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September 1, 1994

Patrick Rafter


Q. Patrick, could you tell us about the tiebreak the 12, 10 tiebreaker and just how that flowed and almost got away from you?

PATRICK RAFTER: Well, he served for the match-- he served for the set at 5-4 and had 40-15. I played a couple of good shots and made him play a couple of other ones, and we were both very tight when it came to the tiebreaker both had a lot of chances and it was just a matter of timing for us before someone caught the opportunity.

Q. What did you think when he blew the overhead at 7-7?

PATRICK RAFTER: Yeah, that was a tricky overhead. I mean, it was high and quite windy, and I knew that you know, I thought I probably won the match then, I had the serve, and I had got really nervous again on the volley and he came up with a good shot. Both seemed to play better when we were down.

Q. What do you think of your chances here?

PATRICK RAFTER: Looks pretty good. Today Martin out there - I play the winner of that match. I have got a good a chance as anyone out there. Hopefully I can go all the way.

Q. Before the tournament began, obviously everybody was talking about Sampras's ankle; that he was vulnerable. Yesterday I thought he looked about as good as he could look, I think. Has that changed a little bit among the men?

PATRICK RAFTER: I thought he was, you know, he would have been too -- first round; hadn't played four, five weeks; coming back, played like that is pretty impressive.

Q. I mean, does your attitude change, though, does anybody now say he is invulnerable; he is now definitely the. . .

PATRICK RAFTER: He is in the top half of the draw. I will tell you what, if I can just get to the finals, I will be a happy boy.

Q. You have that great match at Wimbledon, if I remember, and you obviously weren't happy with the result. What did you do to sort of put your head back together, was it difficult?

PATRICK RAFTER: Took me awhile to get back on track, you know, I struggled through the American Tour, and just very mentally down and was thinking of all sorts of things; wanted to go home, and I just trained harder and harder and had a good New Haven tournament and I knew I was going to play well here.

Q. Did you say you were thinking of going home?

PATRICK RAFTER: You know, a lot of thoughts went through my head.

Q. Really discouraged, you know. . . .

PATRICK RAFTER: I was upset I hadn't won a match in four, five weeks. Bruguera knocked me down a little bit. Set out to Wimbledon; I had to play first round--

Q. When you got to Wimbledon did you feel you were going to go pretty deep in the draw?

PATRICK RAFTER: I thought I was. I knew I had a lot of clay court players in my section. I thought it would have been better than I did. But he played great. No question.

Q. Did it bother you that in that kind of pressure you weren't able to pull it out?

PATRICK RAFTER: Well, I thought I played the points -- I didn't do too many things wrong. On four matchpoints I made him play four tough volleys and he came with four good volleys.

Q. He just shocked you with his level he was able to reach?


Q. You deal like, mentally, you sort of gotten over that discouragement now?

PATRICK RAFTER: I think so now took me a while and needed confidence back. I was hitting the ball all over the place before and just worked harder and it is just a confidence game.

Q. How do these courts here compare to the ones at Key Biscayne where you did so well?

PATRICK RAFTER: I think Key Biscayne was actually a little slower.

Q. Slower?

PATRICK RAFTER: I think so, yeah. I mean, the courts all-around here vary in pace. I found the Center Court at the Lipton was quite a slow court. It is a little bit-- outside courts were a little bit quicker as well at the Lipton.

Q. So your performance there then, is that kind of a factor for you when you walk in here?

PATRICK RAFTER: No, I think it is just how I am doing lately -- I can't remember when that was.

Q. March.

PATRICK RAFTER: -- March. That was a long time ago and I think it --

Q. Do you like this Open, the conditions? Some people have problems with it.

PATRICK RAFTER: No, it is not the most fun Grand Slam. Being in the city and coming out here everyday is a bit of a drag, but I mean, they try hard to look after you and everything, it is good that we are in the city because there are a lot of things to do. But probably not the most fun Grand Slam.

Q. With the moving crowds and everyone talking, do you actually dislike that or do you like that or does it --

PATRICK RAFTER: No, I thought it was a good idea. Even on my court, I mean they -- I think the second tear had to move, walking right beside us, and we had no problem with that at all. I think the 20 second rule is a bad rule myself.

