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August 31, 1999

Patrick Rafter

Flushing Meadows, New York

USTA: Questions for Patrick.

Q. Can you describe what it was like, what it felt like when you were playing, the shoulder?

PATRICK RAFTER: It's a sharp pain, only on the serve. Every now and then, maybe on a big serve of Cedric's, especially on the backhand side, it will jar. But it's really on contact of the serve is where I feel it.

Q. Did you reinjure it? Is this the same injury, I assume, from Indianapolis?


Q. Did you reinjure it in the fall?

PATRICK RAFTER: No. That fall had nothing to do with it. I looked across at, I can't remember the score - hang on - the 4-3 game maybe, I looked across - or 3-2 game - across at Alex. I knew it was starting to come on. I called for him two games later.

Q. So no specific action that you felt did it?

PATRICK RAFTER: No, no. I've been practicing for the last few days, feeling great. I was very confident, very happy with the progress. For it to break down that quickly, I was very surprised. When you get into a match situation, that's what happens.

Q. What has it been specifically diagnosed as?

PATRICK RAFTER: I'll know tomorrow.

Q. The injury previous?

PATRICK RAFTER: It was bicep or supraspinatus, these words I don't even know. I know the bicep. Infraspinatus. Just a rotator cuff or bicep tendon.

Q. What's the procedure tomorrow?

PATRICK RAFTER: I'll get an MRI and probably get a couple doctors' opinions on it, then hang around here and probably get some treatment with Andrea before I head back to Australia and see what happens with Davis Cup.

Q. What did you think when you heard the news about Pete pulling out? Did you internalize that at all that this might happen to you?

PATRICK RAFTER: No. As I said, I was very happy with the way the shoulder was feeling. It was feeling great. You know, I heard from another source that Pete might not look like he was going to play, so it wasn't a huge shock for me to see him pull out.

Q. How sad a day is this for you? What do you think the loss of Pete and you from the tournament means to The Open?

PATRICK RAFTER: It's tough for the tournament. You know, especially with Pete playing such great tennis, and my form was pretty good, as well, coming into here. I was feeling pretty confident about having some good wins here. For me, it's very tough to pull yourself off that court. I sat there at 7-5 game, and I knew I should have just walked off at that stage, but I didn't. Even if I had won that game, I couldn't see myself pulling up for the next match, but I still didn't want to walk off the court.

Q. You didn't feel it at all in the first set?


Q. When?

PATRICK RAFTER: Around 3- or 4-2.

Q. In the first set?

PATRICK RAFTER: Yeah. I started to feel it come on. Then the second set, I was just serving flat, but I could still have a bit of pace there. But I couldn't get the kick serve. In my previous matches before in Indianapolis and in Montreal, I was serving flat, but okay. The shoulder wasn't getting any worse. But here, it was terrible, the pain.

Q. Pain just kept getting progressively worse?

PATRICK RAFTER: Well, about the third and fourth were just about as bad as each other.

Q. Were you disappointed that you were booed off the court by some people?

PATRICK RAFTER: Yeah. Once one person starts booing, I guess the rest of them do. It's very sad. I mean, what can I do? It is. It is very disappointing. I played here the last two years. I had very good reception. To be booed off, that hurts, no doubt about it. You know, you've got to cop that shit in the chin, I guess.

Q. There's so many injuries right now on the men's side, particularly. Do you feel that the schedule is really heavy? Everybody is getting over-use injuries. Do you think it's the schedule? Do you think it's the power game?

PATRICK RAFTER: It's really my first major injury in about three years. I've been pretty lucky. But this is obviously my worst-standing one. The schedule isn't kind, and it's not going to get any better. We probably do need an off period. It's something that I'm sure will work itself out over the next few years.

Q. Has there been any suggestion as you've looked at the shoulder injury over the past months that it might require surgery?

PATRICK RAFTER: No. I've always dismissed surgery. It's the last thing I want to do on the shoulder. But if something shows up in the MRI that requires it, then I guess I need it. I'll be having rests before anything.

Q. What did you say to Cedric?

PATRICK RAFTER: I sort of felt bad. You know, I just lost my serve. I just lost the fourth set. He was starting to get pumped up. You know, we're pretty good mates, Cedric and I. I didn't want him to be upset with me. He was fine. I just said, "I'm sorry, I probably shouldn't continue here. I don't know really why I am." It was an awkward moment because I just lost my serve. It's like, "Hang on, I've had enough of this. I don't want you to have any of the glory or the victory." I didn't want that message to come across to him. I just said, "I'm sorry." He was fine.

Q. What does it feel like to give up your title like this?

PATRICK RAFTER: It's a funny way to leave a tournament. I don't often leave like this, especially a major. It happened at the Australian Open one year. That was also very tough. It's disappointing. But I sort of knew it was coming during that match, that it wasn't going to last. I was sort of preparing myself for it.

Q. The way you feel today physically, do you see yourself playing Davis Cup?

PATRICK RAFTER: Yeah, well, what the worrying thing was for me, during the practice sessions, I was really going after my serve. It was holding up. I really was confident about it. I fought to break down serve early on. It does worry me going into Davis Cup, I could go in there feeling a million bucks. Halfway through a match, if I'm not a hundred percent, you know, Davis Cup is going to be a very tough one for me. I love playing and I want to be there for it. Listen, I'm going to be there on the sidelines or whatever, whether I'm playing or not. I guess I'll know more with the diagnosis tomorrow; will sort of tell the tale.

Q. Does it feel different than the injury in Indianapolis?

PATRICK RAFTER: It's a lot worse than Indianapolis, yeah. Indianapolis, I just knew it was starting to come on. I thought if I can knock this on the head, I'll be all right for the US. But I could serve okay during Indianapolis, but not here.

End of FastScripts….

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