Chattanooga's Wesley Cash representing U.S. again in ITF Seniors World Championships

Chattanooga's Wesley Cash representing U.S. again in ITF Seniors World Championships

March 5th, 2014 by Ron Bush in Sportlocal

Wesley Cash

Photo by Dan Henry/Times Free Press.

Fresh off another doubles victory in a tournament in Florida, Wesley Cash of Chattanooga and Mark Vines of Lynchburg, Fla., were named Tuesday by the U.S. Tennis Association as repeat participants for the United States in the ITF Seniors World Championships.

The U.S. contingent includes four-person mini-teams in each of five men's and women's age groups, beginning with 35-over.

Cash, who has won the last eight USTA national 55 men's doubles championships in back-to-back "golden slams," was paired with Vines in six of those. Cash also won the age group's clay-court national singles title last fall.

The man with whom he won his other doubles titles in last year's slam, Mike Tammen of Portland, Ore., also is on the U.S. team for the April 27-May 4 competition in the Palm Beach Gardens and Boca Raton areas of Florida. The other American in the "Austria Cup" division is team captain Dan Waldman of Washington, D.C.

"What's cool is all four of were in the finals of the Worlds doubles in Turkey last year," Cash said Monday night. "All of them are great guys. Obviously I love playing with Mark and Mike and I've played with Waldman before, too. He won the world championship in singles.

"The scramble was to get Mark on the team. He didn't think he was going to have a shot at it because he didn't have much of a singles record [in 2013] because he was injured. But he deserved to be on the team because of what he did in 2012 as well as in 2013.

"If Mark is not the best player [in 55s] in the world, it doesn't take long to call roll," Cash added. "He was in two nationals last year but got injured."

Cash first played in the ITF Seniors Worlds in 2003 in Germany, and his U.S. age-group team finished third. He was on teams in Turkey that finished third in 2008 and second last year.

Even the 2008 outcome "was a big thrill for me," he recalled. "We won our doubles match 7-6 in the third set to clinch third place, and we beat guys who had won the world championships the year before.

"I thought I might never play again. My knee was absolutely ruined at the time. And I didn't play another match of any kind from October of 2008 until November of 2011. I couldn't do it. My knee wouldn't allow it."

But that time span included his second "Star Trek" surgery performed by Dr. David Moore of Elite Sports Medicine in Nashville -- and, after a lengthy recovery, back-to-back golden slams.

"My 2012 slam year with Mark was great, and repeating last year was Disneyland, Fantasyland. It may never happen again," Cash said. "It's nice when it happens once.

"I'm very aware that it could end at any time, but it's been a heck of a ride, and I certainly do appreciate what I've had."

Acknowledging that he would like to raise his U.S. team's world team finish one more notch, just like last year relative to the year before, Cash added, "But there's a lot more spots -- below that."

His quest for a third golden slam begins in June in the indoor nationals, with Tammen.

"We'll just see where it goes," Cash said.

Contact Ron Bush at rbush@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6291.