Cash puts the guitar away, strings his tennis racket


Chennai, India: Australia's former Wimbledon champion Pat Cash is returning to the ATP Tour after eight years, pairing up with a young Indian player for the doubles event in the season-launcher Chennai Open. 

Cash, 40, wasn't thinking about stepping out of retirement when he arrived in the southern Indian city of Madras as a television commentator, but accepted the organizers' invitation to pair up with teenager Karan Rastogi. 

Rastogi, ATP's 561st ranked doubles player, was granted a wild card for the Jan. 2-9 Chennai Open after Cash agreed to team up with him. 

"It'll be nice to play on the tour again, but I wasn't planning things that way,'' Cash said Sunday after a training session with Rastogi, 19, who was eight months old when Cash won the Wimbledon singles title in 1987. 

Cash won seven singles and 12 doubles titles during his career that ended in 1997.  

His last title victory was in Seoul in 1990. 

He now plays on the senior's tour, is a TV commentator, runs a tennis academy and plays guitar for a rock and roll band.  

Cash is often seen exchanging tennis and guitar lessons with some top guitarists. 

Music has been Cash's second love after tennis. He performed with big-time Aussie band INXS at the Australia Open Tennis Ball in 2003. 

As the guitarist for his band - Wild Colonial Boys - Cash often uses his famous headband as the guitar strap. 

"We usually belt out AC/DC and Bryan Adams numbers,'' said Cash. 

"Now, playing the guitar appears more fun ... tennis demands commitment of an entire year on the tour.'' 

Cash said this ATP Tour outing wouldn't prompt him to return for more. 

"It's not so easy, even here I hope to ride on Karan's back,'' he said.  

"Television commentary will also be a priority.'' 

Cash said he spent 12 weeks last year on the Delta Tour for senior players, making the finals of three tournaments. He lost all three finals. 

He said serve and volley players like him could make a mark in contemporary tennis."They can still win, but they need a much bigger serve now,'' he said. 

"Guys are hitting the ball much harder these days.'' 

During his 1997 appearance in the Indian Open in Madras, which is also called Chennai, Cash suffered a second-round defeat by Swede Magnus Norman. 

For Rastogi, the opportunity to pair up with Cash is like a dream come true. 

"I'll savor this experience forever, it's a dream to play alongside a legend like Pat Cash,'' he said. - AP 

Latest sports news from AP-Wire 

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