Pat says Mur­ray’s gotit

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - SPORT -

PAT CASH can scarcely be­lieve it, but it is 25 years since he played a sig­nif­i­cant part in what is still re­mem­bered as Su­per Satur­day, one of the epic days in the his­tory of US Open ten­nis.

Play at Flush­ing Mead­ows that day in 1984 be­gan at 11.07am and ended at 11.16pm, em­brac­ing an over-35s match be­tween John Newcombe and Stan Smith, a women’s fi­nal be­tween Martina Navratilova and Chris Evert, in which the for­mer pre­vailed 6-4 in the de­cid­ing set, and two thrilling five-set men’s semi-fi­nals, with John McEn­roe beat­ing Jimmy Con­nors in one, and Cash yield­ing two match points in the other, be­fore los­ing to Ivan Lendl.

A quar­ter of a cen­tury on, Cash smiles at the mem­ory. “New York is no­to­ri­ous for the worst um­pires,” he says.

“I was on the re­ceiv­ing end, los­ing a match point on a dis­puted call. It haunted me for a long time, but it made me keep push­ing to get Lendl “ Cash said.

As the match pro­gressed, with the juicy prospect of McEn­roe v Con­nors to come, the crowd be­came rau­cous even by New York’s fa­mously an­i­mated stan­dards. Lendl had lost in the two pre­ced­ing fi­nals, and was the sen­ti­men­tal favourite.

But as the clear un­der­dog, Cash, too, at­tracted thun­der­ous sup­port.

“It was about half and half, and they were go­ing nuts. McEn­roe later said, ‘I’ve got to thank you for beat­ing Lendl up’. He’d been so sore af­ter his semi, and was think­ing ‘Oh God, I’ve got to play Lendl now’.

What, I ask him, are his thoughts about this year’s US Open, which be­gins on Mon­day. Last year, of course, Andy Mur­ray reached the fi­nal. Can the Scots­man go a step fur­ther and win the thing?

“He can, and he loves the sur­face. But the balls suit him even more than the sur­face. So Mur­ray can hit a lot of win­ners, which he was less able to do at the French (Open) and Wim­ble­don. He’ll win a Grand Slam, for sure, and he could get three or four, maybe even half a dozen.

“But that kind of de­pends on how long (Rafael) Nadal and (Roger) Fed­erer stick around.”

In Mur­ray’s game, Cash be­lieves, there is still room for sig­nif­i­cant im­prove­ment.

“He has a very good at­tack­ing game, but he needs to learn when to use it.

“He sure knows a lot about ten­nis, and that will help him im­prove. At Wim­ble­don and the French he wasn’t sure when to step up and take the game to his op­po­nent.”

Re­fer­ring to McEn­roe, Cash said even on the se­niors cir­cuit there is not much ev­i­dence of his old foe hav­ing fun.

But are the tantrums just McEn­roe’s way of play­ing to the crowd?

“No, they’re real. Look, Mac just loses his tem­per all the time. It amazes me how com­pet­i­tive and mean the guy still is.”

– Belfast Tele­graph

AIM­ING HIGH: Grand Slam prospect Andy Mur­ray

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