Another great article , Mert. Thanks for doing this. I have not read the book but maybe I should. Generally I avoid autobiography as a literary form as so often it is mainly devoted to telling the truth about other people. A probing biography is often much better.
Those were interesting responses to good questions. I particularly liked Pat Cash's insights, as a purist, into the way he thought pro tennis would go in the next 5-10 years and his commenting about venturing to the net (or not) on current surfaces.
I would have liked to have heard more about his thoughts on the future of Australian Tennis. There was a critical investigative feature on "The State of Play" of the game in Australia which was aired on Australian TV in 2010.
Here is the link:http://www.abc.net.au/4corners/content/2010/s2831274.htm
There are some good comments and clips of Pat Cash and a younger Lleyton Hewitt there. It is clear from Pat's comments to Mertov that things have not changed all that much. If you don't get around to watching the whole show I reproduce an summary that came along with it below. A lot of it sounds familiar to us here in the US in the way tennis is tied to corporate business and the TV networks resulting in TV and even match scheduling that is not in the interests of promoting the game.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------The State of Play
Reporter: Debbie Whitmont
In "The State of Play" reporter Debbie Whitmont talks to the people at the top of the game and reveals the deals and the feuds that have divided the sport.
Tennis Australia is the body that controls the sport in this country. It runs one of the world's most successful tennis tournaments, the Australian Open. It's never been in a better financial situation but it's sidelined the nation's top male player, it refuses to employ the best coaches and it simply can't produce champions. The question is why?
In January this year Australia's top ranked female tennis player Samantha Stosur found her much anticipated match against Serena Williams dumped from the prime time television schedule. Network Seven decided news, current affairs and a soapie were more likely to provide ratings.
Tennis Australia, the body with the job of promoting the sport in Australia, didn't argue. Instead it stood to pocket a healthy bonus for Network Seven's ratings victory but the episode left a major question hanging over the sport.
Whitmont: "Do you think the people who run the game really care about it? Really care about the sport?"
Lleyton Hewitt: "Ah, I'm not sure. I don't know".
Lleyton Hewitt isn't the only one wondering whether the people who run the sport of tennis really care about the game. A virtual who's who of Australian tennis past and present are now openly questioning the way Tennis Australia has restructured the sport in this country, and who is benefiting from the changes.
The critics claim that Tennis Australia has centralised the control of the sport in an attempt to improve the game's bottom line but has forgotten about the players in the process. As one respected player manager put it:
"Tennis Australia seems to be wanting control over everything that happens in this country with regards to tennis. Any financial dealing in this country, Tennis Australia wants to have a piece of it... and that's wrong."
Tennis Australia's Director of Tennis, Craig Tiley, rejects this view:
"Right from the beginning we've been accused of being too controlling and wanting to have it only our way or the highway. Those are all just simply not true."
Despite this assurance, Four Corners has uncovered significant evidence that power has been centralised into the hands of just a few tennis administrators. According to those who know the sport, this means players are not getting the best coaches available and critics are frozen out.
The main independent coaches association has been "absorbed" into Tennis Australia. The country's "tennis bible" - Australian Tennis Magazine - has been bought out. Even the kids' tennis charity has been scuppered.
Discontent in tennis clubs around the country is increasing. One club has been told it must install a certain type of court surface or face the prospect of losing its tournament. Why is just one surface favoured and who benefits from the installation of this type of court?
The questions don't end there. This week, Four Corners explores allegations that when former tennis star and respected sports administrator, Paul McNamee, challenged for the Presidency of Tennis Australia last year, powerful figures close to the current administration told voting delegates that if McNamee won the job government funding for the country's premier tennis facility would be endangered and Channel 7's broadcast deal might be in jeopardy.