home jobs contact us
Our Clients:
Browse by Sport
Find us on ASAP sports on Facebook ASAP sports on Twitter
ASAP Sports RSS Subscribe to RSS
Click to go to
ASAP Sports e-Brochure View our


July 16, 1999

Patrick Rafter


Q. With the weather how important was that first set tiebreaker (inaudible)?

PATRICK RAFTER: It was very hot out here. You don't want to try and get down too many sets; somebody else trying get a bit of a momentum swing because psychologically it can get tough out there if you get down in that heat.

Q. How much of a boost was Lleyton's win for you?

PATRICK RAFTER: It was great. I had to try and control myself. I tried to be as relaxed as I could. I felt probably a little bit too relaxed in the beginning. But I think in the end that sort of worked in my favor because I didn't want to get too hyped up and too into it because you can drain a lot of energy out there.

Q. How much did Lleyton's victory affect you?

PATRICK RAFTER: Wow. Ask me a different question because, mate, I just answered that.

Q. The first set tiebreaker was very wild; could have gone either way?

PATRICK RAFTER: It was a very strange tiebreaker considering we were sort of holding our serve quite comfortably and got into the tiebreaker and it was sort of swinging around so much I thought I was on top; then he was on top. It was just probably a comedy of a lot of unforced errors. Eventually I got a good first serve in. But I think we were both trying give to that tiebreaker away there for a while.

Q. Nine mini breaks.

PATRICK RAFTER: He actually came up with some good returns on my serve and when I just got the ball back in play he made a couple of pretty bad unforced errors. Yeah, he sort of kept giving it back to me.

Q. You got plenty left to play doubles if the captain calls on you?

PATRICK RAFTER: If the captain calls, I am there, no doubt about it. But if they want to stick with that, I am happy as well.

Q. Talk to me about those two 9th game breakers you had; what do you recall from those games because they were crucial to the win?

PATRICK RAFTER: When I broke his serve?

Q. Yes.

PATRICK RAFTER: I started serving -- I started getting some good momentum on my serves so I was pretty confident if I get that break -- if that; I could go on with it. I just tried to put as much pressure on him as I could, especially in the first one I had a couple of good opportunities and he came up with a couple good serves and good passing shots and then eventually I broke. But in the second -- in the third set when I broke, he had a very bad line call. The one at deuce, the one to really give it to me. We both had some bad line calls at some really crucial times. His turned out to be more crucial than mine.

Q. Considering today's results, how much more poignant is it that Sampras didn't play?

PATRICK RAFTER: In this sort of heat I think it was -- it wasn't in Todd's favor at all. I think Todd probably has quite a good game for Lleyton, but over five sets in this type of heat you got to put your money on Lleyton. I think Pete could have probably pulled out a few more easy points. But you can't look at it like that. Todd and Jim, that is the reason why they are here. Those two guys have given a great performance; they should have the opportunity to play. That is my view.

Q. Particularly in the last two sets seemed like once you got out of that tiebreak, seemed like what you had said earlier in the week that this court would be beneficial to your type of serve?

PATRICK RAFTER: Yeah, started getting some good momentum; once I get that and some rythym on my serve, this court really takes my kick and my spin serve. I don't serve very hard, but I serve to get in the corners with a lot of spin on it. His serve, I thought was great for this court as well. His is very heavy and very difficult to do anything with it.

Q. How is the Australian confidence going into tomorrow and Sunday?

PATRICK RAFTER: Not going to get any better than this. We are going to have a great dinner and a couple of laughs tonight, that is for sure. But we know we have a big job. We want to try to do this 3-nil.

Q. Yesterday you said that you weren't sure you might face Pete Sunday, do you feel even stronger about --

PATRICK RAFTER: Yeah, I still have that as well. I still think it could be a possibility Pete might play, but, you know, I really don't know in the end.

Q. Say anything to Lleyton before his match today?

PATRICK RAFTER: Not much to say. I tried to give him a little bit of advice on how I had thought I play Todd Martin, but with such contrast and styles of games, it is very difficult to give him advice on how to play him because it is so different. But I thought he was always ready for Davis Cup - his temperament, his game, he has a great game for Davis Cup and I knew he would handle himself very well.

