Sasson: On the ﬁrst day of the tournament, I was deeply frustrated, because my favorite player in the world lost his ﬁrst match. But God works in mysterious ways:
This player’s defeat on the ﬁrst day, and other surprises that always happen in tournaments, made for the best possible tournament ﬁnal: the Russian player Andrei Cherkasov against the America’s #1 player Tim Mayotte. 18,000 spectators — a fully packed stadium — came to see this “cold war” tennis match.
Cherkasov won, which took most Westerners by surprise, as he was relatively anonymous in the West. But the really important thing was that our tournament actually impacted international relations. Until the Kremlin Cup, people in the West had a completely different idea of Russia. The tournament allowed them to see Russia in another light.
Gollar: When I went to New York, in early 2016, for the Bar Mitzvah of Abdi and Rita Yaghoubi’s twin grandsons Ethan and Lucas Sosnick, I stayed at Shula and Fred Moheban’s house, of course. In Shula’s house, I met her new son-in-law, Jonathan Wachtel, who had just married her youngest daughter, Rachel. He was a producer and journalist for Fox News at the time. Shula and I were talking and reminiscing about the Kremlin Cup, and Jonathan said: “What a coincidence! I was sent by Reuters to cover the ﬁrst Kremlin Cup!”
I said: “What a coincidence! My husband is the founder of the Kremlin Cup!”
He was very excited to hear that, and said he was quite amazed at the whole thing, and had been wondering all these years who had the guts to do such a thing — organize a tennis tournament in a country that used to be the greatest enemy of the West, and was in the process of collapsing.