Melbourne, Australia, 3 December 2012 |

Longtime Australian coach Ian Barclay received an extra-special birthday present Monday night at the Newcombe Medal Australian Tennis Awards, a day after turning 74.

The former coach of Pat Cash was awarded the President’s Spirit of Tennis Award for his continued contribution to the sport.

Barclay, a Victoria native, is best known as the coach of Cash, from the time Cash was just 11 years old right through to his Wimbledon victory in 1987.

Barclay now works as a coach mentor, specifically within Tennis Australia’s Super 10s talent identification and development program.

“I think I’ve slowly become the grandfather of the state of Victoria, but I still find there’s so much work to be done,” Barclay said in his acceptance speech.

“To my partners in crime in Super 10s and all the things we’re trying to do to make Australian tennis get back to where it belongs at the top – I’d just like to thank some guys who give seven days a week, relentless in (pursuing) the challenge at what we have to do, and that’s make some of our super little kids into great champions. Kim Kachel and Bernie Goerlitz, who work seven days a week for the future of our sport – it’s relentless, and none of us will ever give up.”

Barclay also spent nine years with the Lawn Tennis Association in Great Britain before returning to Australia.

In 2010, Barclay was lauded by Todd Woodbridge for his help to develop the coaches of junior players, specifically the 12-and-under age group.

Barclay’s work has stretch over five decades, coaching hundreds of players throughout that time.

“I only hope that some of these little ones, who we’re pouring so much time into – I don’t know if I’ll be around when they make it, but I can assure you they will,” Barclay said.

“Because we will make sure.”