Q. But then today's match, how do you feel that will help you for the rest of the tournament?

PATRICK RAFTER: Well, I am in the third round. If I lost that one I would have been out of here.

Q. Does it prepare you because he was pretty tough?

PATRICK RAFTER: It was a big win for me. He plays very well, and I know I am hitting the ball well, and I don't know, I just -- same as any other match, I think.

Q. Do you and Bruguera have a chance of meeting?

PATRICK RAFTER: I don't know.

Q. You know Sampras talks about how much he admires all the old Australian stars, Laver, Rosewall and so on. Do you have a relationship with them?

PATRICK RAFTER: Well, I do. Not sexually. Yeah, we get along well.

Q. What influence, if any, have they had?

PATRICK RAFTER: Whenever they are at tournaments, they always come and support my matches.

Q. Favorite slam?

PATRICK RAFTER: Well, probably Australian or Wimbledon. I mean, every Grand Slam has that presence about it; whereas, such a big event everyone wants to do well. Everyone wants to play well for the Grand Slams. This is just another one of them. It is all the same sort of feeling, but in terms of something else, something different, I think probably the Australian is probably one of the biggest for me.

Q. How do you feel about playing the Jensens in doubles?

PATRICK RAFTER: That will be a fun match, I will tell you.

Q. Going to be a war with you and Shelton?

PATRICK RAFTER: Yeah. We are working out a few things. Be prepared.

Q. I don't want to dwell on this, but the Bruguera match at Wimbledon, you were very -- again very, very upset about it. What bothered you most about that match? Did it tell you something about yourself that you didn't like?

PATRICK RAFTER: At the time I was incredibly down. When I look back on it I thought maybe I did say the wrong thing at the heat of the moment. The way I was feeling I was extremely upset with my opportunity I had there, I think more than anything, and playing a claycourter on grass. . .

Q. Did you think you weren't as mentally strong as you should have been?

PATRICK RAFTER: I was trying too hard in that match, I think it was. I was still very focused at the same time. And I was -- I used up incredibly amount of nervous energy during that whole match because I thought I had a good opportunity. I didn't realize he was going to play that well on grass.

Q. Did it help you today? Did you take the lesson from that and does it change, for example, trying to conserve that energy or did you do anything. . .

PATRICK RAFTER: I started off a little slow today; just a bit sluggish, but it is very hot here and I am trying to conserve some sort of energy; get myself prepared best I can for matches.

Q. Do you have any sort of timetable in your mind for when you feel you should crack the top 10, reach the point of winning?

PATRICK RAFTER: No, the sooner the better, obviously, but I am looking at the end of the year. I have this tournament and probably six, seven other tournaments left in which I can breakthrough to the top 10. That is one of my goals.

Q. Have you and Kafelnikov ever played?

PATRICK RAFTER: We played three times. He won the last two times.

Q. What do you think of his game?

PATRICK RAFTER: He is a very good player; very good returns. That is his strongest point.

Q. How do you compare the weather here right now as opposed to Melbourne in January?

PATRICK RAFTER: Melbourne it wasn't that hot. The weather here is not as hot as it was last year either, if I can remember. The weather has been quite pleasant, actually been pretty lucky.

Q. Brian Shelton at Wimbledon said he is your best friend on the Tour. I was wondering how your friendship came about.

PATRICK RAFTER: He is dating my sister so he better be my. . .

Q. Does she play?

PATRICK RAFTER: No, they met in a tournament couple of years ago and they took off from there, but no Brian is a very easy going guy, and you know, he is very easy getting on with them. Have a lot of fun and I see quite a bit of him. Yeah, he is a good man.

Q. Did you talk to him about Bruguera before this match?

PATRICK RAFTER: He didn't call me. For some reason, I would have called him if I knew I had been playing in that sort of situation, but he didn't call me. I was expecting a phone call.

Q. Did you see him after; did you talk to him after?

PATRICK RAFTER: I played doubles with him, but I didn't really talk to him about the match itself. I don't think if-- I mean, even if I did tell him what to do, I think he would have been-- just wasn't on his day.

End of FastScripts...

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