Gollar: During the 1993 Kremlin Cup, Juan Antonio Samaranch, President of the International Olympic Committee, came to Moscow with a very elegant couple. I didn’t know what his relationship with this couple was, so I watched them very carefully. After the match, Samaranch and the couple, Shamil Tarpishchev and his wife, Boris Fyodorov and Vitali Smirnov, Sasson and I, all went up to the presidential suite for dinner. It was very interesting mingling with all these people.
Samaranch, because of his position as the president of the Olympic Committee, was not allowed to do any business in the countries he visited. However, some of his close friends took the opportunity and came with him on sports trips, to make connections for their own business. I don’t remember the couple’s name, but the man was a pilot, he was always ﬂying Samaranch’s private jet. Later on this couple was involved in a big scandal in France, with some connection to fuel.
After the opening match, we were invited again to the presidential suite, and Sasson, who had a sculpture made of Yeltsin and his grandson, gave it to the president as a gift. It was on that dinner that Yeltsin spoke for the ﬁrst time about the possibility of buying the rights for the tournament from us, to upgrade the Kremlin Cup to a higher category of tournaments, and increase the prize money from $350,000 to $1.1M. This would have made the tournament one of the highest level ATP tournaments.
This was when the seeds were sown.
I remember once sitting with my friend Lyuba in the VIP section in the Kremlin Cup. The guys next to us were talking in Russian, so I didn’t understand what they are saying. But Lyuba whispered to me that they’re talking about throwing us out.