Age and brawn won out over youth and beauty in an exhibition set of doubles tennis that followed Rafael Nadal’s quarterfinal victory over Fernando Verdasco on Thursday night. The one-set, no-ad contest was supposed to precede Nadal, but a five-set day match tightened up the schedule and the quartet of Grand Slam champions was pushed back to be the nightcap. At the end of 40 minutes of sometimes tennis, sometimes theatre, Pat Cash and Mats Wilander prevailed 7-5 over Martina Hingis and Anna Kournikova.
Hingis and Kournikova were back together eight years after winning their second Australian Open doubles title together. They had won in 1999 before taking the crown again in 2002. Hingis also won the singles title in Flushing in 1997 plus four other Grand Slam singles titles and was once the No. 1 ranked woman in the world.
Most of the 23,000 plus in attendance were long gone by the time the elder statesmen hit the court, but those who stayed were allowed access to the best seats in the house and made plenty of noise as the former stars entertained.