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July 9, 2001

Patrick Rafter


MODERATOR: Good afternoon, Ladies and Gentlemen. After a tremendous final, could I have first question, please, for Pat.

Q. Obviously disappointing for you, but I don't think anybody in this room can remember a men's singles final like that, not only here, but perhaps everywhere. What's your impression of it?

PAT RAFTER: Yeah, sort of hard to put in perspective right now, I think. You know, it's disappointing. You know, this time hurts a little bit more than last time, that's for sure. You know, I'll put it all together later. It was a good final, an amazing, amazing atmosphere, and it was a lot of fun.

Q. Why is the disappointment greater this year?

PAT RAFTER: What do you reckon (smiling)?

Q. Last year you were in a good position in the second set and it slipped.

PAT RAFTER: Yeah, I guess because, you know, the first time was just fun to be there. Second time, you know, I didn't want second. I wanted to win this time. Like the first match, I think this time I was really close again, but it was really taken out my hands this time. He served very well when he had to.

Q. Is that an example at 7-6, Love-30, what you're talking about?

PAT RAFTER: Yeah, exactly. You know, he put in a couple really big serves, didn't allow me really to do much with it. You know, you've got to take your hat off. It could have been easily a double-fault and 15-40 - especially the second one. But, you know, that's the way it goes. Nothing I can do about it.

Q. When things started going for you in the fourth set, he lost his temper, did you feel at the start of the fifth that you had this in your hands?

PAT RAFTER: No, not at all, no. No, he's just serving really well. It's not much fun down the other end trying to get it back. And I knew, you know, he'd regroup, and he did. It was too big an occasion for him to let that sort of thing worry him and get him down. There was still another set to play, and he knew that, and I knew that. He came outplaying and serving very well the fifth set.

Q. Serving for the match, four match points, he's double-faulting, what is running through your head as you're hanging in there, the crowd is going berserk?

PAT RAFTER: Yeah, hopefully he's missing a first serve, and I've just got to try and make him play. I really didn't do that enough. I was trying to make him play, but I wasn't quite sure where he was serving, where he was going. I knew he was tight, but I just couldn't get the ball back over. It's a really nice serve he's got.

Q. Would you have preferred to play yesterday, in the ideal world?

PAT RAFTER: Yeah, but if I was in that position, I wouldn't have played. I definitely wouldn't have played. Had to change my flights, that's the thing that hacked me off (smiling).

Q. Tell us a bit more about the atmosphere.

PAT RAFTER: I don't know if Wimbledon's seen anything like it. I don't know if they will again. You know, until Tim makes the finals, you know, I think they'll see it. But it was just -- it was electric. He had a lot of support. The Aussies that were there were great. Oh, it's exactly what I said on court, it's what we play for. This is what it's all about. It was so much fun. It was really good.

Q. Are you aware the Australian cricket team were watching you?

PAT RAFTER: I was speaking to them. We were organising tickets for them yesterday. Because Tim wasn't there, it was a lot easier to get them.

Q. (Inaudible) in the ticket organising?

PAT RAFTER: What's that?

Q. Did you help them get the tickets?

PAT RAFTER: My brother did it, yeah, through their contacts. The Aussie cricketers have always come out here during the Ashes, always come out to Wimbledon, so they've had their contacts here, as well.

Q. You've openly spoken about the effect of your nerves on the match, you were very open. Could you talk about your nerves during the match today?

PAT RAFTER: Well, I'm actually pretty happy with the way I controlled everything today. I didn't have too many opportunities or occasions that were out of my hands. The 15-40 point, when he broke, I decided I'd give him a really slow serve. I got it in perfectly, just how I wanted to, because I thought he was very tight. He whacked it by me. I went, "Bad move." When he's serving like that, there's not much you can do. I wasn't happy with my first serve at all. I didn't serve how I would have hoped to have served today. He made me play a lot. It was eventually someone had to break down. Because he put more pressure on my serve, mine was probably more likely to break down than his was.

Q. After playing so well, I was wanting to ask you about the status of this idea of taking six months off or possibly retiring. How would you respond to the claim after playing so well that you can't really be serious?

PAT RAFTER: Oh, no, I'll be definitely doing it. Definitely I'll be taking time off at the end of the year.

Q. Will you be at Wimbledon next year?

PAT RAFTER: Who knows.

Q. Who was supporting you from your family?

PAT RAFTER: Two brothers there, yeah, and I guess my girlfriend is my family, isn't she?

Q. How was your shoulder today?

PAT RAFTER: It was pretty good.

Q. Was it okay?

PAT RAFTER: Yeah, yeah, it wasn't too bad. I felt it maybe once or twice. You know, when you're out there and the adrenaline's pumping...

Q. No twinge?

PAT RAFTER: No twinge, not really.

Q. Is the disappointment any greater - and I don't mean this in a bad way for Goran - but you went on thinking that you had a better chance against a guy who came in on a wildcard?

PAT RAFTER: The way you put the wildcard, I think it's not really fair to say it like that. He has been playing really well. I knew it was a 50/50 occasion. When I went out to play Pete, I probably thought I was the underdog. This one I thought, you know, maybe I was -- I still think it's a 50/50 match. I don't care what anybody else says about it. The way he's playing, the way he's serving, there's always going to be that occasion. But I knew I had a good chance. The score line reflected that. It was a very tight match.

