ADRIAN SMITH: I first met Pat about 15 years ago in a pub in Sydney when Iron Maiden was on a world tour. I hadn't heard of him as a tennis player then. He was only in his late teens, a promising junior who'd just started competing on the senior circuit. Nevertheless, I was impressed. To me, anyone with an Australian accent wielding a tennis racket is cool. He came along to meet us with some other young tennis players - a little shy, very tall. I tried to be nice to all the kids that hung around us because we saw ourselves as being a guys' band.
Without really intending to, I began to follow Pat's progress. I'd turn on a hotel television and there he'd be, working his way up through the ranks. Then I kept seeing him on the road; he'd be playing matches in key cities like New York and we'd hook up. Pat used to make a point of contacting the tour manager to find out where our band was performing and get VIP access to our concerts.
But it wasn't until I moved back to London a few years later that I really got to know him. I was living in Fulham with my wife, expecting our first child. I was pulling out of my drive one day and this man walked out in front of my car, limping. I ground to a halt and glared at him. He looked indignant. It was Pat, changed and grown up. And it turned out he was living round the corner!
The impression he gave then was that he was on his own and rather lonely. He'd recently split up from a long-term girlfriend. I was recording a solo album so I suggested he come along to the studio and hang out. I introduced him to my circle of friends, who were musicians, and it went from there. Once his knee had recovered, he'd ring me up and say: "I'm at the Queens Club, do you fancy coming up for a hit?" For a tennis fan like me that was a thrill.
Pat used to take me to Wimbledon while he was still competing, and it was great to watch him play. I saw him win in '87 but I've also seen him lose. In team games you can share your losses, but in tennis it's you and the other guy out there - it's do or die. The losses are felt more acutely and I confess I often didn't always know what to say on those occasions. I've always sensed that Pat is sensitive about those things, and much as I'd like to talk tennis with him all the time, I try not to push it.
Pat has made the transition to commentating very well. There's definitely a need for players just coming out of the game to give their insights, and it's fascinating to hear the different angles they have on the game. Boris Becker gets into the heads of the players and reads their body language. John McEnroe is as emotional as he was when he played. Pat is very technical; he knows exactly what the guy did right or wrong.
When I see him up on stage with a guitar it's quite endearing. When you're used to seeing someone being coldly efficient on court and suddenly they go on stage and into your world - it's fascinating. Pat used to be inhibited and unsure of himself. Now he's quite a showman, though he's not given to Pete Towns-hend flourishes yet. But he's found a good formula: have a good time, and show the audience you're having a good time. I think Pat feels he's done all the hard slog in his life early on, and earned the right to have some fun. Now he wants to try everything once.
Pat has calmed down with maturity. He used to be excitable and have a temper like a tea kettle, arguing with umpires. As a player at the height of his powers he could have won a few more Wimbledons. His injuries were a terrible shame. He had charisma on court along the lines of McEnroe. But parenthood and domestic bliss have centred him. He's become a bit more seasoned and philosophical, with a broader vision.
PAT CASH: We first met way back in October '82. Iron Maiden was touring the world, promoting their latest album. I was in Sydney playing a big indoor tournament. I was just starting to do well on the circuit, competing alongside guys like McEnroe and Connors. Through a local radio station I heard Iron Maiden was performing and I just had to go along. At 18 I was a huge fan of British heavy metal, so I snuck a little tape recorder into the pocket of my leather jacket, to tape the concert for posterity. I remember being searched on the way in and someone from the record company wagging his finger at me, saying: "You're not supposed to do that."
After the concert, I managed to go backstage along with my mates to meet my idols. Like any other kid I was interested in who designed the album sleeves and what their future plans were. It transpired that both Steve Harris, the bass player, and Adrian were tennis enthusiasts who played a lot in their spare time, and that broke the ice. We got on pretty well considering they were seasoned rock stars in their mid 20s. We met again in Melbourne where they were performing and I was in a tournament. I saw three concerts in a row that time and my ears were still ringing seven days later.
It was mutual admiration to begin with. Adrian sported that big hairdo that was prevalent at the time among rock musicians and I had a toned- down version. I was all over the globe on the tennis circuit in the mid- Eighties and Iron Maiden was constantly touring. We kept popping up in the same cities.
The first time I ran into Adrian in this country was in London. Unbeknown to each other we were practically neighbours, both living in Fulham. I remember hobbling along on crutches during my injury period, and walking across his driveway as he was reversing his car and I was nearly run over. The air turned blue with expletives, both of us full of righteous indignation. Then came the double takes, "It's Adrian", "Good grief, it's Pat."
It was such a timely meeting for me. I had split up with my partner Anne- Britt and the loneliness was compounded by injury. We started playing snooker. Then Adrian was recording his first solo album and I was allowed in the studio and met a whole new circle of people. I met the musicians in my band, The Wild Colonial Boys, through Adrian. Some of them are ex- members of Iron Maiden.
Over recent years I've spent a lot of time in the UK recovering from injuries and working on projects. We come together quite often as families for barbecues. Our children love each other and get on really well. We both have a set of twins. Adrian has daughters, I have sons. And our wives are good friends; on the phone to each other all the time, organising charity rock concerts together.
There is a similarity between rock and tennis. You're thrust into the limelight with thousands of people watching your every move, waiting for you to excel or fall flat on your face. We travel the world doing our own thing, fulfilling our commitments, and it's quite a solitary life, missing our wives. Adrian and I are both at the stage now where we've had our fling with stardom and are looking to other things. Adrian used to be on the mad constantly but now he's almost a house husband. He's been through the mill and come out wiser. In an ideal world we would live near each other, somewhere warm.Reuse content