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August 14, 1999

Patrick Rafter


Q. This is obviously the match you probably wanted to have coming into the final?

PATRICK RAFTER: Yeah, a short match tonight. It's a pretty light evening and going to try and get back to sleep at some stage. But it is a late final. I think last year it was a two o'clock wasn't it, final? Three o'clock? They have gone back another hour later, which is pretty nice. But the quicker the better.

Q. Are you doing anything different with your serve this week?

PATRICK RAFTER: Not that I know of. I don't know. Not that I know of. I came in here with a bit of a sore shoulder. Took some medication. Just went out there and just served and served, because I knew I had to serve well if I'm going to play well. I did a few days of that, and I came out and it just got better and better each day I played. And now I don't need to do anything. I've just got to play the matches.

Q. You really challenged him with your ground strokes today. We're used to seeing you serve --

PATRICK RAFTER: I serve volley all the time, but his serve, I can't get to the net that much. His serve is very difficult to get him behind. From the baseline, he sort of dominates a lot; so I'm just trying to get the ball back into play. And he was sort of controlling the points a lot and trying to get the short ball and get to the net. But the passing shot was still working tonight as well.

Q. What is it that makes you play so well in the summer?

PATRICK RAFTER: It's not the heat, because it's 68 degrees tonight. I don't know what it is, Mate. The courts are good. The conditions are good.

Q. Better than at other hardcourts earlier in the year.

PATRICK RAFTER: Yeah I've tried playing at Indian Wells, and I'm sure it's only a matter of time before I play well there, because the conditions there, I think, are quite ideal for me to play some good tennis. Scottsdale -- Miami, I've had one good year, but nothing really successful, either. But I can't work it where I had a better time of year there.

Q. But you and Pete have patched up?

PATRICK RAFTER: Yeah, but if you want to write about it and make it into a big thing -- (Laughter).

Q. We do.

PATRICK RAFTER: Okay. There's no worries, but you know, there will be no love lost out there. We'll be going at each other. I'm looking forward to having a good match tomorrow.

Q. Do you just want to take that whole element out of the competition, just the possibility of any sort of mental thing between you guys?

PATRICK RAFTER: Not really. I don't like -- I'm going to see him around. We walk past each other, and I don't like to be enemies with anyone. I just think that it just sort of got sort of taken out of text a little bit. I did mean a lot what I said, but the headlines read how I slammed him or something, and that wasn't the case at all. That was really the thing I was trying to patch up with him. I wasn't having a go at him, like in a bad way. Just to let him know that, you know, we're all out here trying to do our job.

Q. But if he did that again, you would still be mad?

PATRICK RAFTER: Oh, yeah. (Laughter).

Q. During the year before that all happened a couple weeks ago, had you guys talked?

PATRICK RAFTER: We always sort of talk to each other. Maybe sometimes -- we usually just say "Good day", "Good day." But sometimes we run past each other in a shop or in the restaurant and have a little chat and go on our way. There's no bad feelings. None at all. Never really has been.

Q. So winning the way you have the last two nights, can you take something: This is what I've done, and now I can play up to Pete, or does it work like that?

PATRICK RAFTER: I don't know. I came out tonight thinking: I just hope I put up a good show here. Because in the past, I haven't had good results against Kafelnikov, and I just thought if I can go in there and get a 5 and a 6 or a 5 and a 5. I don't really know how the match is going to go, but the more I served and held my games hang on, I thought I've got a real good chance here of winning this match. That's the way I go into every match. I'm going to go into that match sitting in the locker room half an hour before I play Sampras thinking: I just hope I get a few games here and make it into a bit of a match. And things just happen.

Q. Are you going to go out there tomorrow and hoping you can stay close?

PATRICK RAFTER: No, I don't hope I'm going to lose. Just to do well and get as close as I can. When you're close, then you've got a chance of winning.

Q. After you won the first set, did you think you had a chance?

PATRICK RAFTER: Yeah, I thought the first service game of the second set was pretty big, pretty important. If I can hold that, then I knew that I had probably a chance to go on. I held up pretty convincingly. I thought: Here we go, I can go and top him here.

Q. How would you compare to the way you were playing last year and now so far here?

PATRICK RAFTER: Probably better than what I played last year. This is nice.

Q. Any specific aspect?

PATRICK RAFTER: Well, I haven't lost a serve all week yet. That's one pretty big thing. Haven't really looked like losing it too much. Just the serve is probably one of the biggest things, I would say.

Q. Andre has talked this week and the last few weeks about how Pete brings out the best in him. Do you have any of the same feelings?

PATRICK RAFTER: No. Just hope I get close, you know. That's what I'm talking about. I don't know. I'm sort of -- I rise for every match. There's not one person that I like to beat some guys more than others, but that sometimes makes by game worse.

Q. What do you mean by that?

PATRICK RAFTER: Well, you want to win so badly that you become sort of too tight, and then you don't focus on your game.

Q. Is Pete that way for you?


Q. Does it surprise you that you haven't lost your serve, and then tonight (inaudible)?

PATRICK RAFTER: Once again, a serve like that, you're not going to lose too many serves in a game. I am surprised. I played very two returners and haven't lost.

End of FastScripts....

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