By Will Swanton
PERTH (Reuters) - Mardy Fish blew his top in a bad-tempered Hopman Cup encounter between the United States and Bulgaria because he was embarrassed about being thrashed by his young opponent Grigor Dimitrov, Pat Cash said on Saturday.
Fish received a code of conduct warning for spitting in the direction of noisy Bulgarian fans during his 6-2 6-1 thrashing by 20-year-old Dimitrov on Friday and the pair had to be kept apart in the mixed doubles of the tie.
Tournament referee Soren Friemel confirmed he would compile a written report for the directors of the event and former Wimbledon champion Cash said he believed Fish was suffering from dented pride and unable to control his disappointment.
"You don't often see that, a bit of face-to-face on a tennis court," said Cash, who is working as a television commentator at the Burswood Dome.
"Mardy clearly was not in great form this week. He played pretty poorly and absolutely got annihilated by the youngster.
"Reading between the lines, and I don't know what happened, but it looked like Grigor was just saying to Mardy: 'What have I done wrong? I haven't done anything. I'm just trying to have a bit of fun here and you're attacking me, for what?'
"I don't think there's too much wrong with it. Boys just have to get on with it. They're fierce the competitors, that's the bottom line."
The Hopman Cup is an ITF event but no report will be sent to the governing body. Friemel said he did not expect the board of directors of the Hopman Cup to sanction Fish.
"I think it's better if you ask him (Fish)," Dimitrov said. "I'm sorry if I did something wrong. I'm going to apologise to him in the lockers when I see him, but I don't want to say much else about it."
Dimitrov boarded a flight to Sydney straight after his final Hopman Cup match. He played his first qualifying singles at the Sydney International just three hours after arriving from Perth and won.
(Editing by Peter Rutherford)