86-year old Mike Agassi has revealed that he would be ready to be a tyrant father again, to allow his son Andre to become a champion.
The character is still the same, and his first words, during an interview with the Italian newspaper Republicca, were, "My son could have won a lot more. I sacrificed three children because I wanted them to become great tennis players. The first, Rita, was very strong, but Pancho Gonzales, the former tennis champion, took her away. He became her coach and he slept with her. The second, Phillip, was a good player, but was discouraged by his sister. Even Tami was brought, but she had no physique, and she preferred to study. Last one was Andre. I would not say he was sacrificed, because now he is a billionaire, but is very generous. He was seven years old, when I told him that he would become world number one.
"Maybe I was a tyrant, hard and severe. But I repeat, it is better (to have) father beside his son in the sport, than a coach. To the parents of young players of today, I say rebel. Do not allow to steal children by schools and coaches. I granted the opportunity to Bollettieri to coach my son for a few months. When I went to take him back, I saw what they did not want to see. He played only from the base line. No serve and volley, no blows to flight. And then, in addition to the courts in the academy, my son did strange things like bleached hair. The main difference is that a father loves his children; a coach did for economic interests. Bollettieri ruined Andre, and convinced him even to change materials. My son took a million dollars and Nick, a wad. But who was I to convince Andre that he was wrong?
"In my opinion, behind a child's success there is always a parent. Maybe for frustrated ambition, like mine, that as a boxer for Iran, I participated in two Olympics without ever winning any medal. I conclude by saying that if I could go back, I would be the monster. I do not regret. If you give the children the freedom to be what they want, it is also a burden."