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Roger Federer responds to cheating allegations by Pat Cash at Australian Open

Cash alleged that Federer's medical time-out during the final against Rafael Nadal was a strategic one.

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - JANUARY 30:  Roger Federer of Switzerland poses with the Norman Brookes Challenge Cup after winning the 2017 Australian Open Men's Singles Final, on January 30, 2017 in Melbourne, Australia.  (Photo by Daniel Pockett/Getty Images)
Federer holds aloft the Norman Brookes Cup after winning the 2017 Australian Open

What’s the story? 

Retired Australian tennis professional Pat Cash spoke out following Roger Federer’s win at the Australian Open last week – a victory that saw the Swiss ace, with an 18th Grand Slam win, break his own all-time men’s singles record.

In his final, against former No. 1 and arch-rival Rafael Nadal, Federer called for a medical time-out in the fifth set, a short time before his eventual win. 

Cash, in an interview following Federer’s win, said he believed that the medical timeout (MTO) was “legalized cheating.”

Now, Federer has broken his silence on the allegations, clarifying that he had been struggling with a specific injury, to his adductor muscle, since his semi-final against Swiss ace Stan Wawrinka. “I was struggling with that injury since the Stan match,” Federer continued. Following the conclusion of that match, Federer had joked with former pro and now tennis pundit Jim Courier about his injuries, but seemed upbeat and not in significant pain, but continued to receive treatment off-court. 

In Case You Didn’t Know....

2017 Australian Open champion Roger Federer made history last week, winning his 18th Grand Slam title in Melbourne with a victory over Rafael Nadal. 

Federer, who already held the all-time men’s singles majors record at 17, has now extended his own milestone to 18. The win has been met with widespread celebration across the sporting community, with players lauding the Swiss ace’s endurance and ability at the age of 35. 

While the tennis community has been largely celebratory of Federer’s achievement, Cash accused Federer of cheating, saying he had strategically taken the MTO to rest at a strenuous moment during the match. 

Federer responded saying he did not “... .. (don’t) know what he’s talking about. I felt pain, and Stan used it in his previous match. I think it is fine if I use it, I had said even then that I was having pain.”

Heart of the Matter

Cash has long been critical of Roger Federer, and back in the early 2000s, before Federer had won most of his major titles, the Australian accused Federer’s then-girlfriend, and now-wife Mirka Vavrinec of having a Svengali-like hold over the athlete; after a period of silence, former tennis professional Mirka spoke out against Cash’s allegations, with Federer also dismissing them. 

The Australian has also become part of the now-endless GOAT debate in tennis, and has repeatedly argued against Federer as the ‘greatest’.

Now 51, Cash retired in 2006 after 24 years on the circuit and a single Major, at Wimbledon 1987 against Ivan Lendl. That win has been the highlight of his tennis career, although Cash has been on two Davis Cup – winning teams. 

Sportskeeda’s Take 

Cash’s history of issues with Federer goes back over 15 years, and is not necessarily new. The Australian has also rarely, if ever, commented on other players’ medical time-outs, which leads us to think this may be a personal issue rather than one with the sport. 

At 35-years-old, having struggled with injury and a 6-month break, Roger Federer has not circumvented the rules – had he done so, Federer would have been subject to fines and called out by both the ATP and the tennis community; the solitary voice of Pat Cash here leads us to believe this is a personal problem, one that would best be solved behind closed doors rather than aired in the media.

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