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August 11, 1999

Patrick Rafter


ATP: Questions for Patrick.

Q. Looks like your shoulder wasn't quite a hundred percent. Was it bothering you tonight?

PATRICK RAFTER: No. I've been on medication for it. It's been holding up really well at the moment. So far so good. We have a long summer to go, so I'm trying to keep a check on it. That's why I'm late here.

Q. When did you injure it?


Q. But you're going to play this one and two more before the US Open?

PATRICK RAFTER: Yeah. If it doesn't hold up very well, I'll just head back to Australia.

Q. Is it tendonitis?

PATRICK RAFTER: Yeah, uh-huh.

Q. Last year you said you were going to look at your summer schedule and pare it down a bit.

PATRICK RAFTER: The summer circuit is always going to be a bit intense because that's when I play my best tennis. Leading up to it, I hadn't played as many tournaments as I had in the past. I probably put in one extra one that I wasn't going to play.

Q. (Inaudible)?

PATRICK RAFTER: It's okay, so far, the year. It's been okay.

Q. What do you look at? The ranking? You won Davis Cup.

PATRICK RAFTER: Actually, Davis Cup is something that is always a consolation outside of rankings. It's an event I've been thinking about a lot this year, and we have a chance of winning it. But the ranking, yeah, it's cruising along. I mean, nothing great, but it's okay.

Q. Do you really want to win?

PATRICK RAFTER: I'd like to win a Davis Cup.

Q. More than a Wimbledon?

PATRICK RAFTER: No, you can't say that (laughter). I mean, you can't use that analogy on me, I think. I want to win a Davis Cup and I want to win a Wimbledon. They mean two different things.

Q. Talk about coming here this week, some of your memories from last year. Does it feel different when you're the defending champion?

PATRICK RAFTER: Yeah, you're defending, that's for sure. I mean, everyone's out there trying to knock you off. I mean, they're always there. But I've come in pretty relaxed, more than what I expected to. In Montreal, I was quite relaxed. Went to the courts, I was quite satisfied. Nothing great, but it was okay. Here, I could have lost that match tonight quite easily, but I got through it, so I'm happy.

Q. Did you expect a tough match?

PATRICK RAFTER: Every time I go on the court, I expect a really tough match. If I don't get one, then that's a bonus.

Q. Do you find that people are playing you, as you move up in the rankings, when you moved into the Top 10, that people look at you differently?

PATRICK RAFTER: Well, I think what happens is you start playing show courts and show matches, and people are always putting in their best in show courts and show matches. I think that's one big thing. You know, if you play on Court 12 out in the back and you have 35 people watching, you're not going to have some guy busting his guts, not all the time anyway. So I think that makes a big difference.

Q. How early could you tell he had trouble with (inaudible) serve?

PATRICK RAFTER: How early? Yeah, probably three games I thought I had him in a bit of trouble. You know, I had little chances on his serve all the time and never took it. But then I felt that he was getting on top of me a little bit with his serve, as well.

Q. A few weeks till Davis Cup. Any thoughts on it?

PATRICK RAFTER: If anything it's sort of exited my mind, knowing what I have to do here in the summer. But it will be well and truly on my mind after the US Open.

Q. Do they know where they will play?

PATRICK RAFTER: Brisbane, on grass.

Q. Are you expecting all your relatives?

PATRICK RAFTER: We'll fill it up ourselves.

Q. You came in kind of relaxed this year. Can you pinpoint anything behind that? I mean, is it getting to the No. 1 spot?

PATRICK RAFTER: I don't know. I don't really know a reason for it.

Q. Have you had any sort of different routines after Wimbledon?

PATRICK RAFTER: Well, we played Davis Cup. Maybe that does tend to take a bit of pressure off. Or maybe getting to the semis of Wimbledon took pressure off. I really don't know.

Q. You reached No. 1, but it was so short-lived. Have you really had a taste of it?

PATRICK RAFTER: Oh, yeah, I guess. No, I always joke with the players a little bit. They say, "Congratulations, Mate, you made No. 1." I say, "Yeah, one week." They say, "At least you bloody got it. At least you can say you got there. Great." I don't really care either.

Q. Wasn't really a life-changing event?

PATRICK RAFTER: Seven days (laughter). No.

Q. Do you get along with Pete?


Q. Do you?

PATRICK RAFTER: Yeah, okay. I mean, we're not enemies.

Q. (Inaudible).

PATRICK RAFTER: No, no, things are really relaxed at the moment. There's no worries at all.

Q. Did you like the cover story in GQ magazine?

PATRICK RAFTER: A little bit pissed off at my mate. I spoke to him today actually. He called me. It's all right. I mean, there were some nice things in there, and a few things that I didn't like in there.

Q. Has it been something that has made more people know you?

PATRICK RAFTER: Don't know. I see a lot of them to sign. I sign a lot of them. I don't know if they know me because of that article or not.

Q. How important are the rankings to you?

PATRICK RAFTER: I don't know. Not this year. This year was never going to be a ranking sort of thing for me. It was never a goal. It just sort of happened that I was so close so many times, then it happened. It was nice to get it, but it was never going to be a question of ranking this year, a matter of.

