Tennis: Cash has to take his chances after defeat

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The Independent Online
Treating us to reminders of his sublime attacking style, Pat Cash came close, but not close enough, to eliminating the fourth seed, Wayne Ferreira, and earning a place in today's quarter-finals of the $1m Dubai Open.

The 31-year-old former Wimbledon champion then packed his rackets and prepared to return to London and his role as orphan of the tour, in limbo between the current generation and the senior circuit, unsure where his next match was coming from.

Yesterday Cash saved five match points before losing to Ferreira, the 1995 champion, 3-6, 6-2, 7-5. The Australian depends nowadays on wild cards from generous promoters or has to rely on his willpower to see him through tough pre-qualifying events. His progress this week will raise his world ranking from 755 to around 570.

"The public think I've been retired for a while because I've been injured," Cash went on, expressing disappointment about the perceived indifference shown towards him by the Australian tennis establishment.

An heroic Davis Cup competitor during the 1980s, Cash was in Melbourne last month when the Australians were preparing to topple France, the holders, and is aggrieved at not being asked to hit with the squad.

"To say I'm being ignored by Tennis Australia and the people who run the Davis Cup team would be an understatement," he said. "It's been that way pretty much since [John] Newcombe took over, but that's par for the course, so I'm not surprised."

Asked if he considered himself welcomed more by the tennis fraternity in Britain, his adoptive home, Cash said: "I do, yes, which is sad. I've been invited to hit with the British team and the British guys pretty much any time I want to. I've never been invited by Tennis Australia to do anything at all."

Asked if he sympathised with Cash, Ferreira said: "Any time he plays somebody else. I can't afford it when he plays me. I think he's lucky to be playing, and he should play to enjoy it, happy to be playing and not expecting too much."

Ferreira, unhappy with his own form even though he had helped South Africa reach the quarter-finals of the Davis Cup by defeating Russia in Durban last weekend, trailed Cash 0-5 after 18 minutes of the opening set before pulling his game together.

In the deciding set, Cash survived a fraught second game and then failed to convert any of four break points in the third game. Having saved the first match point with a stop volley at 4-5, Cash wasted two opportunities to crack Ferreira in the 11th game. Ferreira held for 5-6 when Cash mis-hit a backhand on game point. The Australian's tenacity denied Ferreira four more match points in the 12th game before a mis-hit high backhand volley ended his tournament.

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