Ion Țiriac: The first Romanian to join the Forbes list of billionaires

Ion Țiriac

Ion Țiriac (born 9 May 1939), also known as the “Brașov Bulldozer”, is a Romanian businessman and former professional tennis and ice hockey player.

He has been president of the Romanian Tennis Federation.

A former singles top 10 player on the ATP Tour, he was active from 1958 to 1979 and won 05 career singles titles. Tiriac was the winner of one grand slam title, the 1970 French Open in men’s doubles.

Țiriac was born in Transylvania, which is probably the reason why he has the nickname ‘Count Dracula’. He first appeared on the international sports scene as a child ping pong champion, then subsequently as an ice hockey player on the Romanian national team at the 1964 Winter Olympics. Shortly after that, he switched to tennis as his main sport.

With fellow Romanian Ilie Năstase, he won the men’s doubles in the 1970 French Open and reached the Davis Cup finals several times in the 1970s.

Țiriac was president of the Romanian Olympic and Sports Committee from 1998 to 2004.

Țiriac ran major men’s events in Germany, including the season-ending championships in Hanover.

Although tennis is now a much smaller part of his portfolio and occupies only 5 percent of his time, he has taken particular pleasure and pride in making the Madrid Tennis Open a combined men’s and women’s event with

€7.2 million in total prize money. The trophy awarded to the tournament winner bears his name.

Țiriac also held the license for the BRD Năstase Țiriac Trophy tennis tournament since 1996, until its last edition in 2016, before the tournament was relocated to Budapest.

After retirement, Tiriac became active as a tennis coach, advisor, and player agent in the 1980s, taking under his wing Ilie Năstase, Manuel Orantes, Adriano Panatta, Guillermo Vilas, Henri Leconte, and the young Boris Becker. Later, Țiriac developed the Mutua Madrid Open ATP masters tennis tournament, which he has owned from 2009 to 2021.

In 2013, he was elected as a contributor to the International Tennis Hall of Fame. He has been managing French tennis player Lucas Pouille since December 2016.

On 13 July 2013, Țiriac joined the International Tennis Hall of Fame as a successful promoter and tournament director for numerous events including two of the largest Masters 1000 events, the Italian Open and the Madrid Masters.

After his retirement as a professional tennis player, Țiriac became a businessman in (then West) Germany. Following the collapse of communism in Romania, Țiriac started numerous businesses and investments back home. In 1990, he founded Ion Țiriac Bank, the first private bank in post-Communist Romania.

Between that and several other enterprises (retail, insurance, auto leasing, auto dealerships, airlines, etc.), his fortune was estimated at over US$900 million in 2005.

Țiriac is an avid car collector. The Tiriac Collection represents the exhibition of cars and motorcycles under his ownership. Reopened to the public in May 2015, the collection includes historical vehicles manufactured since 1899 and also modern exotics with about 350 cars and 165 cars at full-time display on a rotation basis. Visitors will find the only collection in the world with 2 Rolls-Royce Phantoms IV, as well as exhibits that previously belonged to great names such as Sir Elton John, Sammy Davis Jr., or Bernie Ecclestone.

In 2006, Țiriac was selected as one of the 100 Greatest Romanians, ranking #77.

Ion Țiriac became the first Romanian to enter Forbes’ List of billionaires in the 2007 Forbes rankings, ranking 840th in the world.

His wealth was estimated at $1.0 billion as of 2010, according to the magazine. In 2010, TOP 300 Capital declared Ion Țiriac the richest man in Romania with a wealth estimated at €1.5–€1.6 billion ($2–$2.2 billion).

In 2018, Ion Țiriac ranked #1867 on the Forbes World’s Billionaires list, with wealth listed at US$1.2 billion.

Țiriac was married to Erika Braedt, a handball player, between 1963 and 1965.

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