home jobs contact us
Our Clients:
Browse by Sport
Find us on ASAP sports on Facebook ASAP sports on Twitter
ASAP Sports RSS Subscribe to RSS
Click to go to
ASAP Sports e-Brochure View our


September 5, 1998

Patrick Rafter

Flushing Meadows, New York

Q. You must be happy with your serve today, very high percentages, with the wind.

PATRICK RAFTER: Yeah. Well, it was very important in the wind today, just trying to get your first serve in, because the second serve, it's very difficult to try to get it in, a bit of pressure on your serve. He felt that a little bit. Very tough to serve in the wind.

Q. Had Sampras talked about the wind yesterday, or the day before. I guess you guys are still learning about this stadium. Any different than Melbourne or anywhere else?

PATRICK RAFTER: I find the wind to go in a pretty consistent direction. I don't find it a problem there at all. I was blind down one end and to one side a little bit. So it's very tricky when it becomes swirly. I remember Louis Armstrong is a swirly kind of court. This one here is very consistent.

Q. In the sixth game of the last set, he hit a backhand dropshot that really against most people would have been a winner, yet you ran it down, scooped it up for an even better shot. He was sort of humbled by that. Were you feeling at all badly about trouncing this guy in an hour and five minutes?

PATRICK RAFTER: You never feel badly about winning. You want to get on and off as quick as you possibly can. It's very important to get up a double break. You don't want -- when you get up the double break, it's 5-1, not only is it a psychological barrier for them to try to get back into it, but for you it's a big relief of pressure. So, I don't care what the score is. I want to get up a double break. It's not such a big pressure to serve your next service game.

Q. Even when you're shaking hands at the end of that match?

PATRICK RAFTER: I think he was sort of disappointed at the whole situation, you know. He didn't play very well. He didn't have much to say. I think he was just really upset and disappointed at his performance.

Q. 74 percent first serves in the match. 80 something percent in the second set. Did you have to take something off your first serve?

PATRICK RAFTER: Yeah, definitely. First couple service games, sort of trying to feel my way around a little bit. I think it's very important, as I said, to try to get your first serve in. It was tough to stay back. For me, I was just trying to stay back, get the ball into play, when I had the right ball, get to the net. You know, it's tough conditions out there to rally with.

Q. You still wound up losing six points off your first serve.

PATRICK RAFTER: In the whole match? That's pretty impressive. I'm happy with that (laughter). That's very -- something you don't expect against someone who returns as well as David.

Q. Is this the shortest match you ever played, five-sets?

PATRICK RAFTER: I think it is, yeah, I think so. I haven't looked at the matches. I remember last year were some pretty quick matches as well, but not quite as quick as this one.

Q. Ivanisevic is waiting out there.

PATRICK RAFTER: I said a word to him in the locker room. Giving each other a bit of shit in the locker room, that's about it (laughter). Always do.

Q. What did you guys say to each other?

PATRICK RAFTER: We're good mates. Just bring it on, he's ready (laughter). He got some funny things in the mail today. He got some handcuffs in the mail, so it was pretty funny in his mailbox. We're all having a good laugh about that today.

Q. Does he know who sent them?

PATRICK RAFTER: No idea. I don't. I don't know.

Q. You played just once at Wimbledon?


Q. Can you recall that match?

PATRICK RAFTER: Yeah. The first three sets, only one break of serve in the first three sets. He won the first and third in tiebreakers. I had good opportunities. Unfortunately for this title, the danger man was Goran. I had to run into him. You know, I think he's going to be very dangerous. I just have to get his serve back. If I can just keep my consistent play going and really knuckle down and concentrate like I have been, there's no reason why I can't do well. He's going to have to beat me, you know. I'm not going to lose it.

Q. Was this match maybe not the kind of preparation you'd like to have?

PATRICK RAFTER: It was the exact preparation I needed (laughter).

Q. Can you explain that?

PATRICK RAFTER: Because I got on and off very quickly. Not a tough explanation, Mate. This is a Grand Slam; you want to conserve your energy. I think the first match was very good, you know, to have these two easy matches, all my energy is back again. Have another light doubles match again tomorrow. Just go out there and take it easy, enjoy that.

Q. What is your level of play at the moment?

PATRICK RAFTER: Well, today it was very good, under the circumstances. I played not very many errors at all. I concentrated the whole way. I feel like the concentration is the biggest key. I've found I've got it back. I'm looking forward to my next singles match.

Q. You seem to be getting more kick on the centre court than outside.

PATRICK RAFTER: Not necessarily, no. The first night match, I played, I didn't get much out of it, I didn't think. The one against Gumy, on the other court, I wouldn't say that.

Q. You're friends with Goran, why do you guys get on well?

PATRICK RAFTER: Why? Because he's crazy (laughter). Oh, he's really open. He's very outgoing. He likes to have fun. You know, sort of suits in pretty well with my personality.

Q. This match is going to last more than an hour and six minutes then?

PATRICK RAFTER: Yeah, I think it will. You know, there's going to be a couple of really tight sets out there. You know, when we get on, there will be no love lost. We'll be doing our business when we get off, we'll be good mates.

Q. He's a guy whose brain works in strange ways sometimes.


Q. I'm not even sure he knows how it works. When you're on court at net, do you have to do some quick thinking? Is it almost impossible to read him? Is he completely unpredictable what he's going to do with the ball?

PATRICK RAFTER: It's not just at the net, it's at the baseline, on the service, returns. He's very unpredictable, as he said. Even he'll admit it. You know, sometimes he doesn't quite know what he's doing, how he wakes up. So, you know, but he's dangerous. We all know that. He's knuckled down this year. He's got his mind on the job the last three or four months. He's a dangerous man.

