Pat Cash – the King of Kooyong returnsPosted on November 2, 2016
The King of Kooyong, Pat Cash, will return to his favourite venue as an ambassador for the 2017 Priceline Pharmacy Kooyong Classic.
The traditional pre Australian Open event will be held from Tuesday 10 January to Friday 13 January 2017 at the Kooyong Lawn Tennis Club.
Cash, who had his first tennis lesson at the famous club and won his first senior tournament, the Victorian Open, at Kooyong when he was just 17, will be on hand throughout the four day event and may even make a return to his old hunting ground on court. Fitting given Cash won the first Kooyong Classic in 1998 in the lead up to the first Australian Open at Melbourne Park.
“I’m there to help out,” Cash said. “Looking after players, chatting to sponsors, do a few interviews and play a few exhibition matches. I’m not too keen on singles, but a few doubles matches would be fun,” Cash said from his London base, having just returned from the WTA finals in Singapore where he was compiling interviews for the CNN show ‘Open Court’ which he hosts.
As a Kooyong member, Cash is no doubt a little biased when it comes to his reflections – he also spent his youth on centre court in the 70’s watching the likes of Newcombe and Connors in their epic Kooyong encounters.
“They used to let the kids come and sit on the side of the court and I was one of those kids that used to sit on the side and watch,” Cash recalled.
The youngest player to win the Victorian Open, the youngest to play in a Davis Cup Final in Australia’s 1983 win over Sweden, and Cash’s epic come-from-behind win over Mikael Pernfors in 1986 Davis Cup final are just some of the moments etched in the memories of Australian sports fans.
“For me it’s the spiritual home of Australian tennis. The legendary grandstand, the clubhouse, there’s just so much history. The locker rooms haven’t changed much so it brings back a lot of good memories of Davis Cup and the Australian Open,” Cash said
“There’s a lot of good memories there… some tough ones as well,” Cash said, reflecting on how close he came to winning the 1987 Australian Open final in the five setter against his respected rival Stefan Edberg. It was the last Australian Open at Kooyong.
The Kooyong Classic continues as an important part of the Australian summer of tennis and Cash is firm in the view that the tournament is not only good preparation for the Australian Open, but it’s the perfect preparation.
“I’ve got a belief that it should be the main lead up,” Cash said.
“Everyone should be wanting to play a match or two there. It’s the perfect preparation for the Australian Open… the wind and the sun and the heat. The guys want to stay fresh but at Wimbledon and the French Open the guys are always wanting to play a few matches the week before to get a semi-serious practice match.”
With Australia’s Bernard Tomic, defending champion David Goffin and world No.16 Richard Gasquet already confirmed for the 2017 line up, Cash said the format provided the ideal situation for Tomic the week before the opening grand slam of the year.
“Tomic did all right in Sydney last year (before withdrawing in the semis) but it’s the kiss of death if you do well. And it’s typically like that for every lead up tournament before grand slam. So I think it’s a very good preparation, I think it will suit him.”
“I know the Australians are popular but the Kooyong crowd is pretty intelligent tennis crowd. It’s great to see Tomic there but Goffin and Gasquet are absolute quality players.”
“The opportunity to get up close and personal with them is the attraction at Kooyong. To get that sort of access to the players is the strength for Kooyong.”
“It’s friendly, good matches, good atmosphere and a great lead up for the players for the Australian Open,” Cash said.
The 2017 Priceline Pharmacy Kooyong Classic is proudly supported by principal partner, Priceline Pharmacy, with support from Thai Airways, Schweppes, Lanson and Agnew Wines.
Early bird tickets are now on sale through Ticketek – www.ticketek.com.au
For media information please contact Priceline Pharmacy Kooyong Classic media:
T: + 61 3 9822 7110 • +61 (0)417 272 641