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Tennis: Former Wimbledon champion unplugged

May 11, 2001

Richard Dunn

NEWPORT BEACH - Pat Cash admits that every now and then on the

worldwide men's senior tennis circuit, the good-ol'-boy network comes

through as players keep a match a bit more interesting.

"We lie a little bit on line calls," Cash said at the Success Magazine

Champions Tour at Newport Beach Tennis Club, where he appears to be a

contender for the finals.

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Cash's tongue-in-cheek statement seems to truly represent the

Champions Tour, which is part showmanship, part nostalgia and part

competition.

But he praised the tour's old-court styles and ripped the game's

status-quo player on the Association of Tennis Professionals Tour.

"I consistently hit with the pros (on the ATP Tour) and they're all

one-dimensional players. There aren't a lot of different styles," said

Cash, who won Wimbledon in 1987, becoming the first Australian to win

there since John Newcombe in 1971.

Cash said "variety" is lacking in men's tennis, and, while the nature

of the game promotes consistency, junior players are being lined up on

the conveyor belt and shuffled through a system of confusing and

sometimes questionable rankings.

And, because of the way today's players are being groomed, with an

emphasis on hard ground strokes and less attention to the

serve-and-volley game, Cash said "it's like rankings by numbers."

Cash, who twice in his career reached the Australian Open final, said

the courts have changed and he has "never believed that equipment" is the

culprit for the baseline game that dominates tennis.

He added that players on the ATP Tour today, while touted as bigger,

stronger and faster by the media, are not in better condition than during

his prime in the 1980s.

"I have no doubt that players 10-15 years ago were fitter than now,"

said Cash, " ... but they're also six inches taller. The game of tennis

has improved in that players hit ground strokes harder, but I'd say there

are only a half dozen players (on the ATP Tour) who know how to

serve-and-volley well ... we're a dying breed."

A typical throwback on the senior tour, Cash is a classic,

hard-fighting serve-and-volleyer.

And, while Cash has recently announced his retirement from full-time

duty on the circuit to spend more time with his family and pursue some

business interests, he looked in top shape Thursday afternoon in his

round-robin singles victory over Guillermo Vilas, 6-1, 6-3.

Cash, whose highest singles ranking on the ATP Tour was No. 4 (1988),

said it's good for the senior tour to feature "old-court style" players

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