January 19, 2001
THE MODERATOR: First question for Patrick, please.
Q. How was that one compared with the last? Seemed a little easier?
PATRICK RAFTER: Yeah, hit the ball a bit better today but at the same time he allowed me to play a bit better, more so than the second-round match. I probably didn't give him enough credit after the second-round match, how good the guy was. And today, everything came off my racquet a little bit better. I had time to play my shots. I served okay without being great. So I'm going to need to pick up my serving if I want to continue on.
Q. How does it feel to be back after all these years?
PATRICK RAFTER: It's been a while, yeah. But fourth round's not where I want to end up. I want to continue on.
Q. Congratulations. Were you pretty pleased with your form in general?
PATRICK RAFTER: Yeah. Yeah, it's always good to win, you know. Sometimes you don't play well and you win, it still feels good because you know you can play not at your peak but also win. And today was a match where I felt I hit the ball pretty well and I did what I had to do to win. But there's still room for improvement, and each round gets tougher and tougher and I'm going to have to work on those improvements. I'm making those improvements pretty quickly, fourth round might be as far as I get.
Q. Your next match will be Tim Henman or Wayne Arthurs. What are your thoughts on that one?
PATRICK RAFTER: Well, very, very different. Left and right, huge serves, yeah. I mean, it's one of those matches that's a winnable match I still think. Sometimes you play Pete or Andre, it's not quite as winnable. But Tim is playing well this year. He started off pretty well, and he seems to be hitting the ball very well this week. So he's probably the one that I would look to to probably get through. But Wayne is very, very dangerous. And he's -- he can play very, very good tennis. So I don't know. It's one of those matches that I'm just happy to be in the fourth round and it's not Sampras or Agassi. They're the ones you want to keep away from. And Safin as well for that matter.
Q. Will you watch the match tonight?
PATRICK RAFTER: I will be. I watch the matches every night. I love it.
Q. Your style of game, does that take a little bit more tinkering and refinement given you're a dominant volleyer? You can't practice that too much. In the games they try to pass you anyway. It's harder to refine?
PATRICK RAFTER: Not necessarily. I don't look at it that way. I think everyone's got to be sharp in what they do and what you do well, and for me it's serve and volleying and putting the pressure on. And if I can do that well, then, you know, then I can win. And for a baseliner, they've got to be sharp on not missing. They've got to get close to the lines and keep the other guy running. So it's just a different style of game for different people. But I don't think my game needs any more tinkering than anyone else's.
Q. Do you rely on their position on the court to dictate where you're going to move to? Are you really reacting to their body or their racquet? You seem to be so quick, you seem to always be there.
PATRICK RAFTER: Well, certain style of play, you have to find out where they like to go as well. As the match progresses, you find out what's their comfortable shot and where you think they will go. And a lot of -- some of it is guesswork, sometimes you get lucky.
Q. You look physically very fresh. Do you feel good?
PATRICK RAFTER: Bloody hot out there, mate. I'm glad it's over. I haven't had -- I haven't really been pushed very far just yet. I haven't had the grueling matches like Lleyton or Pete Sampras yet. And I am trying to avoid as much as I can. To me, I'm trying to conserve as much energy. And if I'm not fresh, then I'm in trouble.
Q. Is there anything different about your game or in your head this year than there has been in past Australian Opens?
PATRICK RAFTER: No, I just feel like I've hit some more balls, you know. Just coming off the Davis Cup has definitely been a plus for me, although it was mentally very hard for us, and some of us are still thinking about it over the Christmas time. But it worked in our favor knowing they would play so many balls during that time that it would pay off this time of the year and it has.
Q. Did you spot that guy in the wheelchair from the court obviously? You made a decision to make a really kind gesture, deliver your shirt personally to him.
PATRICK RAFTER: I don't know if I could walk up the stairs so I gave it to the little ball boy to walk up. You look around sometimes and you see those sort of people and it's very, very sad. And they're trying to enjoy the match and you know they can't really see it in the position they're in, and you think, "Okay, now if I'm going to win this, whatever happens I'm going to, you know, get a kid to take it up." So it's a very small gesture, it makes them happy.
Q. Do you remember what point of the match that thought occurred to you? If I win this, I'll have to do something good.
PATRICK RAFTER: Just after the second set. I sort of sat down at the end of the second, I looked up and saw the two guys up there. But I don't have that many yellow shirts. So I wanted to give two, one each. But I don't have that many.
Q. Did you know in advance he was going to be there? I gather he met your mom in the past.
PATRICK RAFTER: No. No idea. No.
Q. I was wondering, was today actually an easy match? Is there such a thing now as an easy match? Is everyone stepping up and getting better?
PATRICK RAFTER: I'd prefer to be playing the guy I played today than playing Prinosil-Agassi, that sort of thing. Or there are matches that you prefer to play, that you match up better against than other people. And today was a matchup which was better for me. I probably matched up worse against my second-round opponent than what I did today. It's just some guys like playing other guys. Although the score line was relatively comfortable, you always have to be out there concentrating very hard and not letting them get into the match. These sort of guys, they get confidence and they know they can beat you. They're just as good as you.
Q. Barry Flatman, Daily Express London. How do you match up against Tim?
PATRICK RAFTER: How do I match up against Timmy? I think we're 2-all. I've played Tim a couple of times, and I'm someone who I consider myself plays quite steady. Tim, I found he can play very, very well or not as well, and you just hope that he's not playing as well on the day. But I think we have our moments, but when Tim plays very, very well, he's obviously one of the top guys in the world, one of the guys you want to avoid as well. But he does have his lapses, and I know that there is a chance. I do have a chance.
Q. Ubaldo Scanagatta, when, if you could pick up an opponent, you would rather play a baseliner or a player like serve and volleyer like you would meet in the next round whether it's Arthurs or Henman?
PATRICK RAFTER: Depends on the type --.
Q. In terms of tactic, in terms of strategy, whatever?
PATRICK RAFTER: Well, I'd prefer to play Agassi than Hewitt. And I mean they play quite similar styles of games, just there is a slight difference. There were some guys I had a lot, a lot of trouble with, some guys I didn't have trouble with or I feel a bit more comfortable playing that I know I have a better chance of beating. And those, someone like Henman or Safin, to me, I don't know. I never played Safin. But, you know, it sort of depends a bit on the day and you just match up against better guys. That wasn't a very good answer, but --.
Q. The question was more related to the type of game, serve and volley players or baseliner players? They give you a different approach, mental or physical.
PATRICK RAFTER: A lot depends on the surface as well and how they're playing. I guess I'd prefer to play Agassi than Sampras. (Laughing.) I don't know.
Q. If Wayne wins tonight, playing against him, how would you feel?
PATRICK RAFTER: What would I feel.
Q. Could you preview that for us.
PATRICK RAFTER: If it ends up being Wayne, then it's great for Wayne, it's great for Australia and the Australian Open that we can get two guys and we're going to get one guy through to the quarterfinals. So you look at it like that. But once you get on court, it's all business. All that sort of stuff's left behind and I get to face probably the best server in the game, I think is the best server in the game.
Q. How have you found that in the past?
PATRICK RAFTER: I haven't played him since satellites in '91 I think.
Q. Who won?
PATRICK RAFTER: I got him. It's been ten years.)
Q. A young fellow in the chair, did you get any sort of -- did you see any response, any reaction from him when the shirt arrived?
PATRICK RAFTER: No, I heard the crowd though. I didn't. I didn't know if he was young or old, I couldn't tell.
Q. He's 50.
PATRICK RAFTER: 50, yeah, I couldn't tell. (Smiles). Thanks.
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