Pat Cash recounts feeling ’embarrassed’ after losing to a 14-year-old Rafael Nadal


Pat Cash says Rafael Nadal being a record 14-time French Open champion made him feel less embarrassed for losing to the Spaniard when he was just 14.

Cash, the 1987 Wimbledon champion, was scheduled to meet Boris Becker in an exhibition match in Mallorca 23 years ago.

But when Becker pulled out of the exhibition, the organizers asked Cash if he was willing to play against an incredibly talented 14-year-old Spanish boy.

Cash, who was also a two-time Australian Open runner-up, agreed and ended up losing to a 14-year-old Nadal in three sets.

Even though it was just an exhibition match, Cash felt embarrassed over ending up on the losing side in a match against a 14-year-old.

Cash recalls losing to Nadal in 2000

“Then this kid came out, he was pretty decent-sized and strong. That was Rafa. Much to the amusement of the crowd, Rafa beat me in the first set, I think 6-3 or 6-4, just chasing down shots all over the place. So the crowd thought it was hilarious. I said, ‘That’s it. Get in, serve and volley’, and I won the second set easily, 6-1 or something like that. I played a couple of bad points, and he played a couple of unbelievable shots, running into the side fence, and he won the tiebreaker. I thought, ‘Jeez, this kid is good’. I thought any other kid would choke in that situation but he didn’t. I’ve got to say I was a little bit embarrassed by the whole thing but it was fun, it wasn’t a proper match. I went back in the locker room and the guys just shook their heads and said, ‘You just lost to a 14-year-old’. I was dripping with sweat and said, ‘This kid is really good’. They said, ‘He’s a 14-year-old’. I said, ‘He’s almost 15, he’s really good’. So I was embarrassed for a few years but after 14 French Opens, I’m not so embarrassed,” Cash said on Control the Controllables podcast, via Sportskeeda.

After beating Cash as a 14-year-old, Nadal went on to become one of the greatest players in tennis history.

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