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September 3, 1997

Patrick Rafter

Flushing Meadows, New York

Q. (Inaudible) pull out, mate?

PATRICK RAFTER: I feel pretty good at the moment. Obviously I didn't get to sleep till around six o'clock in the morning. The adrenaline was still going. You know, it was a small price to pay for having a win like that.

Q. Was it just the adrenaline or was it also the cramps?

PATRICK RAFTER: Just the adrenaline. I felt very tired with my body, but mentally you're just clicking over the whole time. You lie down, get back up. I mean, I had to get up and go to the toilet a few times; drank that much water. I was never going to get to sleep anyway.

Q. I mean, obviously it's great to have that adrenaline going at six in the morning. Do you think it's going to hurt you? Are you going to be able to recover in time?

PATRICK RAFTER: Well, I'd like to think so. I'm young enough, fit enough, I think, to be able to recover. I'm doing all the right things at the moment. I've just got to fuel up, hopefully get a great sleep tonight.

Q. When did the cramps first hit you?

PATRICK RAFTER: I think it was about 1-All in the fourth.

Q. And has that been a problem or is that something that sort of came out of nowhere on you, in the past?

PATRICK RAFTER: Hasn't been a problem for a while. I think just the whole nerves and the situation, you know, just me getting excited. It all sort of plays a part.

Q. What does it mean to you personally, that victory against him?

PATRICK RAFTER: Under the circumstances, under the conditions, the fourth round, packed stadium, I mean, it is very rewarding, very exciting for me. Quarterfinals now of the US Open, and a chance to maybe continue on. Who knows?

Q. Agassi says he doesn't think you can win. What do you say to that?

PATRICK RAFTER: There's eight guys out there I think can win, one of them. If I get the breaks, you know, I think I have as good a chance as anyone.

Q. The press this morning has been, Agassi beaten, Agassi this, Agassi that. They called it an upset. You're the 13th seed. How do you feel about that?

PATRICK RAFTER: You've got to expect that, you know. Agassi has been No. 1. You say his name down the street and everyone knows who Agassi is. They still think he's No. 1 in the world. People that don't understand tennis, they know Agassi. They think he's the No. 1. I guess that's just normal.

Q. Do you aspire to that recognition?

PATRICK RAFTER: I mean, it's great to do well. I guess if you do well, you know, if you become No. 1 in the world, and you have a bit -- I mean, Agassi has that real flamboyancy, real charisma that captures everything as well as being No. 1.

Q. Pat, how would you compare the way you're feeling at this stage of the tournament to the similar stage at the French Open?

PATRICK RAFTER: You know, not taking anything away from Woodforde, but I when I beat Woodforde in the fourth round to make the quarterfinals of the French, it was very exciting because it was my first quarterfinals at a Grand Slam. But this one just seems to be something a little bit different. Not more special or anything, just different, because of what I had to go through with the whole crowd. I guess it's such of a relief, a real excitement. The buzz out there was just sort of hard to explain. It was so electric out there.

Q. Pat, you were saying that people don't know tennis regard him still as No. 1 in the world. This isn't a month ago. I mean, he really clearly had started to get his game together. As a player, you must regard it as beating Agassi here as taking a pretty big scalp.

PATRICK RAFTER: Yeah, I think so. He's still not the same player as he was in '95. When I played him at the Australian Open '95, you know, I wasn't either, mind you. But, you know, the reason he was No. 1 is because he was the best. But he's not the best at the moment.

Q. What's the difference between now and then in his game?

PATRICK RAFTER: He's probably got to get himself in shape a little bit. When he was playing well, he was a bit quicker. He looked pretty fit out there, actually. But his quickness was still a half a step slower than what he usually is. Probably his returns. He returned quite well, but I thought when he was playing his best, he was returning better.

Q. How about your game? How would you compare your game now with '95?

PATRICK RAFTER: Definitely serving better, too. Just not missing from the baseline. You know, putting them under a lot of pressure, saying, "You have to beat me from the baseline." Moving better, volleying better. Everything about my game.

Q. Seem to be serving better, too. Have you worked on your serve?

PATRICK RAFTER: Yeah, have been sort of messing around with it a little bit. Seems to be working well.

Q. Do you know when they're putting you on?

PATRICK RAFTER: No idea. Is there a night match?

Q. Yes.

PATRICK RAFTER: I guess that would be a Chang match, though.

Q. Chang match?

PATRICK RAFTER: Yeah. Pretty hard not to put Chang on a night match. I'd be happy to go back on night.

Q. You wouldn't mind?

PATRICK RAFTER: Wouldn't mind. Get more sleep. Sort of in that rhythm at the moment. I haven't been getting up till one o'clock because of the doubles the night before, as well, the adrenaline and everything. You just don't get to sleep till so late. You try to sleep as long as can you.

Q. Patrick, what do you know about Larsson? What do you think of his game?

PATRICK RAFTER: Larsson, I played him a few weeks ago in Cincinnati. We had a really tough match, which I got through. Could have gone either way. He's very dangerous. He's very loose the way he plays. You know, I think dangerous is the best word for him.

Q. Pat, what about today? I mean, is it just a light practice session, you won't even get on court today?


Q. Given the conditions last night and that you were up big in the third, he came back, got into the fourth set. How mentally draining was that for you?