Q. Returning serving on this surface as well, Jim has a lot of kick --

PATRICK RAFTER: I haven't had any trouble before. I was playing a lot of practice sets Saturday and I felt like I was always in the games. But the way Jim serves, he has got such a terrific serve, I think, and it gives me a lot of trouble, that type of serve. I mean, I broke him, I hardly won a point on his serve before those games. He was putting more pressure on my serve probably consistently than I was until the crunch time.

Q. Do you have any doubts being up two-nothing? I know how difficult it is, do you have any doubts that you guys will prevail in this?

PATRICK RAFTER: Yeah, of course. I mean, I don't think it in the bag at all. It just makes you sleep easier tonight; that is all it does. We have got a lot of work to do and we are well aware of that. If Pete -- if they go out there and play great doubles, let us just say, for instance, they go out and play a great match 2-1 and, you know, then Todd will or Pete is quite capable of beating me as well and I feel I am quite capable of beating them, you got the fifth rubber. If it goes that way, so we are looking at it like we have -- we have got to win this next doubles match.

Q. What was the most important thing today? Was it keeping the crowd out of the match (inaudible) --

PATRICK RAFTER: I didn't want Jim to get on a roll, I think, more than anything. Even if I let him in on that third set, how tenacious he is and how tough, and how much he wants it, wow, he is a tough guy to stop once he gets on a roll I so was trying to keep him down. I think that was probably one of the biggest keys.

Q. Talk about the heat out there. Seemed like it did get cooler as match went on --

PATRICK RAFTER: I didn't feel it. It was brutal, I thought. Probably twice as hot out there for the first match. I was just trying to pace myself thinking that I could have a five-set match here and when I felt like I had to really lift my game and assert myself, that is when I tried to. If I didn't get the first two points in the game I felt -- or one of the first three points then just let the game go.

Q. Were you pleased that you played him pretty even off the ground?

PATRICK RAFTER: Initially I wasn't. I didn't think I was competing that well from the baseline, but then as the match progressed started finding a few little ways of trying to dominate the point. But in the end it was Jim probably going for that big forehand and some of my backhands just had nothing on it. It was probably hard for him to generate the pace; didn't mean to hit them that badly but they just came off like that. Like what Mantilla said at Rome, his grandmother hits it harder than me. Some guys have trouble with that.

Q. Being on hard courts again, does it automatically give you a confidence boost?

PATRICK RAFTER: Yeah, I feel so much more comfortable moving on it and volleying and my serve, the way I serve, this is a court that I have got brought up on probably most -- definitely is a court I got brought up on; this is how I learned to serve this way.

Q. Feel like you have won an historic match, 100th Davis Cup?

PATRICK RAFTER: Every match is historic, mate, in Davis Cup. Every match is the same for me. When I win I feel the happiest that I ever feel after I win a match.

Q. Considering the atmosphere and the conditions is this the best match you have played this year?

PATRICK RAFTER: Probably one of the best matches I have played, I think was against Byron Black in the first Dav -- in Davis Cup match. It was just felt-less tennis by me. I never played that well. I don't think I could play any better than the way I did.

Q. Newc, doubles. What are your thoughts? Who is going to play?

CAPTAIN NEWCOMBE: Well, we will have a chat when we get back to the hotel. I was just talking to Rochey about it, but we need to talk to Sandy, Mark, Pat and see --

Q. Want to throw him back there; he looks rested?

PATRICK RAFTER: Haven't talked to him yet. I am trying to get a little bit out of this too.

Q. Is it safe to say you are considering using Patrick tomorrow?

CAPTAIN NEWCOMBE: We have got two choices - go with Sandon or go with Pat. We feel good about playing Sandon. He is playing really well and he is keen to play. On the other hand Pat has been out there, he has had a feeling of the court. But it could be a very long doubles match, if it was a three or four hour doubles match, and we lost it, could affect Pat when he has to come up first the next day. We got to weigh those things up and have a talk about it and we are in a fortunate position of having our opponent on the ropes. Just want to try and make the right decision now on what we do.

