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


March 10, 1998

Patrick Rafter


MIKI SINGH: Patrick's a three-set winner today over Wayne Ferreira to advance in the third round. He'll play the winner of Agassi/Bruguera. First question for Patrick.

Q. Patrick, can you talk about your match today and how pleased you were to get through this match, being your first of this tournament?

PATRICK RAFTER: Well, you know, the match wasn't as pretty as I thought it might be. You know, Wayne didn't play exceptionally well. I'm a little bit disappointed with the way I was sort of playing, as well. Maybe just being a little bit hard on myself. I know I can play a lot better than that. And it's hard to win a match on that sort of shot. I was very excited to win. To get all emotional about it at the end wouldn't have been the right thing to do.

Q. You've had success on hardcourt recently. Do you enjoy playing on this surface?

PATRICK RAFTER: Yeah, I love it. I was up for it. I wanted to really win today. When I wasn't playing so great, I was -- I guess I was trying to push myself to try and play better and better. Guess you can fall into a bit of a trap during that. You know, the hardcourts are where I probably feel most comfortable. So, you know, the next match I'll be looking forward to, hopefully.

Q. What was your reaction to the strange last point?

PATRICK RAFTER: The last point?

Q. Yes.

PATRICK RAFTER: Well, it's sort of like relief. I feel a little bit sorry for him, you know. It's a shame to win a match like that. But it's also my turn for the luck, I think. He had his luck throughout the match. I thought it was my turn, so that's the way it goes, isn't it?

Q. You said you could play better. What was missing?

PATRICK RAFTER: Missing? Well, I can't recall serving that badly in the first two sets. That's as badly as I've ever served. I think what the problem was is Wayne didn't make me play enough. I wasn't volleying that great, returning, no. I've returned a lot better than that. From the ground, it was okay. You know, that's not where I win my points. I think all my strengths were just a little bit off at the moment.

Q. Do you also miss having fun?


Q. Yes. On court, I mean.


Q. Yes.

PATRICK RAFTER: Yeah. Now the pressure's on, you know. It's a different sort of feeling to when I was playing before. Before, it was like, you know, Rafter, will he win? Probably not. Let's see what happens. Now it's, "Rafter, he should be winning this match." That's part of, I guess, progressing on.

Q. Does that really impress you? You want to win any game, don't you?

PATRICK RAFTER: Yeah, I do. I definitely want to keep winning. But it's a bit harder, I guess, when the expectations are there.

Q. Patrick, I don't mean to embarrass you with this question. You have a lot of females that come out to your matches. Do you feel you are a good looking guy, a sex symbol? Do you feel that way when the women are screaming and yelling at you?

PATRICK RAFTER: That's not really a question that I can really answer. I don't feel like some sort of sex symbol.

Q. Do you see groupies after matches, though? You get a lot of autograph requests, a lot of women are coming out to watch your play. Do you think that's good for the sport?

PATRICK RAFTER: You notice that, do you?

Q. Yes.

PATRICK RAFTER: I'm sort of pretty concentrated on the court (laughter). That part of it is a lot of fun, there's no doubt about it. I enjoy it. It's not the right question to ask me if I'm a sex symbol. I think you need to ask someone else. It's fine.

Q. Patrick, you seem to have answered this question in part already. But did winning the U.S. Open change your life in a lot of ways?

PATRICK RAFTER: Yeah, it has. I was just talking about this the other day to someone. It's not for the better, it's not me. You know, I'm not enjoying it so much. First of all, everyone notices you a lot more, especially at the tournaments, everyone notices you. It's very hard to do the private things that you used to do. Especially back home in Australia, it's just very difficult to relax. Here it's not so bad. There's just a whole lot more requests and things. I'm not a person that likes to say no, but I have to say no to a lot of things. That's the part I don't enjoy.

Q. Do you think your game has suffered as a result?

PATRICK RAFTER: I haven't hit my straps yet this year. I think maybe, maybe. I haven't had any real exciting matches that I played fantastic this year. I haven't felt that yet. I'm looking for that sort of feeling again.

Q. It must be difficult then knowing that over the last six months or so things haven't gone the way you might have thought.


Q. You're within striking --

PATRICK RAFTER: After the U.S. Open?

Q. After the U.S. Open.

PATRICK RAFTER: I'm actually quite happy with the way things have gone. The end of the year, indoor season, is not my surface. I'm not too upset with what I did there. Recently, again, it's not really -- the last three weeks indoors in Europe, doesn't really bother me too much. The Australian Open was a bit of a disappointment for me, I guess. Although the draw was very difficult and I could have been out very easily first round. You know, I was looking for maybe a better result there.

Q. But given what you just said about the limelight, it being a little bit too much, what about your quest for No. 1 then? If you became No. 1, the limelight would even be greater.

