Some called him Count Dracula out of Gothic lore. Others called him the Brasov Bulldozer. A dual sport athlete at the highest levels: Ice Hockey Olympian and top 10 tennis player. A businessman as cunning as the Medici. He bet big on Boris Becker when he was just 15 and made him into a global brand. Tiriac’s take was almost a third. Bet big on Guillermo Vilas, too, turning the soulful poet/tennis player into a clay court machine of endless muscles, endless rallies, endless wins. His first doubles partner was his fellow Romanian, Ilie Nastase, who chased phantoms fun umbrellas women and his own mind around the court. Somehow they won the French Open together and reached three Davis Cup finals. Is it close to the truth to say these three tennis stallions—Becker, Vilas, Nastase–owe a third of their life to him? How did Count Dracula do it? Iron fist or velvet glove? Mind of money or mind of men? He takes his ‘68 Mustang out for a spin, one of his 400 luxury cars from almost every year in the 20th century: Mercedes-Benz, Rolls-Royce, Jaguar, Cadillac, Ferrari, Ford . . . He builds 500 kindergartens in Romania.
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