Q. John, how important is it for you to be 2-0 up going into Saturday?

CAPTAIN NEWCOMBE: It is as good as you can hope for. That is as good as it gets. Like I said yesterday, the first match was a really key one for them. It was a tremendous amount of pressure on Todd. We felt that if Lleyton got his teeth into the match that he had an excellent chance to win. That is how it turned out. I am sure that gave Pat a big lift, probably almost too much of a lift because you feel a bit flat because you probably started off woke up this morning thinking well maybe Lleyton will win, maybe he won't but I got really get keyed up because Courier is very tough to put away. Then you are 1-love up so it is a different type of feeling; you got to get yourself geared up.

Q. Todd Martin said that Lleyton has great potential for the game; that is not something that has to do with his youth and inexperience but natural instincts, something like Sampras has...

CAPTAIN NEWCOMBE: He is very lucky, he is born with that. But you just don't get born with those things. They come from experience and that is why we have had Lleyton on the team, in the squad for two and a half years. Since he has been 15 he has been with us and he is very lucky, he and Pat get on really well together, so I think that -- don't you? You hate the little bugger, do you, just because he says "you know" all the time, I mean, you don't have to hate him. Just because he calls you bad names.

PATRICK RAFTER: (laughs) that is what it is.

CAPTAIN NEWCOMBE: He is very fortunate there. He is really ready for this occasion, but apart from that I think if any one of saw him at the Australian Open, he played a night match against Pioline in the first round, night match, there was a lot of pressure on him there. Just came out firing and played an unbelievable match. So he likes the big occasion. And he is good in the big occasions. And he has got this fire in his belly; that is what he has been born with, and even probably more importantly, he is not frightened to win.

Q. Talk about you will be greeted back home if you win. ?

CAPTAIN NEWCOMBE: I think it is going to get a lot of attention back home the fact that we are in a 2-Love lead now. But we still got to finish it off. We got another point to win and we are very conscious of that. So there has been a lot of attention on this match anyway since we were going to play one another because of the court and everything that has happened so it has had sort of an unusual buildup of three or four months with things going back and forth. But the people back home know that we have got a good team. They know that the boys are all very, very keen to get their name on the Cup. And they have sort of followed us. Whoever we play back home now we -- no matter where we play it is sort of caught the imagination of the public again.

Q. What was Lleyton like in the chair for instance after losing the second set?

CAPTAIN NEWCOMBE: He was pretty good. He was tested in the beginning of the third because Todd tried to raise the bar a little bit the beginning of the third set and I was wondering if Lleyton was going to be able to go with him because he -- his serve went -- Lleyton's serve went off at the end of the second. I wasn't quite sure why that happened whether he was going through a flat spell or what. But Todd started asking some very serious questions of him and he answered. He not only did he answer but he raised the bar himself.

Q. You had said earlier in the week that you never know what is going to happen when somebody goes out and plays their first Davis Cup match. Have you ever seen anyone in their first Davis Cup match play that well?

CAPTAIN NEWCOMBE: Yes, as a matter of fact Philippoussis did against Hungary on the slowest clay court you ever saw and he blew away the No. 1 Hungarian player. We finished up losing the tie, but he played an unbelievable first match on such slow clay, it was a terrific match. This was a slightly different circumstance against the United States, all the hype that has gone on in the weeks, all that, it is a pretty incredible performance for a young kid to go out there and handle himself the way he did. He should be very proud of himself.

Q. Can you sympathize with the position Gullikson found himself in, on the one-hand he has got to show some loyalty with two guys that have been supportive of him and on the other hand making that choice, can you sympathize with that position?

CAPTAIN NEWCOMBE: My old mate Fred Stolle once told me if you want sympathy, look it up in the dictionary it is in between shit and suicide. Don't quote me on that. That is it Stolle. I wouldn't say that. Stolle said that. I am not that type of person.

End of FastScripts....

About ASAP SportsFastScripts ArchiveRecent InterviewsCaptioningUpcoming EventsContact Us
FastScripts | Events Covered | Our Clients | Other Services | ASAP in the News | Site Map | Job Opportunities | Links
ASAP Sports, Inc. | T: 1.212 385 0297