Pat Cash Q&A: On the ‘amazing’ Mubadala line-up, Nick Kyrgios, and what’s wrong with Novak Djokovic

A regular at the Mubadala World Tennis Championship over the years, Pat Cash is excited about the line-up in Abu Dhabi this week.

Pat Cash was speaking ahead of the 2016 Mubadala World Tennis Championship in Abu Dhabi. Brendon Thorne / Getty Images
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A regular at the Mubadala World Tennis Championship over the years, Pat Cash, the 1987 Wimbledon champion, is excited about the line-up in Abu Dhabi this week.

Are you looking forward to your trip to Abu Dhabi for the Mubadala World Tennis Championship? What do you think about the line-up this year?

With all the choices the pros have of flying around the world, I think this is an amazing line-up. To have the 2016 Wimbledon finalist in Abu Dhabi is fantastic. We have Tomas Berdych and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, both slam finalists and two of the biggest hitters in the world, and of course the amazing Rafael Nadal. Let’s face it — within one, two or maybe three years we are going to lose a lot of these big-name players to retirement. Let’s get out and see them this weekend while we can. We can also see the near future champions with Milos Raonic and David Goffin.

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Novak Djokovic has been off the boil since the summer and now he has parted ways with Boris Becker. What do you reckon is going wrong with him?

That is a very good question. He certainly has lost the mental edge. Whether he can regain that, only time will tell. He isn’t as good an all-round player as Andy Murray. His Plan B is not as good as Andy, but his Plan A is near-unstoppable. He needs to find a way to stay motivated. He doesn’t need to prove anything — he has won it all. Yet Murray has a couple of things he wants to do still in his career. Motivation is an incredible driving force.

What sort of a year would you predict for fellow Australian Nick Kyrgios? Could he prove people like Nadal and Murray right and go on to win a grand slam?

I think it’s a common consensus Nick is not fit enough to win a slam yet, unless everything goes very easily in the early rounds. I think Wimbledon is probably his best chance of good success this year though he can play well at any of the slams. Things need to go right for him to grab a slam this year.

What can we expect from men’s tennis in 2017? Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal will be coming back for the Australian Open. Djokovic could return recharged from the break. Then, we have the likes of Stan Wawrinka, Juan Martin Del Potro, Marin Cilic and Kei Nishikori, all capable of winning grand slams.

It’s going to be an exciting year, much more even than we have seen it for a while. As you have mentioned there are a large handful of players who can win a slam this year. When was the last time we said that?

Can Murray dominate like say Djokovic or Federer did as No 1s?

I think Murray will stay No 1 for most of the year, but it will be close and anybody can push him, though the obvious one is Novak. Federer will take a little while to get going, but watch out when he gets on the grass of Wimbledon.

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