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Sunday, June 23, 2019

Pat Cash who defeated Ivan Lendl in financial trouble !!


In 1983, my friends had booked a movie ticket [hard to get those days] and gracefully invited me – it was K Viswanath’s classic ‘Salangai Oli’ – Kamal Jayapradha starrer with classic hits of Illayaraja.  I refused as those were the days when Semis & Finals of Wimbledon would be shown live .. .. .. my favourite Ivan Lendl was to play John McEnroe.  A few years earlier, I had started following Tennis seeing the exploits of Bjorn Borg.  McEnroe defeated Ivan Lendl, played the unseeded Chris Lewis in the finals won in straight sets 6–2, 6–2, 6–2 to claims his 2nd Wimbledon title.   My friends were to make fun of me, not only for missing the movie but also for my unbridled support for Ivan Lendl.

To me, Lendl was the MS Dhoni of those days – exceptionally talented, very cool player.  He was World No. 1 for some time, won French Open, won US Open but ‘grass was for cows’ as he failed again and again at Wimbledon.  When he lost, I would not read the newspaper as I  could not digest details of his loss. He was a tennis machine, stoic in patience, yet not so endeared to the crowd.  May be because of his baseline game in an era of serve and volleyers.    In 1987, I was hoping for his title triumph,   Lendl narrowly avoided the ignominy of early  defeat. In a rain interrupted match, Lendl went  to bed on Thursday night a set down and 5-5 in the second, against the Italian Paolo Cane. The crucial moment came the following day, when Cane, leading 2-1 in sets, broke Lendl in the fourth set to lead 4-3. Cane had two points in the next game to lead 5-3, but Lendl hit back, winning the next four games to take the set 7-5, and easily strolling through the last set 6-1.

In 1987, I had reasons to believe that Lendl would make it .. .. Boris Becker,  the two-time defending champion,  lost in the second round to Peter Doohan. Andre Agassi made his first appearance in the main draw at Wimbledon, losing in the first round to Henri Leconte. Agassi would not compete at Wimbledon again until 1991 due to his disagreement with the All England Club's dress code. Lendl made it through to his second final in a year, in a tight four set victory over Edberg, the crucial moment occurring when Lendl won the third set on a tie break.  So came the finals – Ivan Lendl against Pat Cash, the Australian.  Lendl was in great form but on that evening 32 years ago,   Pat Cash, sporting a black-and-white chequered headband that would never be sanctioned today, punched an angled volley into the open court and then celebrated his first grand-slam title with an unscheduled ascent towards his friends and family in the player’s box above the scoreboard.

The final on Sunday July 5 was definitely a clash of styles: the popular, crowd favourite Cash, with his serve-volley game, against the stand-offish, machine-like Lendl, relying on his powerful baseline play. But Cash's game was so well oiled in the first set that Lendl only won six points on the Australian's serve (before the tie break), and Lendl knew the kind of afternoon he was in for when in his first service game he had to save five break points.  In the Second, Cash was simply brilliant.   Cash showed no nerves, and rather appropriately served his way to the championship – not sure in the manner Lendl reacted after the loss, but I was crestfallen.

Aside, the man Peter Doohan who ousted Boris Becker   reached his highest Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) singles ranking of World No. 43 in Aug 1987.    Doohan died in  2017 from motor neurone disease. Motor neuron diseases (MNDs) are a group of neurodegenerative disorders that selectively affect motor neurons, the cells which control voluntary muscles of the body.  A motor neuron (or motoneuron) is a neuron whose cell body is located in the motor cortex, brainstem or the spinal cord, and whose axon (fiber) projects to the spinal cord or outside of the spinal cord to directly or indirectly control effector organs, mainly muscles and glands.

Today’s MailOnline carries an article on Pat Cash .. ..  Wimbledon champion Pat Cash claims God 'sent' him money when he was left almost penniless after divorcing his wife.  The 54-year-old tennis star told The Mail on Sunday that money 'miracles' have happened 20 times in his lifetime.  He said: 'Whenever I need money, God sends some.  'Just enough to pay the bills. It happens all the time. Whenever I am in trouble or stuck, I get a new deal, renew a contract or am offered another income stream. This has happened 20 times. It's weird. 'I had legal bills and financial commitments towards my family and ex-wife – and nowhere to live.'

Cash, who won the Wimbledon men's singles title in 1987, credits his faith with helping him through the darkest times in his life.   He said: 'I remember one day looking up to the sky and going, "'God, will you please take over all my finances?"  'Within hours, a friend of mine called and asked me to play a tennis event which paid several thousand pounds and the highest fee I had ever earned for a set of doubles.'  Cash has talked in the past about his financial troubles, saying that playing tennis professionally from a young age left him with little knowledge about personal finance.

He has also detailed that playing in the Association of Tennis Professionals' Champions Tour has helped him earn money in retirement.  Besides winning Wimbledon in 1987 (defeating Ivan Lendl) he also made Australian Open finals in 1987 and 1988 on his way to career prize money of approximately £1.5 million.  Cash divorced his ex-wife Emily Bendit in 2002,  after 12 years of marriage.  The pair has twin boys - Shannon and Jett Cash - who were born in 1994.  Cash also had two children in a previous relationship with former Norwegian model Anne-Britt Kristiansen.

.. .. it is hard to read that stars rising to such heights get in to deep financial trouble.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
23rd June 2019.

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