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March 14, 2001

Patrick Rafter


MODERATOR: Questions for Pat.

Q. Trying to be like me (referring to the hair)?

PATRICK RAFTER: I just want people to get used to the shape of my head when I do go bald, Bud.

Q. How is everything else?

PATRICK RAFTER: Good. It's good when you win, I guess. It was a good, convincing win today. I was just trying to go along with it, don't get too excited about it, take one match at a time. I know I'm hitting the ball pretty well. Just see what happens.

Q. Pardon me if this has been asked, but has it been analyzed as to why you had your cramping problems?

PATRICK RAFTER: Well, they never fully can understand the reason for cramping. There are many factors that go along with it, including stress and tension and nerves. That all plays a part. But it did show up that a little fluid gets lost and I probably haven't replaced it over the times when I get into a tournament late. Barcelona, there was a lot of hard training going on, I probably didn't replace the fluids and probably didn't replace the salt. That's what showed up out of all the tests they got done.

Q. Do you feel that won't happen again?

PATRICK RAFTER: I do my part to look after it now, put it that way. I'm pretty confident that it won't come around again.

Q. You were saying about not getting carried away. Is it hard to not get carried away when you have a result as comfortable as that?

PATRICK RAFTER: Yeah, it was a convincing win, and it gives you confidence. I think it's important not to go around enjoying it too much because there's plenty more matches to go, four very tough matches to go. You want to stay focused and don't get ahead of yourself. I've always been conscious of doing that, whether it's a tournament like this or whether it's a Grand Slam.

Q. The other day you were talking about getting into a rhythm, the zone. To get there, is there one key part of your game, is it mental, your serve, another stroke that really leads the way?

PATRICK RAFTER: Well, you do have to be hitting the ball well, that's important. A serve-and-volley game is probably my strength, my bread and butter. If that doesn't work, then the game sort of falls apart around it. But everyone has the things that work for them. That's my strength, and it needs to be working if I want to play well.

Q. The net differential was something like 35-3, points won at the net. That is the kind of classic serve-and-volley game you want to play constantly?

PATRICK RAFTER: Yeah. You want to win that many points, as well. When you play a baseliner, that's not a fair statistic on their behalf. You know, their strength is to make you play tough volleys and for you to miss them. Today I got the ball up high, very hard to get the ball down low. I got some pretty comfortable volleys out there today. His game plan didn't work very well, and mine did.

Q. Where was the game plan? Just to pass you?

PATRICK RAFTER: Pretty well the same every match: i'm going to come in; you've got to pass me.

Q. What's next, Brazil on clay?

PATRICK RAFTER: Yeah. That's going to be interesting.

Q. I would say.

PATRICK RAFTER: Guga is playing well, obviously. Playing in his hometown, it's going to be even tougher. Meligeni seems to be coming back pretty well. Has some pretty good results down there, as well. IIt's going to be a tough tie. We know we are capable of winning it, as well. We're going down there with a full-strength team really trying to knock them off. You know, we're confident that we can win. We have a chance of winning. They're going to have to be on top of their game to beat us.

Q. Should be exciting.

PATRICK RAFTER: It will be great.

Q. When you're playing on clay, are you coming in as much?

PATRICK RAFTER: Yeah. You've got to keep coming in, mate, got to get to that net before they do.

Q. How does your shoulder feel right now?

PATRICK RAFTER: Good, yeah. It needs to get work, though. I did work before I came in here, and I'll go and get a massage now to take all the stress out of it.

Q. The prospect of playing Corretja next round.

PATRICK RAFTER: He's got a very tough match. Again, you know, I don't know, I didn't play him in Davis Cup. I was supposed to play him the last day. It didn't happen. But, you know, he played very well here last year. He was too good for me here last year, that's for sure. You know, whoever I play should be good. I know I'm playing well. I've got to think about my game. I know you hear that same crappy comment every day you come in here, but you're just going to have to live with it (laughter).

Q. (Question regarding last year's schedule.)

PATRICK RAFTER: I still put that down to the Davis Cup. I continued to play a lot of tennis during December, had a good Australian Open because of that, and really haven't rested too much because of Davis Cup. Had one week off, then I started training again. Dubai, Delray, here, Miami, Lipton, then I need a big break. I need to take some time out. It's a tough one. It's a tough schedule. But I do play well when I play a lot of tennis.

Q. Andre and Pete have pretty much sworn off Davis Cup, saying the schedule is too tough. How do you see your Davis Cup future?

PATRICK RAFTER: It's just part of my game. I like playing it. It will always be part of my game. You're right, it's a very tough schedule. Depends where you put your priorities, I guess. Unfortunately, the Davis Cup and the ATP tournaments don't help each other out very much. You've got to make a decision what you want to do. Davis Cup's always been my decision. But they played it for many, many years, too, mind you. Andre has done 13 years of it. I'm sure Pete has done quite a few. I've only done seven or eight years of it. I haven't done that many compared to what they've done.

Q. Andre specifically said part of his problems early last year after the Australian was going to play Davis Cup.

PATRICK RAFTER: You answered your own question.

Q. Would you be in favor of changing the format?

PATRICK RAFTER: Listen, mate, I don't know what the right or wrong answer it for it. It would be nice to have a schedule there that suits everyone. You can never please everyone. That's the bottom line. It's a very, very difficult situation for both the ATP and the ITF to work out a format that works.

End of FastScripts…

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