In the first of a three-part exclusive interview with The Tennis Space, former Wimbledon champion Pat Cash discusses the thorny issue of prize money in tennis:
Are the players right to be demanding more prize money?
Yes. These guys ranked 50 to 100 in the world, they work their arses off. They work as hard as the top players, they are just not as talented, they haven’t got the ability or skills. They get zero. To the average guy (who hears) they were getting 15 grand – and now they’re now getting 25 grand – to lose, be a loser, it does sound like a lot of money – and it is a lot of money – but not in the great scheme of things, with expenses and kids and wives and travel.
So far, they are targeting the grand slams. Is that their best tactic?
I don’t know about the exact figures, I’ve never really been focused on that. But what I do know is it’s really bloody tough out there to make a living, really tough. It’s the toughest sport in the world. I (defy) anybody to argue that any other sport’s tougher. I don’t think it is, considering the travel, the expenses, the work that has to be done and the number of people playing. And the support you have – you don’t have any, you just have yourself. You don’t have a team-mate you can kick the ball to. It’s the toughest sport in the world and I think anybody who can make a living out of it, good for them. The guys on the Challenger Circuit trying to make a few bucks, they just struggle – they’re talented, they can pick up any sport but they pick tennis.
Pat Cash was taking part in the first London Tennis Debate, discussing the responsibility of tennis players, and sportsmen in general, to give back to others less fortunate.