan because her gift for the outrageous belies a compassionate soul. Here’s Joan on the need to adopt another rescue pet immediately as part of the grieving process: “Your husband dies on Tuesday, you can’t go out right away and get a new husband. But you can go get a rescue.”

Nick can be just as provocative.  The man who coached 10 world No. 1s, including Andre Agassi, Monica Seles and Maria Sharapova, rounds up the usual suspects when he says he would’ve like to have worked with Roger Federer and been around the excitement of Rafael Nadal and that Novak Djokovic is on his way to tennis immortality. But when asked who was the greatest player he ever coached, he turns the question around by answering that the most talented was former Chilean star Marcelo Rios. And Nick makes no bones – either in conversation or in print – about saying that Rios squandered his gifts by not respecting the game’s etiquette.

For more on our interview with Nick, check out the Editor’s blog here. And for more of our interview with Joan, check out WAG’s May “Flower Power” issue. Also, for tickets to her Paramount shows, click on http://paramounthudsonvalley.com/events/event/joanrivers. — Georgette Gouveia

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