September 5, 1998
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
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
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?
PATRICK RAFTER: Yeah.
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
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
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
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.
PATRICK RAFTER: Yeah.
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.
PATRICK RAFTER: Right.
Q. Could you sense after that match the frustration in him?
PATRICK RAFTER: Yeah.
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
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
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
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.
PATRICK RAFTER: Yeah.
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
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.
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