Ohio State freshman men’s tennis player Robert Cash returns a serve during a match. Credit: Courtesy of Ohio State Athletics

Robert Cash only has one semester of college under his belt, but Ohio State men’s tennis already feels his impact on the team.

The freshman entered as a top 25 national prospect and has lived up to the hype as part of the No. 2 doubles pair in the country with junior John McNally. 

“To watch him lead and be able to lead on the doubles court as a freshman has been a breath of fresh air,” head coach Ty Tucker said in December. “We feel his singles game has taken a big jump in the last 16 weeks.”

Growing up 25 minutes from campus, Cash has been around Ohio State most of his life.

Cash was a heavily sought-after recruit coming out of New Albany High School in New Albany, Ohio, ranked the No. 1 prospect in the state.

Choosing to stay close to home was the right call, Cash said.

“So far, my Buckeye experience has been nothing short of life changing. I’ve met so many new people and have got to experience so many new things that Ohio State has to offer,” Cash said. “I chose Ohio State because it has a perfect combination of athletics and academics.” 

With Ohio State’s top-flight program, Cash has been able to build upon his doubles game, one of the best Tucker said he has seen. Tucker said Cash has proven himself as a strong contender already.

“Robert is a local guy who we recruited heavily, and he brings a strong doubles game and a very, very strong work ethic to the table. He has been a leader during the doubles drills during his freshman year, which doesn’t usually happen,” Tucker said.

McNally, Cash’s doubles partner, said the pair is successful because their games mesh well.

“He is one of the best doubles players in the country as a freshman because he is fearless and is willing to go for it on the big points,” McNally said. “We’ve known each other since we were very young, so we are comfortable with each other on and off the court.”

Mesh they have since McNally and Cash began playing together as fellow Buckeyes. The pair placed second at the Intercollegiate Tennis Association Fall Championships at Newport Beach, California, in November, and now holds a 15-2 record overall.

The duo has helped the Buckeyes jump out to a 4-0 team start overall, as No. 6 Ohio State has dispatched of Northern Kentucky, Dayton, Xavier and Wright State since the spring season began.

In singles, Cash holds a record of 7-2.

Cash said he is grateful for the lessons he has learned thus far in his college career.

“I learned that it is very important to manage your time wisely,” Cash said. “Not only is tennis a lot different, but school is a lot different as well. Another thing is that now you are not only playing for yourself. You are playing for your teammates and the school, university.”

Cash’s name is synonymous with hard work on the team, McNally said.

“I think Robert’s work ethic, on and off the court, his fearlessness and his ability to put the team first are some of his best traits,” McNally said.

Tucker said that although Cash is young, he knows how to handle teamwork and be a leader.

“I will always fight to win and pump my team up. I also think that I bring a good doubles skill set,” Cash said. “In college tennis, it is very important to get the doubles point, and a majority of matches are decided on the doubles point. So hopefully by winning some doubles matches, I can help the team win.”

With his skill and composure on the court, there’s no reason Robert won’t be able to cash in on some first-year accolades this season.