I recently caught up with my friend, a former Wimbledon champion, the legendary Pat Cash. Pat has a lot of exciting news to report in 2009, as he is the ambassador for the year-end London Barclay's Masters Cup, which has been hosted by Shanghai for the last five years and is now making its way back to Europe in 2009.
Harry Cicma: Pat, first of all, how's life after the pro tour going?
Pat Cash: I have been traveling more than ever over the last few years. I'm a rolling stone, most Aussies athletes are. Well, they have to be otherwise they wouldn't be able to compete internationally ... Australia's a bit hard to commute from. I'm on the seniors' legends tour, and I'm lucky enough to still compete and visit some great places. [Needless to say] it's the legends tour and more relaxed than the pro tour. I make sure I do the sightseeing that I didn't do when I was full time on the tour.
I have a tennis academy in Australia that's been running for 10 years now, but as I base myself mainly out of London in recent years to be nearer my kids I have been setting up some academies around the world. Thailand and the Caribbean are just two places.
I also follow the Grand Slams writing for the Times on Sunday and commentating mainly for the BBC in the UK.
Cicma: So you're the main ambassador of the year-end Barclay's championships, which will now be held in London. Can you talk about the excitement of hosting this event in your home country?
Cash: The ATP end-of-year finals or playoffs is now in London, and I will be working to make sure that the event gets the attention it deserves throughout Europe by doing some awareness PR and helping out the event organizers in any way I can. It has been in Shanghai for the past five years, and I think a well-deserved return to Europe was in order, as Europe really is the tennis center of the world these days. It will be an awesome event with the best eight players playing off.
Cicma: What differences can we expect to see between your event and the Shanghai tournament?
Cash: I think this event will be more glamorous and more fun for the players. They don't have to fly across to the other side of the world for the last event; they can enjoy the Xmas spirit in London, see a West End play or concert and of course some great food, shopping and sightseeing.
Cicma: Starting now, you will "shoot" a tennis ball into the sky every day leading up to the event. Why did you decide to do this ritual?
Cash: It was really just a fun way to countdown the days and make Londoners aware of the event. This 'clock' will be at the incredible O2 arena attracting attention.
Cicma: Pat, you like to do things "in style." What kind of "Pat Cash flair" can we expect to see at this event? (I.E., a lot of player events, parties, special features?)
Cash: Most importantly, it is a serious tennis event, but it's also entertainment. We have had discussions about doing/forming the biggest profile pro/am event possible, with some well known tennis loving celebs teaming with some legends in a fun playoff. We will see if that gets done in the first or second year ... don't be surprised to see a rock band or two pop up.
Cicma: Finally, you had a nice tournament win at Jim Courier's Outback event in Newport. Can we expect to see you hitting a few tennis balls with the players come London 2009?
Cash: I'm hitting pretty well. I'm sure I will get around to hit with the players if they get stuck for a warm up or a light workout. But the real 110 percent stuff I will leave between them. I will stick to the Outback tour players.
For more information check out: Patcash.net
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