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August 12, 1996

Patrick Rafter


JOE LYNCH: Patrick Rafter, whose second round broke another -- another losing streak in Washington last week he went in 0-4 lifetime against Andre Agassi, and beat him. And last week in Cincinnati he was 0-5 against Sergi Bruguera, beat him in straight sets. Now broke an 0-2 record against Wilander. Nice little streak there.

Q. Walk us through on the final point there.

PATRICK RAFTER: I got a let court, didn't I? Is that what you're talking about?

Q. Yeah.

PATRICK RAFTER: Yeah, it's starting to get pretty tight, the match was. A little tight. And a let court like that really helps out. I think it's more a sigh of relief than anything. You want to say sorry, but you think no, I'm glad it hit the net.

Q. Can you talk a little bit about what you were thinking about in the beginning of the match, he's been injured, a little older. What are your thoughts going into a match like that?

PATRICK RAFTER: Uhmm, well, I didn't know that he was injured. I didn't think anything about that he being older, because he just beat me a couple of times recently. I didn't think that had much to do with it. I don't think he was playing as much as he was when I was playing him the last couple of times. He was just a little flat today. And his timing wasn't there, and that was pretty evident. And this is -- just a touch off. That's all you need to be. And if you're not playing that great, you're not going to win.

JOE LYNCH: And, actually, last time they played, Patrick was coming back from three months off due to an injury at the second round at Bermuda in late April.

Q. Especially for a player like Mats who doesn't have the big aces and big games his, timing really has to be there.

PATRICK RAFTER: He's got great returns, Mats. And you could see that when I served for the match. You know, he made me play ever shot. And generally he passes very well as well. He just didn't make as many today as he normally would. And Mats' game relies a lot around his consistency and his return serves, which really wasn't working, which obviously he would like to have today.

Q. Is he one of the players that when you were a kid, when you first got into tennis he was --

PATRICK RAFTER: Yeah, when he won the French, I think he was 17 when he won that. It was one of those matches you stayed up late at night to watch. (inaudible.)

Q. You seemed to come out, though. Maybe you weren't aware of his injuries, you seemed to come out very aggressive. You were challenging at the net right away.

PATRICK RAFTER: Yeah, every other charge down as well. I said I'm not going to change my game, I'm going to go in there and be aggressive again, and if he could beat me again, then he's just too good.

Q. (inaudible.)

PATRICK RAFTER: He's good. He's feeling a little bit tightness in the elbow area at the moment, getting a little treatment at the moment. But since I've been back I've had my brother traveling. He's been that for twice a day, and the wrist has just been great.

Q. Is your (inaudible.) --

PATRICK RAFTER: No, I've never asked. Never been to (inaudible) operation. Something I used to do all the time, but now what I have found that massage is probably the best work off I could do for it.

Q. Patrick, do you look ahead a little bit? I know last week you lost to Agassi, second or third round, and this year it was like Kafelnikov.


Q. No, you don't look ahead?

PATRICK RAFTER: No, I don't look ahead. I just take one match at a time. And then I ask my brother who I play the next round. So that's all -- all I'm doing before, thanks anyway. Now, I don't really like to know because you can get halfway through the match thinking oh, no, I have to play him, and you start thinking about that. Just one match at a time, because everyone is tough, everyone is good out there. And if I get through my next one then let's just hope that I can get through and play whoever my next opponent is.

Q. So you guys -- you don't really pay attention as injuries have taken some of the players out of this draw?

PATRICK RAFTER: I mean, you know before the tournament, generally, who is injured, who's not injured. But sometimes it can be more of a distraction going into a match knowing that someone is injured. You think all that I do is make him play here, make him play there, and then all of a sudden the match gets going, he gets the adrenaline and he doesn't feel the injury anymore, and you're always thinking about his injury, and it just blows you away. So it's not good a good thing to think about.

Q. What is your game at now, before the injury?

PATRICK RAFTER: I feel like I'm playing a little better. You know, I'm still -- I'm still not playing as sharp as I'd like to. There's still a few things I would really like to work on before the U.S. Open, but that I need to work on in order for me to have a good U.S. Open. And I'm dropping the points well, I'm just not finishing as well as I'd like to at this stage. And I think that's important. I need to do a bit of work. (inaudible.)

Q. Mats talked about you being a tough first round match for him coming off the break. How was he for you?

PATRICK RAFTER: I don't know how he was going to play today. And, you know, I know he's really tough, because he's the sort of guy that makes you play a lot of balls. And I guess it would have been tough for him because I have been playing nearly every week since I started back in April. I've only had a couple weeks off here and there. And I'm starting to play quite well. And that's probably not a lot of time for him playing somebody he's played a lot. And he hasn't played for a couple of months. Yeah, I mean, I'd like to think that, you know, I'd be tough for anyone at this stage. It's a pretty tough tournament this year. I remember going back a couple of years ago when I first played it, there were a couple of people (inaudible.) You can't look through the draw and say -- the first match is Spadea-Vacek and Kulti-Bjorkman. These are guys that are all playing very well and they are all meeting each other. Before you could play other guys which you would not think they're hard at all. But you've got a lot of guys around 70 in the world at the moment, including myself and Rusedski, and a lot of guys who aren't seeded who are all playing tough tennis. And I think we all should be up a little higher.

Q. Even though you're not playing that many of the top seven or eights, there's something like one here.

PATRICK RAFTER: It's a bloody tough tournament, no doubt about it. You're still going to see a lot of good tennis out here this week.

JOE LYNCH: Anything else for, Patrick?

End of FastScripts….

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