Serena Williams Has Won 14 Grand Slam Titles Since Pat Cash Said She Was a 'Lost Cause'
Poor Pat Cash. We should remember him for besting Ivan Lendl in the 1987 Wimbledon Final. Or his magnificent checkered headband. But with each step Serena Williams takes up the mountain of greatness, his name becomes even more synonymous with erroneous predictions.
Cash, you see, penned this 2007 column declaring Williams a lost cause.
Among the indictments:
"Tennis is unforgiving. You can’t let it slide down the list of priorities, only to realise suddenly that playing the sport was what you wanted to do all along. Many have tried to turn back the clock, but nearly all have failed. That list includes Bjorn Borg, John McEnroe, Martina Hingis and, for different reasons, Monica Seles. Admittedly this quartet experienced some success. The exploits of Hingis reaffirm the belief that a good champion never completely loses the gift, but she has gone only a fraction of the way and the No 1 ranking she held for a couple of years is far out of reach. Why? Tennis moved on in her absence. … Serena clearly has a limited attention span. At her peak she had no patience in the way she played her tennis. Now she does not appear to have the fortitude to stick at what she is trying to do."
It’s tough to look back on his claims knowing what we do now about Williams’ dominance.
She wrapped up her 14th Grand Slam title since the opinion piece was published by cruising in straight sets this morning. And while Cash is far from the only person who had their doubts during her dormant period, it’s his takedown that can get trotted out with each milestone Serena reaches.
To his credit, Cash admitted his error just two weeks after the initial piece.
"AUSTRALIANS are not very good at admitting their mistakes. Maybe that’s because it doesn’t happen very often when sport is concerned, but I hold my hands up in apology, I got it wrong all ends up about Serena Williams. In my defence, I was not alone. Tracy Austin, who knows more about women’s tennis than me, laughed at the suggestion that the former world No 1 had a legitimate shot at climbing back to the top. Yet here are the two of us, and many more besides, eating humble pie after Serena collected a third Australian Open title to take her Grand Slam collection to eight."
It’s probably not necessary for him to weigh in with further mea culpas. But his dreadfully off-base bit of forecasting provides an important lesson.
Don’t believe everything you read on the internet. Even if it’s about sports.
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