By Leighton Ginn
Former BNP Paribas Open owner and tournament director Charlie Pasarell said his mentor Pancho Gonzalez request an unknown 15-year-old get a wildcard. Without question or seeing the kid, Pasarell gave the kid a wildcard.
That kid happened to be Andre Agassi.
Agassi did well in the first round, beating John Austin, setting up a matchup against then No. 1 Mats Wilander.
Prior to the match, Wilander came into Pasarell’s office to ask what he knew about Agassi.
Pasarell didn’t know much, but suggest Wilander avoid his forehand.
When Pasarell went to watch the match, Wilander hit every shot to Agassi’s forehand, and won in dominating fashion, which Pasarell jokes about.
“Well that’s how much I know about the game of tennis,” Pasarell said laughing.
Because Agassi was an amateur, he couldn’t accept prize money. But Pasarell said made sure Agassi was properly compensated.
Agassi had put in his expenses as $300, but the prize money for reaching the second round was $1,000.
But Pasarell said he looked at Agassi’s expenses and thought there were things that were off, and made his corrections.
The story was later told differently by Agassi in his autobiography, “Open.”
Below is the full video of Pasarell talking about Agassi at the BNP Paribas Open.