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Credit to Pat Cash, the tennis ace with big enough balls to say what he REALLY thinks about Covid & the vaccine

Damian Wilson
Damian Wilson
is a UK journalist, ex-Fleet Street editor, financial industry consultant and political communications special advisor in the UK and EU.
is a UK journalist, ex-Fleet Street editor, financial industry consultant and political communications special advisor in the UK and EU.
Credit to Pat Cash, the tennis ace with big enough balls to say what he REALLY thinks about Covid & the vaccine
Aussie star Cash is a rarity – a sportsman with strong views on the pandemic, who admits he doses up on a controversial drug and hasn’t received the vaccine yet. His comments reflect a career where he has often broken conventions.

Sports stars who stray from the arena of their achievements are bound to run into trouble, and I guess tennis legend Pat Cash knows that. But you have to feel his frustration and honesty when he rails against the handling of the coronavirus pandemic both in the UK, where he lives, and in his homeland Down Under.

The 1987 Wimbledon men’s singles champion is clearly angry about the impact of national lockdowns on his fellow Aussies and on his profession, and uneasy about the pressure on ‘super-fit athletes’ to be vaccinated so that the entire multi-billion-dollar tennis circus could stay on the road. He certainly had plenty to say in an online interview.

He also spoke of his own controversial efforts to keep Covid-free using ivermectin, a drug generally used to treat a number of tropical diseases but which he freely admits, “I’ve been taking for over a year and a quarter now.” 

“Ivermectin works,” he claims. “It’s a cheap drug. It’s a wonder drug. And I’m living proof that I have been in the worst areas everywhere around the world and I haven’t come close to getting Covid. Do I need to get vaccinated? I don’t know. I’ll make that decision at a later stage. But right now, no, I don’t need to. I’m fit.” 

It’s unusual for an international sports figure to tread into the anti-vax minefield but Cash has always been his own man, ever since he broke with decorum and clambered over seats and up the stairs of Centre Court after defeating Ivan Lendl in the Wimbledon final to embrace his family and friends sitting in the stands.

That raised a few eyebrows at the time so his comments will come as no surprise to those who run the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) tour.

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“You know, the (tennis) tour wants to keep going,” he continues. “Their push was, ‘Listen, if everybody gets vaccinated, we can keep going.’ And mine was, ‘Well, wait a minute…let’s go back a step. Why are young, healthy, fit, super-fit athletes being vaccinated? Aren’t we protecting the elderly and vaccinating them and isn’t that the plan, protect the NHS?”

The sight of tennis players gazing out of their hotel windows in Melbourne, Paris and London as they passed time in between matches at this year’s tennis grand slam events, their strict adherence to Covid ‘bubbles’ and the lack of energy-enhancing crowds has made their sport seem even more solitary than usual, and Cash knows what he’s talking about.

Not only is mental wellbeing an issue – he recalls seeing British teen sensation Emma Raducanu “seize up with tension” at Wimbledon – but it’s the physical impact of what athletes are being asked to endure.

“I’m not having a politician or a TV doctor who’s on the payroll tell me what I should and shouldn’t be doing with my health, okay? I’m 56, I’m in pretty good damn shape. And I’ve spent my life looking after myself,” says Cash.

His healthy scepticism, which many of his compatriots share, makes events Down Under difficult to bear. “It breaks my heart what’s going on in Australia,” he laments. “But it’s not just me, I think...everybody’s got their will broken and their heart broken.”

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Cash thought he understood the government’s initial approach. “They held off and they said, ‘Wait a minute, we’re going to see what’s going to happen with the rest of the world, we’re just going to lock our doors for a bit and see how it goes and we’ll learn, we’ll make our decisions based on this.’ They haven’t...the Australian government haven’t learnt a damn thing. It’s mind boggling. It’s very frustrating.

“In our national anthem, in the first paragraph, it says, ‘We are young and free’ – we are not free any more. And that is absolutely clear. They are locking down. So, I feel really sorry for the Australians. But, you know, to think that we have a free society anywhere, for that matter, is questionable.”

The tennis star’s comments will be welcomed by the under-siege citizens of Sydney, Melbourne and even the country’s capital of Canberra, because they know that when revered national sporting heroes like Cash speak out, their sway is so strong that politicians must listen.

And if the Aussies are to regain their freedom from the grip of lockdown they will need all the help they can muster.

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The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.

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