PATRICK RAFTER: Right, yeah. The No. 1 position will take care of itself if I play well. I get my happiness out of playing well. Hopefully I can find that medium where I can play well. I know I really haven't answered your question too well. Obviously, a No. 1 position is something that's well beyond my wildest dreams. You know, it's reachable, it's there. If it does happen, it happens. How am I going to deal with that? I guess, wait and see if I do get there.

Q. You seem to sound a little bit uncomfortable right now talking about these things. Is it because you have not found the time to really think about it?

PATRICK RAFTER: No. I've definitely found the time to think about it. I've come to the conclusion that it's not something that I enjoy. It's not really me. I mean, sure at times it's nice to have the people, the limelight and things. Ninety percent of the time, you can't do what you want to do. But also realize if I do blow out, if I do go to 15, 16, and you ask -- you stop being on TV, people forget you very quickly. It's something I have to put up with the next few years, hopefully, if I can remain up here.

Q. Do you have a positive attitude towards it? A lot of players went through this thing you are going through now. So do you know it's something temporary, that you'll pass one day?

PATRICK RAFTER: Am I doing something?

Q. What I mean is, do you take this new state you are going on, the pressure you were talking about, in a positive way, knowing that a lot of players went through it?

PATRICK RAFTER: Well, I'm looking to try to still get that balance of enjoying myself on the court and off the court. If I enjoy myself off the court, I definitely enjoy myself a lot more on the court. I'm searching more for that. That's what I've been finding a bit more difficult.

Q. Patrick, Sampras got you pretty good two times during the fall. Do you feel like you have to beat him to become No. 1, or would you just be okay with becoming No. 1 as a result of the ranking system?

PATRICK RAFTER: I mean, I'd love to be able to say that I've beaten him and to become No. 1 because of that. I mean, that's the ultimate, the ultimate achievement, I think. The way it's structured, you don't have to beat him to become No. 1. I don't know if that's right or wrong. I think, you know, he can go out and lose to somebody I might beat in the next round. I don't know who's to blame for that.

Q. Patrick, on the point of being No. 1, there were so many questions here, and even at home, about when you could get to No. 1, when you'll be No. 1. If you think, when you do it, it will be just a case of the monkey is off your back, the pressure will be off?

PATRICK RAFTER: No. I don't feel that actually, Craig. A No. 1 thing for me is still quite a way out of my reach. Sure, it could happen after the next two weeks, next three weeks, it could. I have to play fantastic and Pete has to play like dog crap. Sure, Pete probably hasn't been in the best of forms lately, but, you know, he's a great player. The reason he's there at No. 1 is because he is. I still think there's a long way for me to go. I have to get to No. 2 again first.

Q. Do you (inaudible) with questions about No. 1?

PATRICK RAFTER: No. I guess they're inevitable, aren't they? Seems to me it's quite a bit out of my reach at the moment, unfortunately.

Q. You're obviously a guy who perspires profusely. In this very dry climate, do you find you perspire less and maybe that will help you in the tournament?

PATRICK RAFTER: No. What you do, you perspire as much, but it just dries on you very quickly.

Q. It what?

PATRICK RAFTER: It dries on your skin and on your shirt very quickly. I mean, still on the court I probably drank four and a half, five liters of water. That's a lot of water. I'd probably drink the same on a humid day, as well.

Q. Could you address the situation that we have, a tournament where women and men play together and it's almost like a Grand Slam, but it's not a Grand Slam. People talk about, shouldn't it be the fifth? Would you have any opinion as Indian Wells as a tournament?

PATRICK RAFTER: You're not going to get a more beautiful setting than this tournament. For me to come from the indoor tournaments in Europe to out here, it's just glorious. It's beautiful. I'm very happy with this tournament. The women, it seems to be fine. I don't have a problem with playing with the women here. I think it adds maybe a little more character. But if it doesn't go ahead, it doesn't go ahead. I think the men's have been all a lot more successful at tournaments. It's not necessarily that we need the women. I think it would be quite nice to have them. They're saying they don't need the men. Something has to be resolved. I think you have to look at what's best for tennis. If having the women and men at the tournaments is best for tennis, then have them, and there shouldn't be any bitching about it.

MIKI SINGH: One last question for Patrick.

Q. Patrick, what is your greatest strength and greatest weakness as -- as a player?

PATRICK RAFTER: Is that one or two questions (laughter)?

Q. That's a double-edged one.

PATRICK RAFTER: My greatest strength? I guess it would have been -- I'm pretty aggressive on the court. My greatest weakness? It's there. It's not that they're not there, I'm thinking. I'm just trying to get the best one for you. Greatest weakness? You know, I guess I don't return or hit my groundstrokes with a lot of authority very much. You know, I feel like it's not a huge weakness, but it's a weakness, and people can exploit that. I'm not very aggressive on those sort of things.


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