Q. Did you get the feeling it was sort of more for your country?

PATRICK RAFTER: Yeah, but I sort of feel that, too. I think it's nice. I sort of am pretty patriotic toward my country. It's nice for them to have it as well.

Q. You've had a chance to play with Mark and Lleyton. Do you have a preference for a team in the semifinal in Davis Cup?

PATRICK RAFTER: You know, we got through the first one. Mark really didn't put in the work that he should have in the first one. Then the last one, he was injured. He was going to go to that Davis Cup, as well. He was starting to form pretty well with Mark, we were starting to get back on terms. Lleyton was just an absolute joy to play with. He was great. I really enjoyed his company. But, you know, Mark is starting to come around, as well. But, you know, we've made a few things to our Davis Cup team now. You've got to be there early. You have to do the hard work. If you don't do the work, you don't play. That's the attitude that we're having now. Even if you don't have your strongest team, if the guys don't want to do that, then at least you have that good support group anyway. And I think that's as important as anything. You know, if you're divided, you don't feel that team unity, and the Davis Cup feeling is lost.

Q. (Inaudible)?

PATRICK RAFTER: He was nervous before the match. I was talking to him on the way out. We drove out together, myself, Newc and Lleyton in the car. We sat down and had a chat. I said, "Lleyton, you know, it's a big occasion." I knew he was playing first. I said, "Mate, you've got to go out there and do your best. If I know you're going to do your best, then that's all I ask from you." He was really nervous, but I knew he had a chance of winning the first match, I really did. I figured just run him around. It was a hot day, it was perfect conditions for him. You know, with Lleyton, you've got to beat him. He's one of those little guys you've got to beat. Davis Cup is tough, to play great tennis, sometimes because of the pressure. The guy didn't miss. It was a lot of fun playing with him.

Q. You said this wasn't going to be a ranking sort of year. What were your goals?

PATRICK RAFTER: I didn't have any goals. I didn't know what they were. I was in Atlanta, you know, this year. I probably lost about my 15th first round in a row. I went, "Bloody hell, what's going on?" I was really starting to get mad. I was starting to do some hard work and it just wasn't paying off. I said, "I don't have any goals this year." I just started setting, ranking goals. They weren't real tough.

Q. What were they?

PATRICK RAFTER: It doesn't matter, but they weren't tough.

Q. They weren't No. 1?

PATRICK RAFTER: They certainly weren't (laughter). I got to them really quickly.

Q. (Inaudible)?


Q. (Inaudible).

PATRICK RAFTER: Well, it will be a goal when I get to it. I don't really say I'm going to win this tournament. I'll just try and win what I can. I go into every tournament that I play that way.

Q. So when did you get (inaudible)?

PATRICK RAFTER: I just started feeling good. All of a sudden a whole lot of pressure lifted. I said, "Well, set some goals, ready to go again."

Q. Is that something you've always done your whole career?

PATRICK RAFTER: Yeah, pretty well. There have been a few times when I've been thinking, "God, what's going wrong here?" I set a few goals and all of a sudden it turned around.

Q. Did you feel (inaudible)?

PATRICK RAFTER: End of the year is really intense for me. A lot of commitment with certain charity events. Just flying down doing certain deals that I have to knock off for my contracts and things like that. I go down there for two days, Sydney or something, come back to Queensland for two days, down to Melbourne for two days, back. I'm just sort of going crazy. All of a sudden I have to go into the tournaments and play. I don't know what I'm doing out on the court.

Q. No time for a New Year's resolution?

PATRICK RAFTER: I don't make any anyway.

Q. Can you talk about your decision to play Indianapolis this year?

PATRICK RAFTER: Well, it will be really nice to go back to Indy. I really always sort of intended to go back there. Now I am going back. It is a short drive, which is nice. Washington, too bloody hot for me (laughter). Indy is supposed to be pretty hot, too.

Q. Also because Pete is going to be there?

PATRICK RAFTER: I don't look at a guy and say, "I'm going to go there because he's there, maybe I can play him." For me to get there, I've got to be in the semis or the finals. Hey, I'm just glad to be there.

Q. (Inaudible)?

PATRICK RAFTER: In Rome, yes. I won that in Canada, too. I really was in a lot of trouble. He was a set and break up, more breakpoints. I was one point away from losing that match badly. I turned around and won it. For him to have beaten Gambill is a big effort. I'm going to have to be playing pretty well.

Q. Anything you like about this tournament other than the field, the courts and things, any reason you come here?

PATRICK RAFTER: Each tournament has its own different feeling. This is a good change, this one. I mean. Not a hell of a lot to do. You know, not like unbelievable restaurants, running around, or anything like great bars or anything like that to do. It's all okay. But I love the movies here. I just come, watch all my movies for the year. Watch about five or six movies, as many as I can.

Q. What have you seen?

PATRICK RAFTER: Haunting, American Pie.

Q. (Inaudible)?

PATRICK RAFTER: I don't have time. I have played there a few times, but I've got to start doing a lot of hard work for the US Open. I'm just not going to find the time this week.

End of FastScripts….

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