Tennis: Cash slams British `snobs'

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The Independent Online
THE FORMER Wimbledon champion Pat Cash has criticised British tennis, calling it a middle-class game in which the English "don't have the stomach for a fight". Although two British players - Tim Henman and Greg Rusedski - finished the year in the top 10, Cash, who was beaten 6-7, 7-6, 10-8 by Yannick Noah in the ATP Tour Seniors event at London's Olympia yesterday, said the game needs a tougher, working-class image.

"Tim Henman's a very nice guy and a very good player but he has that comfortable, middle-class look about him," Cash said. "The only English player who seems gutsy enough is Greg Rusedski and that shows what I mean, because he is Canadian. Rusedski is the hungry one. He hasn't Tim's flair but he's as tough as anybody.

"What tennis needs is some working-class icons, street kids made good who people can identify with. Even in Australia tennis is regarded as a sport for sissies but guys like me and Pat Rafter have shown that we have the competitive edge you need.

"Over here, tennis is viewed in the same way, and no one has done much to change that. The snobby image of the All England Club and Queen's Club is not much help either."

Guy Forget became the second Frenchman to win a Civic Group match when he beat Lloyd 6-3 6-4 in the second game of the day.

Lloyd, at 44, is 11 years older than Forget, and was overcome in 59 minutes to disappoint the home crowd.