Pat Cash Q&A
Skysports.com caught up with former Wimbledon champion Pat Cash to discuss all things US Open 2009.
Last Updated: 25/09/09 5:38pm
£189. That is how much you would have scooped had you put just £1 of your hard earned on Juan Martin Del Potro and Kim Clijsters to win their respective singles tournaments at the US Open.
And while a star was born in 20-year-old Del Potro, it was the winning return of Clijsters which grabbed the headlines during a enthralling two weeks of action, and controversy, at Flushing Meadows.
The Belgian 'supermom' returned to the WTA circuit two months after walking away from the sport, and promptly reminded the tennis world of her talents by disposing of both the Williams' sisters en route to a second US Open title.
There had been high hopes for Britain's Andy Murray as he returned to New York one year after his maiden Grand Slam final, however the out-of-sorts Scotsman succumbed at the fourth-round stage to prolong his wait for major glory.
One man accustomed to the highs and lows of Flushing Meadows is 1984 semi-finalist Pat Cash, the flamboyant Aussie playing in arguably the greatest ever US Open match when he lost a fifth set tie-breaker to Ivan Lendl.
So, who better to give a post-mortem on all the drama in the New York than Cash.
The 2009 US Open will be remembered by many as the Grand Slam Juan Martin Del Potro stunned Roger Federer. Did you see that coming?
"I think most people were shell-shocked by Del Potro thumping (Rafael) Nadal like he did in the semi-final. After that I think people thought there could be a potential upset but I don't think anyone really thought he could do it. He did play very well once he got into the match and of course everyone loves watching Federer play but I think in many ways people were quite relieved to see another face on the scene."
How far do you think Del Potro can go now he has got that first major under his belt?
"I don't know for sure. I would think he would get another Grand Slam at some stage. I think he and Murray will be fighting it out at a few Grand Slams. I think Djokovic is an outside bet now. There are other good players like (Jo-Wilfried) Tsonga and (Gael) Monfils - they are two great French players, but I still see Federer and Nadal being at the top, but for the first time in either of their careers there are some serious threats to them."
You said a moment ago that no-one expected Del Potro to beat Federer. Do you think Federer himself was as surprised as anyone with the way Del Potro played? We saw footage on TV of Federer swearing at the umpire at one point, do you think that was a measure of how rattled he was?
"First of all the umpire deserved everything he got, that was absolutely ridiculous to tell Roger Federer to be quiet. I think he was more surprised at how poorly he played, I think that was the worst final he has ever played, but it is a sign of the times. There are players who will not put up with his junk - he hit a lot of junk. Nadal and Murray have been able to deal with it and it is a sign of the times. The guys are coming towards the net now and Federer hit the ball all over the place, he will be very disappointed with the way he played in that match. He let Del Potro back in and that is very un-Federer like. In many ways I think he didn't concentrate, but you have good days and bad days and in a way it is nice seeing Federer having a bad day because it proves he is human."
How would you sum up Andy Murray's performance? A lot of fans back home had high hopes for him, but he looked short of fitness to me?
"He played one bad match, he clearly wasn't focused or physically and mentally he wasn't quite there. But he had a very good summer, he won the big tournament in Montreal, and he continues to improve and it is just a learning lesson. There is no need to panic but he needs to learn his lesson during his time off and freshen up towards the end of the year. He is a contender for the top so I think it is important he finishes the year well."
Do you think the British fans are guilty of putting too much pressure on Murray, and do you think this could be having an impact on his game?
"I don't think it is affecting his game yet, I think he has got some improving to do. I think he deals with things really well, and it (the hype) is all a bit crazy and ridiculous but for all the expectations that he has and everything that goes on at Wimbledon in particular, the rest of the year he is away from most of it. He is very calm, he is a nice kid, he has got a very smart head on his shoulders - he is a sharp kid. For his age he is pretty mature and I'm sure he'll bounce back."
Away from the men's game and on to the women. Kim Clijsters came back pretty spectacularly, to win the US Open two years after retiring from the sport is some achievement?
"Oh fantastic. Phenomenal achievement from her. She is a great athlete, super player and more than that she is a great girl and I am delighted to see her doing well. I think she surprised everybody, I'm sure she surprised herself as well that she could come out and win the tournament. It's a good thing though because it really puts things into perspective that some of the girls at the top are falling very well below their par. (Maria) Sharapova, (Ana) Ivanovic, (Dinara) Safina, girls like that are not playing at their best and the Williams' girls, as good as they are, they still dominate women's tennis after all these years. It just shows that when somebody runs into form like Kim can really play. I'm looking for Steffi Graf to return to the game, I reckon she would be a real threat."
"Yes I'm serious, I think she could at the age of 44, she could get out there and be a real challenge for the Grand Slams next year. She played in the Wimbledon roof closing event and nearly beat Kim Clijsters and she practices a lot. I think with a few tournaments under her belt, I don't know if she still has the interest but her style of game would make it really difficult for the girls - they wouldn't be able to handle her at all. I'm calling for Steffi to make a comeback! I'm going to make a petition!"
Well we heard it here first. Now just a final word on Serena Williams and her outburst at the line-judge in New York. How much do you think that incident will affect her performance and popularity in the future?
"I don't think it will affect her at all, she lost her temper. Under the circumstances, defending her title, really struggling, working her way back into the match, not playing well and then to have that foot fault, which shows on the replay it wasn't a foot fault, being called on her - that would have made a saint swear! That's the way it goes, I think more players should lose their temper and show a bit more natural human emotion. There are a few robots out there at the moment."
Pat Cash is a Barclays ATP World Tour Finals ambassador. The event is taking place between the 22nd-29th November 2009 at London's O2 Arena and will be shown live on Sky Sports and for more information visit www.barclaysatpworldtourfinals.com.