Q. Have you contemplated why he has managed to go from where he was to where he is?

PAT RAFTER: He's just serving very, very well. Once he serves well, the rest of his game comes together. He just picked it right up.

Q. What are your US tournament plans?

PAT RAFTER: I start in Montreal, and I play Montreal, Cincinnati, Indianapolis, Long Island and US Open. I'll have plenty of tennis before the US Open, but I will be taking three weeks off back in Bermuda.

Q. Tim left here yesterday thinking he could still win this championship. Do you feel that way?

PAT RAFTER: Bloody oath. I get pissed off with the press that write him off. He handled himself great. He was a real credit, I think. The public and the press should be proud of him for the way he conducted himself. He's definitely a contender, no doubt about it.

Q. The question referred to you as well. Do you think you can come back and win here?

PAT RAFTER: I don't know. But I know Tim can (smiling).

Q. You seem to be (inaudible) pretty well now. How do you think it will be when you get home, start sinking in a bit further?

PAT RAFTER: No, I've pretty well had my little depression. You know, I mean, listen, it's disappointing. But at the end of the day, it's a tennis match. We're out there having fun. If you can have that attitude, you're not going to get too down.

Q. What was your depression bit that you referred to?

PAT RAFTER: I might have said a few curse words when I got to the locker room. Didn't smash anything. Just said, blah, blah, blah. That's it, I think. We're all a little bit flat in the locker room, no doubt about it. All my mates are there. Just having a couple of beers and just thinking about what a great two weeks it was.

Q. What did Rochey say to you?

PAT RAFTER: He's okay. Yeah, I mean, I would have loved have done it for Rochey, as well, today. That part sort of hurts for me, as well, because I consider Rochey and I a bit of like a 50/50 combination. And he's a great mate. I would have loved to have done it for him, as well.

Q. Could you just give us perhaps some kind of impression of what it is like to face that serve on that court?

PAT RAFTER: Not much fun. I don't know. In the first court, I felt okay returning. Second court, I felt, "Where do I stand? What do I do? Where is he going? I hope he serves a fault." I got no idea really. Not much.

Q. If there is such a phrase, the most unreturnable serve in the game on grass? Sort of the difference between Sampras serving at you and Ivanisevic?

PAT RAFTER: Well, when Goran's serving well, he's pretty tough. I still think Wayne Arthurs has got an amazing serve, as well. Pete probably backs his serve up a little bit better than what Goran does. But, you know, I thought Goran played well today.

Q. Do you think everybody underestimates his passing shots and returns?

PAT RAFTER: Well, he hadn't done that for a couple weeks, how he returned and passed. He played well today. That's probably the best I've seen him. Well, I don't know if it's the best he played, but he did play well. I probably allowed him by not serving as well as I would have liked to have. But he did pass well.

Q. Did you get any sense of destiny? He talks about God being on his side, certain things happening at certain times.

PAT RAFTER: I don't know.

Q. On court you said that you had written Goran off. Do you remember what went through your mind when you thought he didn't really have much of a future? Did you feel he was toast or what?

PAT RAFTER: I think it's fair to say that everyone thought -- I mean, he hadn't done anything in Grand Slams for the last few years. Why would anybody give him any hope of coming back and doing what he's done? I think you were thinking the same as I was.

Q. Considering your break at the end of the year, does that make you even more fired up regarding Davis Cup for this year?

PAT RAFTER: Oh, I don't know. Davis Cup always fires me up. If I'm playing, I'm fired up. I'm ready to go, so... If I'm not fired up, that's when I know I need a break, and I do know I need a break at the end of the year. You know, Davis Cup is special, means a lot to me. The US Open will be special, as well.

Q. When you saw all the flags, all the chanting, what went through your head?

PAT RAFTER: It was just electric. It was great to be out there and playing in that atmosphere. I don't think Wimbledon's ever seen it. The Duchess of Kent said she wished that every match was like that because she enjoyed that - as well, the atmosphere.

Q. Did you in any way expect something like that or were you totally surprised when you stepped on court?

PAT RAFTER: No, I was expecting that actually. I heard yesterday that the boys, a lot of the Australians were lining up outside. They were great. It was a real pleasure to play under that sort of atmosphere. The Aussie crowd, I'm really proud of them, the way they conducted themselves. You know, they're great losers, as well. I'm really happy with them.

Q. What do you do tonight to get over that?

PAT RAFTER: Oh, we're just going to go and enjoy ourselves, go out and have a few beers. You know, I think, it was a great two weeks, what can I do? It's all over. Still going to celebrate. It was good.

Q. Beyond his serving, what else can account for Goran coming back like this literally from nowhere? This kind of thing really doesn't happen often.

PAT RAFTER: No, I guess he started believing in himself. Believed in his serve. When he served well, as I said before, he plays well. The rest of his game comes together.

Q. There was a time when we feared that Goran would be perhaps the greatest player never to have won a major championship - that that could have happened. It looked to most of us that probably it had. In a way, it's great for him. Probably inspirational for a lot of other people that he's come back and done this.

PAT RAFTER: At the expense of me (laughter).

Q. At least you made history.

PAT RAFTER: I'm sick of making bloody history (laughter). Thanks a lot.

End of FastScripts….

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