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Last Updated: Monday, 11 October, 2004, 15:07 GMT 16:07 UK
Q&A: Pat Cash
Pat Cash
Former Wimbledon winner Pat Cash took time out from playing on the Delta Tour of Champions to answer your questions.

Australian Pat is best remembered for winning Wimbledon in 1987 and clambering into the stands to embrace his family and coach.

These days he runs his own academy, commentates for BBC television and continues to play tennis.

Pat is currently at the Delta Tour of Champions event in Eindhoven where he is trying to qualify for The Masters Tennis presented by Cunard at the Royal Albert Hall in London (30th November - 5th December).

Many thanks for all your questions, a selection of the best appear below.


Pat, who was your most feared opponent during the late 80's when serve volley tennis was so prominent?
Simon Mundie, UK

I always had trouble with Boris Becker. He had a lot of power and was able to produce winners even when you had him on the ropes. He could suddenly serve two aces and that was very frustrating. I did beat him a couple of times but he was certainly one I found tough.

During your career, which was your favourite tournament to play in, taking into consideration the place, atmosphere and surface?
Matt, Dudley, UK

I always liked Wimbledon. It was a special tournament for me - a special tournament for all Australians - it was a surface I liked, it suited my game, and I won there, so that always makes you feel good!

I found the Australian Open a lot of pressure so I didn't enjoy that as much, although I did really enjoy the first year or so at the new stadium (Melbourne Park). I lost closely in the final to Mats Wilander in the 1988 final and that was enjoyable. But Wimbledon still takes the cake.

Who are the greatest players that you have played against when you were at the top of your game? Which rivalry did you enjoy the most?
Sundar, USA

I enjoyed the guys that I could beat easily, but there weren't many of those around! The matches that were exciting for me were against Wilander, we had some great ones. We had contrasting styles like the Borg vs. McEnroe matches - with me at the net and Mats passing and lobbing me. It made for very exciting matches.

In your opinion who's the best grass court player ever?
John , UK

Pete Sampras. He just had it all. He had an amazing serve, volley, and he was a great athlete. He had a fantastic record and as a traditional serve-volleyer, he's the best I've seen.

What was it like to be involved with the making of the film 'Wimbledon'?
Bradley Lancaster, UK

It was a lot of fun and I enjoyed it. It was a tough job though. I really didn't know what I was getting myself in for when the Producer and Director said it was just a few weeks work and that they wanted me to coach the guys and be on-site when they were filming the tennis sequences.

When I got there I realised that these guys (Paul Bettany and Kirsten Dunst) were just beginners, so it was a tough job! I asked the Directors what sort of tennis scenes they were going to have and they said, 'I don't know, you've got to write them!' That was fun though, that was the best part.

I just made up my fantasy tennis matches where the players would hit a great forehand, a great volley, a great smash and then put them all together. With it being a movie there was no such thing as just a good serve and a solid volley, it had to be spectacular all the time!

It was fun playing with the actors as well because they were really interested, keen pupils.

Kirsten had a few problems because she wasn't quite strong enough, but she was hitting the ball quite well by the end of it. The two main guys Paul Bettany and Austin Nichols - the guy he played in the final - they did really well and were able to have rallies and play points. It wasn't all trickery and computer generated stuff, although some of the more intricate rallies were faked.

Do you think you have a good chance of winning The Masters Tennis at the Royal Albert Hall? If so, who is your greatest rival in the competition?
Ronnie Gardocki, UK

I've got a few tournaments leading into it and traditionally I need that, so I'll get a lot better before the Masters Tennis. It's a tough ask because there's a lot of young players and guys who are playing more than me. I'll give it a shot though. I'm certainly fit enough to last the matches, so we'll wait and see.

Was your celebration when you won the Wimbledon title planned or was it spur of the moment?
Dipesh Halai, England

It was planned. For many years I said that it wasn't, that it was spontaneous, but I had planned it, although not very well! I'd made up my mind that it was something that I wanted to do for my Dad and my coach if I ever won Wimbledon, and the night before the final I decided I would do it if I won. I didn't plan it too well though and got stuck halfway up! But it was something I wanted to do to say thank you to the people that mattered to me most.

Pat - As a former junior Grand Slam winner yourself, what do you see as the key steps required from a top junior such as Andrew Murray or Miles Kasiri in order for them to fulfill their potential in the senior ranks?
Jonathan Rees, UK

It's very tough out there. They have got to have good guidance and good, experienced coaches alongside them. They have also got to work hard. I gather Murray is a really hard worker which is a good thing. You've got to win matches in the juniors first, and he's doing that. There's a lot of things involved and you've got to have a bit of luck as well.

Lleyton is still among an elite group of players, but do you think he can dominate again and win another Slam?
Alex, UK

Lleyton is a tough competitor, but when it comes down to it he's just been out-played by Federer, who seems to be getting even better. But Federer probably can't keep that up, he could get injured, and Lleyton might come through. I think he's got a good chance against someone like Roddick, he hasn't got the power of Roddick but he's so tough mentally. Lleyton is still a fair way back from Federer, but then again everyone is!

What do you think of the current state of the womens game?
Gareth Harrison, England

It's been great to see the changes with the Russians winning. The depth is getting stronger and stronger and more like the men's circuit with different winners at each event. I'd like to see Venus Williams get back although I don't know if that's going to happen. Clijsters should get back in time and Henin-Hardenne will probably get over her illnesses as well. If they all can, it will be a really good 2005.

With so many injuries on the men's and women's tours, do you think players have to play too much? What do you think should be done to improve things?
Paul Lindsay, UK

I do think they have to play too much and I also think the surfaces are all very similar so you get repetition injuries much like any other sport when you do the same thing all the time.

Tennis is a very tough sport on the body, and there's not that many who get out of tennis without some sort of permanent injury that they have to constantly look after for the rest of their life. I think it would be better to have more time off but it's easier said than done.

If you could play a match against any player from past or present who would you choose? (and what would be the outcome?!)
Lucie, Northern Ireland

I'd like to have played a bunch of guys. I never played Pete Sampras and I'm not too sure I would have liked that very much anyway! Guys like Rod Laver, who I have heard so much about over the years, or even Fred Perry or Jack Kramer, Lew Hoad or Pancho Gonzalez.

Those were the guys that I'd heard about from my Davis Cup captains and coaches and I'd loved to have got out with them and played with the wooden racquets. To hit it cleanly with a wood racquet really took a bit of effort, and those guys could do it. They must have been fantastic players, but of course I would have beaten all of them, easily! Why are you laughing?





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