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March 16, 2001

Patrick Rafter


MODERATOR: Questions for Patrick.

Q. A good match, great effort. How do you assess it or compare it to other matches of this tournament?

PATRICK RAFTER: It's a very different match. You don't get a chance to play any tennis out there. Very similar to like the Rusedski match. Obviously, it's a different class with the way Pete plays. When he's playing well, he's very, very tough. But under the circumstances, I'm very happy with the way I played. It's always disappointing when you lose. You know, it wasn't a bad match. I'm pretty happy with it.

Q. He said at some stages it reminded him of the Wimbledon final. Did you think the level was comparable?

PATRICK RAFTER: At Wimbledon, no one made a return. It was really ugly tennis. It was very hard to play when it's like that. Today there were stages where we both raised our level and played pretty well. Some good tennis out there. But Wimbledon I just thought was a really ugly match.

Q. You were actually both hitting a lot of winners, few unforced errors. You had one tough game beginning of the third set. What happened there?

PATRICK RAFTER: Unforced errors. Just a mental lapse. You can't afford to have that against these players, especially who serves like Pete. You don't get too many chances. It was a real bad tactical error on my behalf there. I let myself down; let him take control of the match from there.

Q. You think it was more you than him at that stage?

PATRICK RAFTER: Well, I made four unforced errors. I mean, he continued to -- he was just starting to put pressure on me. The last few games he was starting to put me under pressure. Obviously, he's got to get the ball over the net, as well. At the same time, there were some really bad misses. Sort of gave the game away. I should make him play, make him hit the winners, and I didn't do that.

Q. He won the last point of that tiebreak, that started a run of ten straight points. How frustrating was that getting?

PATRICK RAFTER: What game? All those points?

Q. Yes.

PATRICK RAFTER: I think I came up with an ace. I was aware of that. You don't like to let a guy get off with that many points in a row. Again, I just opened the floodgates up and he took advantage of it. He's good enough to do that.

Q. You managed to take care of your serve pretty well. I don't think you served many double-faults.


Q. Your second serve seemed to be really good for the most part.

PATRICK RAFTER: So was his. He didn't serve any doubles. You do get some doubles from Pete, but not today. He served very well, very hard. The court really takes a lot of bite out there. It was a match of one or two points here or there. That's why Pete is where he is.

Q. What's the difference? You're both serve and volleyers. What is the difference between your games?

PATRICK RAFTER: Pete has a lot bigger serve than I have. What else? He swings on his return. I try to just make as many rushes as I can. He's probably a bit more aggressive on his returns than what I am. Other than that, we play pretty similar styles of tennis. It's a fine line between, you know, the result at the end of the day. If you look back on our careers, there's a big gap, a vast gap. That's how good he is.

Q. Your career doesn't have to be over yet.

PATRICK RAFTER: Doesn't have to be.

Q. You were saying during the Corretja match that was as well as you could play. The first set and a half today, was it that same level?

PATRICK RAFTER: It was very high, yeah. I thought so. There was some good tennis out there. I was really happy to be part of it, out there playing it. It's never fun being part of a match when the score is 7-6. For instance, the first two sets at Wimbledon were to me as ugly of tennis as you can get. It's not fun to watch; it's not fun to play. At least these sets, some returns made, good volleys, good points, some close games. Under the circumstances, I played very well.

Q. Do you think much had to do with the difference of surface?

PATRICK RAFTER: Yeah, sure. Has a lot to do with it.

Q. Is it possible to strategize against Pete?

PATRICK RAFTER: Well, you know you're -- you know you can hold your serve most times. You've just got to try to get his serve back. I think it's the same with everyone. I'll go in with someone like Rusedski with the same plan, as well. You're going to hold your serves most times and you've got to try and break down his serve somehow. Pete is a great player.

Q. Could you talk about the second set tiebreak. Was there a key in that, his forehand service return at 1-1? Something that turned that around?

PATRICK RAFTER: That was a good one. I had a couple of opportunities. I think the first point, made a good return, didn't make a good pass. Pretty well I did that on his next service point. Just got myself in position to make a good shot, and didn't come up with it. Pete came up with that one big shot. By the end, it was just a loose shot on my behalf. Again, there were no free points really out there. He came up with the big shot. That's what he does day in, day out.

Q. Are you surprised by the fact that he managed to raise his level of the game during the big tournaments without playing so many matches since the beginning of the year?

PATRICK RAFTER: Some players are like that. Some players don't need to play that many matches, that many tournaments, to play well. Pete, I think, is one of those guys. When he is playing well, he's very difficult. These conditions are great for him. He's great in these conditions. I put him down with someone like Mark Philippoussis who doesn't necessarily put in a lot of matches, a lot of tournaments, a lot of hard work to be able to play great tennis. They're naturally very gifted, both of them.

Q. Is it harder for you to go up against a fellow serve and volleyer when most of the people you go up against are baseliners?

PATRICK RAFTER: Better tennis when you play the baseliners. You can get to see some baseline tennis, guys coming to the net, some passing. I've got one of those serves, you hit a ball, you can make the returns. If you don't hit a good return, I'm going to do a lot with the volley. I don't have a serve that blows a lot of people away. I get it in and make you pass me. I prefer to play a guy like that because it's just better for my solid game, it's better to watch.

End of FastScripts....

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