Tennis interview: Cash back on champion form after battling his demons

Pat Cash.

Pat Cash.

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Pat Cash created a Wimbledon tradition – he was the first player so elated by winning the championship that he climbed into the stands and up to the player’s box at Centre Court to hug his delighted family and coach.

“There’s no feeling like winning Wimbledon and no better moment to show your emotions.

“All I could think of was getting to the people who helped me make it,” says 
Cash, whose first-hand knowledge of the game combined with his relaxed, straight-talking style has made him a hugely popular tennis commentator.

Cash knows all about the ups and downs of the sport which made him a national sporting hero but almost broke him.

A child prodigy, he started his international career at 14, played his first Wimbledon tournament at 16, won it 
when he was 22, reached a career high singles ranking of World No. 4 in 1988 but, plagued by injuries, finally retired in 1997.

As well as the triumphs, which were many, including being the youngest person ever to win the Davis Cup singles title, he revealed 12 years ago in his autobiography, Uncovered, that he suffered a host of personal problems.

He reportedly battled a drug habit, underwent a spell in rehabilitation when he 
was suffering depression, 
and his two marriages broke up.

These days Cash, 48, is reluctant to dwell on the ‘dark days’ of the past but says although he would not want anyone else to experience his struggles, they taught him a lot.

“Tennis defined me.

“Winning became my obsession and my self-esteem was dependent on it.

“It’s only when you’re older and gain a more mature perspective that you realise it was your work, not your life.

“I’d had a lot of success but when I got my roll of injuries, my dreams came crashing down.”

Since then he’s rallied and flourished.

“I’ve got to the stage in my life where I’m trying not to control everything and worry as much.

“Instead, I’m letting things roll and letting God take control of it all,” says Cash, who was brought up a Roman Catholic but now describes himself simply as a Christian.

“On my arm I have a tattoo of a proverb ‘this too shall pass’ next to a rose.

“It reminds me not just that the bad times will pass, but the good times will also pass, so you have to live in the present and enjoy them.”

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