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March 24, 2001

Patrick Rafter


THE MODERATOR: First question for Pat, please.

Q. Are you happy with the way you played today, Pat?

PATRICK RAFTER: Yeah, was pretty solid, yeah. I've never really seen Bob play before, so the first few games with we were sort of sorting each other out. (Inaudible). Today was good, I didn't want to spend too much time out there. It was a hot day, so it's good to get off.

Q. Has it been difficult to have to wait this long before playing your first match?

PATRICK RAFTER: It is. It's tough. That's the toughest thing about the transition from Indian Wells to here. But at the same time I was very tired after Indian Wells. I had a lot of tennis. I hadn't played that much tennis in a long time. It took me a few days to get over it. And just sort of came here, settled down and so I'm looking for a good week. It's pretty important to have a good week.

Q. Since you said in January that this could be your last season, have a lot of people approached you and asked you not to go?

PATRICK RAFTER: I have to talk to you about this Miki. (Laughing.)

Q. The reason I ask is because Ivanisevic said some very nice things about you the other day.

PATRICK RAFTER: Yeah, I didn't -- I didn't want that to happen. I didn't want to have some sympathy from all the other guys or from tournaments and et cetera. That's the one thing I do regret from what I have said and why. But as I said before, it was a timing thing why I did say it in Australia for the Australian public. Something that I'm definitely going to take a good break after it and we'll see where I go from there. But I do need a break and I do want to get away from the tennis for a little while. But, you know, the thing is I'm not getting any younger. I'm still looking towards that. It's nice for Goran to say anything he said. He's a good fella. We get along very well.

Q. That's what he said. Is it difficult for you to concentrate on a tournament --?


Q. -- As important as this one when you've got the Davis Cup coming up?

PATRICK RAFTER: Oh, okay. (Smiling.) No, it's not. I mean, no, we talk and we're joking about it in the locker room. Fitzy and Wally are trying to come up with different strategies on how we can win this tie in Brazil, what's our best chances. But when we're on the court, it's a whole different ball game. We're only concentrating on this week and what we have to do this week. There is no substitute for match practice and we know that. The best preparation for Brazil is to have a great week here and gain confidence and go in there feeling really good and really strong. That's what we're about.

Q. And playing the doubles with Lleyton, have you got --?

PATRICK RAFTER: It's another, you know, it's another ace up our sleeve that we're looking at. We're trying to get comfortable with each other in Davis Cup, we need to get some matches.

Q. Are you playing with him specifically for Davis Cup reasons?

PATRICK RAFTER: No, we're good mates. I like to play doubles as well. I'm looking to try to play some more tennis, and doubles helps my singles. When I played good singles is when I was playing a lot of doubles. The reason I stopped playing doubles was because of my shoulder. But I feel I'm strong enough now, so that's another reason why.

Q. You've been playing a lot of lefties lately.


Q. It could be Clavet coming up in the next round. Got a history with him and what's he like?

PATRICK RAFTER: No history at all with Clavet. Never played him before.

Q. After all these years, you've never played him?

PATRICK RAFTER: After all these years there's a few guys I've never run into. He's one of them. (Inaudible.)Starting to get the idea of it anyway, starting to get the hang of it. Yeah, he'd be a very tough match if I had to play him. Who's he play? Martin, I think. Yeah, probably have to put your money on someone like Clavet to win that. But still, you never know.

Q. It's going to be baseline if you can (Inaudible)?

PATRICK RAFTER: Hit the baseline, really. Yeah. Chip and charge, Charlie. That's it.

Q. What would be another doubles option for Davis Cup?

PATRICK RAFTER: Myself and Wayne as well. I think that's also an option. You know, a lot will depend on what happens on the first day. But, you know, I'm looking to play the matches, so that's why I'm also playing doubles here, to get it -- get the sort of fitness going as well so I can back it up. I think myself and Wayne and myself and Lleyton are the ones that we're looking at anyway.

Q. What's your assessment of the courts here and how it tailors to your game?

PATRICK RAFTER: It's pretty slow out there. Nothing like Indian Wells. Indian Wells was quick, the air quality is quick, the ball doesn't get fluffy. Here, you know, it's quite a bit slower. It's kicking, it's biting, it's a very bouncy court, and the balls do fluff up and get a little bit slow. It does slow down. (Inaudible). But I have played well here in the past and there's no reason why I can't play well here again. I am playing well. When I am playing well, sort of a medium-paced hardcourt is a good surface for me.

Q. The slowness of the court, is it a bit of a mixed blessing for you? (Inaudible)?

PATRICK RAFTER: Yeah, it does that and gives you an extra bite on the serve when it's not as quick. It also slows down their serve so you feel like you're on their serve every time as well. This court's great for Pete because he's got such a big serve. Doesn't matter what court you put the guy on, he serves big. When you serve to him, he won't get quite that zip off the court. But Pete's a great player on all these sort of surfaces anyway. Not too many he can't play on.

End of FastScripts....

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