Tennis legend Pat Cash is embroiled in a war of words with former protege Mark Philippoussis over comments he made about the hunky player's popstar lover Delta Goodrem.

Former Wimbledon champion Cash threatened to call in police after he was "repeatedly threatened with the most hostile form of physical violence" during two phone calls from Philippoussis during last week's (ends30JAN04) AUSTRALIAN OPEN championships in Melbourne.

Following Philippoussis' loss against Moroccan HICHAM ARAZI last Monday (26JAN04), commentator Cash said his former pupil performed so badly on the court because he had been "distracted" by new girlfriend Goodrem and "looked like he was up all night doing whatever... getting busy".

The BORN TO TRY singer, 19, who is awaiting to hear if her treatment for Hodgkins Disease has been successful, was said to be "very hurt" by Cash's claims.

After hearing Cash's comments, Philippoussis, 27, phoned his ex-teacher in a fury, leading the 38-year-old to consider taking out a restraining order against him.

Cash fumes, "Both times he completely lost his cool and evidence would seem to suggest that I hit a nerve.

"I'm not prepared to suffer such a string of foul-mouthed insults, not from anyone, least of all Mark who I regard as the most blatant waster of talent in the current game of tennis.

"He is a sulker who likes to blame everyone but himself for his deficiencies and failures."

03/02/2004 21:26