Q. He's not a player that you necessarily look for patterns from?

PATRICK RAFTER: No, no, not really. No, not at all actually (laughter).

Q. Did you watch that Wimbledon final that he played?

PATRICK RAFTER: I did. I really enjoyed it.

Q. Where were you?

PATRICK RAFTER: I was in Bermuda.

Q. You watched it on TV?

PATRICK RAFTER: Yeah (laughter).

Q. He said so often that he was suicidal after that.


Q. Could you sense after that match the frustration in him?


Q. Did you talk to him about it?

PATRICK RAFTER: No, I didn't. I would have liked to have seen him win a Slam. So far he's the best player not to have won one. For that reason, I really wanted him to do well and win that one. I don't think I was -- I had his number, ready to call, if he won, call him and say, "Congratulations." He lost. And I don't think he wanted to hear anything from me. You know, it was a good match. As I said, he's concentrating again. I don't see him as being that suicidal this week.

Q. But you don't want him to win this one?

PATRICK RAFTER: No. He's going to have to beat me tomorrow or when we play.

Q. Do you have another charity picked out to donate winnings to?

PATRICK RAFTER: I think there's a foundation, yeah, that I'll probably do. I don't know. I'm sure there will be something.

Q. Given the publicity that somewhat belatedly attached to your donation to the hospital, have you been besieged since by requesting?

PATRICK RAFTER: No, not at all. That would be the last people I'd give it to if they request it, yeah. You know, you don't give money as a request; you give it because you want to.

Q. Just to bring it back to the Goran thing. The other day, wasn't that complimentary about Goran, basically said he was a bit of a one-trick pony, got a big serve and nothing else. You obviously don't subscribe to that point of view?

PATRICK RAFTER: I don't. As we said, he's very dangerous. People know he's got a great serve. You know, he's been returning pretty well. He can do anything and nothing on any given day. When he's on, he's on. There's not too many better players running around than Goran when he's on. I have a lot of respect for his game.

Q. Did you feel a little bit touchy, I guess, with Arazi out there, the defending champion, might go in the first round? Did you feel you were gone at any point?

PATRICK RAFTER: Well, it was a 3-All game, I think I was down 15-40 on my serve. I wasn't feeling exactly confident right then. A lot of trouble. I just took a couple of risks on his serve at 4-3 and they came off. That's what's been happening all summer. When it really comes down to crunch time, I've been taking some risks and they've been working for me.

Q. Can you talk about the fan support you've picked up since winning last year?

PATRICK RAFTER: Today I was really happy with what I received out there. It wasn't a bad crowd at all, considering it's an early morning match. Sometimes slow to pack into those stadiums. It was great today. The other great thing about that stadium, even though sometimes the crowd is a little bit smaller, the noise seems to really carry when they cheer, so it feels like it's a really good atmosphere out there, even when the crowd isn't so big.

Q. Do you feel more confident here than do you in any other location?

PATRICK RAFTER: In the US in terms of Slams?

Q. In terms of anywhere.

PATRICK RAFTER: No. There's a certain pressure that goes along with Grand Slams. Sometimes you don't feel exactly confident. I mean, let's see. Confident is different. Confidence is probably not the right word, because it just depends on how you're playing. At the time I'm playing well. I guess I am feeling more confident now than what I was during Wimbledon. For me to play on my best surface, this is my best surface throughout the Slams to play on. This is the one I like the most.

Q. You got hot in the United States last summer, too.


Q. Looking at the it twice in a row, it would be easy to sense that you like playing here in the US.

PATRICK RAFTER: Yes. It's good, hot conditions for me. There's not a lot of pressure that goes along with it. Obviously, the Slams do. But the lead-up tournaments, you know, it's just great conditions. The courts are good, the balls are good, the weather's fine. I like it. I get most out of my game in those conditions.

Q. You're sort of the role model for the serve and volley on Deco Turf. Why do you think more of the other men aren't coming in more, especially Ivanisevic, for example?

PATRICK RAFTER: Well, you have to play your game. That's the bottom line.

Q. He certainly showed at Wimbledon he can play serve and volley.

PATRICK RAFTER: On hard court, he's more comfortable at the baseline. You've got to do what's with your game. Maybe the younger generation coming up by serve and volley. All of a sudden, you're not going to see Andre Agassi start serve and volleying because I'm winning. You've got to play within your game.

Q. In 1991, Pete Sampras was the defending champion. A lot younger than you are now. He seemed relieved to lose when he finally got beat. Did you come in with any fears or trepidations, apprehensive?

PATRICK RAFTER: In a way, I did. But I knew Arazi was going to be very tough, you know, very tough first round match. The first round match is very tough regardless of who you play anyway. It's tough enough as it is. So coming in, I also won those tournaments, which also relieved a lot of pressure coming in for me to this tournament. I won the three tournaments. I just felt, you know, I defended a lot of things, I was sort of back on target. So in a way, yes, but in a lot of ways no. I think it was important that I did do well. If I didn't do well, it would have been difficult for me to come into this tournament and try to produce what I did last year.

Q. Venus Williams in here telling us that Reebok has lined seven stunning outfits for her. When are we going to say the Pat Rafter collection?

PATRICK RAFTER: Of what Venus is wearing (laughter)?

Q. Is there a Pat Rafter collection on the way?

PATRICK RAFTER: No, there isn't. As far as I know, there isn't. Not this year. The Aussie Open, they might put me in a skirt, I won't be too happy.

End of FastScripts….

About ASAP SportsFastScripts ArchiveRecent InterviewsCaptioningUpcoming EventsContact Us
FastScripts | Events Covered | Our Clients | Other Services | ASAP in the News | Site Map | Job Opportunities | Links
ASAP Sports, Inc. | T: 1.212 385 0297