PATRICK RAFTER: That was very tough for me. Then the first point of the fourth set, he hit a screaming forehand winner return. I thought, "Here we go, a bit of trouble now." He had a bit of a fist pump, the crowd went nuts again. I sort of scratched my head a little bit, like I'm doing right now. You know, then I had to try to compose myself, say, "Forget about it. There's a long way to go. Just try and block everything out. This is another set." I did that very well.

Q. When did you feel him lose his momentum?

PATRICK RAFTER: It wasn't till the 4-3 game. He did a double-fault. Then I played a really good point to go up Love-30. Then the tension starts getting into the match. I knew if it started getting tight, probably had a lot more matches, I'm more match tough than he is. One thing that Newc and Rochey especially stressed to me, "When he gets tight, put the pressure on him." He hasn't had the matches. It's true. He folded when it got tight.

Q. (Inaudible) in the absence of Fitzgerald?

PATRICK RAFTER: Me and Fitzy worked a few weeks this week, six or eight weeks this year. Rochey and Newc are always going to be here for this tournament. Rochey has a lot more to do, helps me more mentally than anything. Before the match, "Just compose yourself." He's been through there. Rochey has been through it before. They just know what it feels like to be in the situation.

Q. You're serving and volleying more now than ever in your career, is that fair to say?

PATRICK RAFTER: I suppose so, yeah. But I always serve-volley a lot. Maybe a few more times.

Q. I mean, you're basically at this point, unless I'm mistaken with Edberg gone, the last true serve and volleyer in the men's game?

PATRICK RAFTER: Myself and probably Siemerink are the two biggest ones right now.

Q. Why is that? Why are there so few? Do you feel like you're sort of bucking a trend by doing what you're doing?

PATRICK RAFTER: Something, it's my game, always done it since I've been a young kid. I'm not going to change that. You know, I suppose the game doesn't allow for too many serve volleyers anymore.

Q. Because of the power?

PATRICK RAFTER: I guess so. But, you know, the other way I look at that is, it's such a plus, because no one is playing a serve-volley anymore, so it works in my favor, I think.

Q. Do you think last night was a bit of proof of that, playing against one of the best passers there is?

PATRICK RAFTER: Yeah, he passed great. Yeah, it may have been. The four matches I've played so far this year, here at this tournament, have all been the same players.

Q. Last night Agassi was asked if you could win. He said very bluntly, "No." Your reaction to that?

PATRICK RAFTER: I answered that just before.

Q. Wake up in the corner. Sorry, I didn't hear that.

PATRICK RAFTER: What did I say (laughter)? It was a long night, mate.

Q. You said he's gone, you beat him, that is that.

PATRICK RAFTER: I said I have as good a chance as anyone.

Q. Did you learn anything from the last Larsson match? Obviously you're going to concentrate on your own game. Is there anything special you want to (inaudible) --

PATRICK RAFTER: Not really. I mean, Magnus has a big serve. I've just got to try to get it back. He has a big forehand. You know, I think I have to play my game, have to do it well. No real secret to that.

Q. Did the emergence of Mark Philippoussis and all the attention he got, give you a bit of a wake up call and motivate you to work harder to try to improve your game?

PATRICK RAFTER: Wasn't necessarily Mark, not at all. I think what happened, when I had the injuries and you saw everyone started to go by me, how I'd lost enthusiasm for the game there for a while. Then when I sat back and looked for probably four months, it sort of ate at me. I said, "I want to get back into this." This is what I did. It just gave me that hunger to get back in. It wasn't Mark necessarily at all. It was just me looking, sitting back there for too long, knowing that I do love the game.

Q. When you're lying there till six o'clock in the morning, were you replaying points in your head? What were you thinking about?

PATRICK RAFTER: I was also thinking about I have to go to the toilet because I drank so much water. Afraid if I fell asleep, I'd wet my bed or something. It was a combination of a lot of things. I know I had to keep thinking of the toilet, that was one thing.

Q. Was there anything in particular Rochey said to you last night as you came off?

PATRICK RAFTER: At the end of the match?

Q. Yes.

PATRICK RAFTER: No. I think everyone was just sort of on a bit of a high, excited. Maybe now today he might sit down and go through a few things with me. At that stage, it was just, "Well done, great effort."

Q. In your observation, harkening back to what you said about Tony and John, do you think the Australian players have more of a sense of community than maybe some other players?

PATRICK RAFTER: Sense of what?

Q. Community.

PATRICK RAFTER: Than the other players?

Q. Than some other countries.


Q. Yes.

PATRICK RAFTER: We're pretty tight, actually, like that. That's one thing -- that's why it's been such a Davis Cup nation. I think we always have someone close to breaking through. We all do stand behind each other. I got a few phone calls, some of my mates, Paul Kildery called me from Las Vegas, said, "Well done." Little things like that, it's really nice. A few of the guys do that. I don't know if the other countries have that, but the Aussie players, it's a good feeling.

Q. You had quite a raucous box last night.


Q. Who was there? What were they saying?

PATRICK RAFTER: Had a couple brothers, a lot of friends from Bermuda there, and some from Reebok as well. I filled out the box pretty well. Pretty excited, I mean. They felt like they were taking on the whole crowd. 15 of them. Did a pretty bloody good job of it.

Q. And did Andre say anything to you at the end?


Q. Just, "Well done." It was a nice handshake. You know, I know he looked very disappointed. But, you know, he was fantastic at the end of the match.

End of FastScripts….

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