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


August 16, 1998

Patrick Rafter


GREG SHARKO: Patrick registers his third consecutive Top 10 win this week. He also records his fourth ATP Tour title this season, the most by an Australia since Rod Laver since 1975. First question for Patrick.

Q. Was it in?


Q. Was it in?

PATRICK RAFTER: Yeah, it was in.

Q. Clearly?

PATRICK RAFTER: No. It wasn't clearly in, but it was in. I hit that serve all the time. I know -- I feel it's good, I know when it's in. Unfortunately, took a little bit away from the end, I think, because I thought the ball was in.

Q. Did you think he'd get it overruled?

PATRICK RAFTER: Wasn't quite sure. You know, I hit the ball, there's no real call. I felt good, as well. My hands went up, an arm came out. I thought, "Oh, here we go." You never know when you're going to get an overrule or not.

Q. So you were celebrating before the lines --

PATRICK RAFTER: My arms went up. But as my arms went up, her arm went out. Then he overruled, and I thought (inaudible).

Q. You thought what?

PATRICK RAFTER: (Inaudible).

Q. Did you think Sampras would act like that at the end of a match?

PATRICK RAFTER: It very rarely happens at all. As I said, it's a little bit disappointing, because it took a bit of a spark away from the end, I think.

Q. Did you have a problem with that, I mean, you going up to the net and kind of waiting while he's on the baseline?

PATRICK RAFTER: I thought, stuff it. It's my occasion, it's my time, I want to enjoy it. So, you know, it did a little bit. I wasn't quite sure if he was going to come up and shake my hand. He sort of accepted it, and then, yeah, he was fine.

Q. What was the main difference today with the last eight times you played him?

PATRICK RAFTER: Well, the first set was pretty typical of how I plays, he plays. That's how I've always played him. This time I sort of found a way to get back into it. I think 2-All he had a breakpoint, I think about 5-All he had another one. If he gets that, then the match is over pretty well. And I had my chances as well, mind you. I had some breakpoints. I just didn't quite get them either. I was just the first one to get the breakpoints in the third set. Again he had chances. We were both feeling a little bit tired, I think. And if someone would have got that early break, it would have been very tough psychologically to come back.

Q. Did you start attacking him in a different way the second and third set? Did you see something you could use?

PATRICK RAFTER: Yeah. I mean, his backhand return was on fire today, and he went through a really hot streak. And the thing is with Pete that he can keep that going sometimes as well. When he keeps that going, obviously you've got no chance. But then I took a risk, decided to go to his forehand a little bit. He didn't hit that quite as well today as what he normally does. Then my serving picked up. I got a bit more confidence, and the match just swung around.

Q. What was going through your mind in the first set when you handed your racquet to the ball boy?

PATRICK RAFTER: I thought, you know, the crowd aren't really getting their money's worth here, might as well try to enjoy it. Get a little kid playing a point. Pete didn't look like he wanted to play the point. Fair enough. Maybe he didn't want to break his concentration. Maybe it's not fair of me to do that to Pete either. I thought it would have been a bit of fun.

Q. Seems like it did break his concentration.

PATRICK RAFTER: Yeah, yeah, I played two great points, mind you (laughter). I thought I played two pretty bloody good points. That's the way I had to play to win any points. It was like that. You just have to play really good points to beat him. I mean, then he did like a couple big serves. Bang, game's over.

Q. Did you feel like you were playing in Australia today?

PATRICK RAFTER: The crowd was great. Couldn't work that out. It was really nice. When they introduced me, they gave me such a good ovation, I thought I'd give a bit of acknowledgment because it was something I didn't expect at all. It was really nice.

Q. How do you approach playing somebody like him, lost to him eight straight times? Psychologically, what did you think going into this?

PATRICK RAFTER: Well, I got nothing to lose, have I, first of all? And I can try different things out. I went in with a way I thought would work in the beginning, and it didn't work. Then I was able to change it, and turn it around. I've never -- this is the two best weeks strung together, like the US Open last year. I didn't know if I could ever do that again. But I've been able to do it again, like the US Open last year. And when you're playing like this, you don't know how to lose. It's a funny feeling. All the breaks go your way. Just everything's going my way. There was that one big point at 4-All or 5-All where I ran down a few points. You know, I just got -- the points like that, it was for him to go up a breakpoint, things like that, everything's going my way.

Q. Lose the first set 6-1 (inaudible)?

PATRICK RAFTER: I thought I was hitting the ball all right. That was the scary thing. But I had to find some other way of trying to break him down. There was maybe a little chink in his armor. I went there, and it came off.

Q. What was that?

PATRICK RAFTER: Well, he just wasn't probably hitting his forehand return as well as he could have. When he does hit that well, then you're in a lot of trouble as well because he can make clean winners off of it.

Q. Are you better at coaching yourself than a lot of players?

PATRICK RAFTER: I don't know. Don't know. I don't know. Can't answer that question for you. I don't know how the other guys coach themselves. But for me, yeah, I know what's sort of right for me. But again, there are times when I make wrong decisions, as well.

Q. Did you make that decision between the set, "I'm going to come out and go after his forehand?"

PATRICK RAFTER: You can't go out there thinking "I'm going to go for his forehand." You've got to keep mixing things up. If you keep going for the forehand, he's going to sit there and wait for it.

Q. That's when you decided?

PATRICK RAFTER: Yeah, I thought it was time to give things a bit of a change.

Q. When you played with the ball boy, did that loosen you up as well?

PATRICK RAFTER: I was pretty loose anyway. I knew I was hitting he ball pretty well. I felt good within myself. I could have lost one or two, felt I hit the ball pretty well. That's how far away I am.

Q. How does it affect you when you have to struggle to hold serve, he comes out bam, bam, does that get to you a little bit?

PATRICK RAFTER: Yeah, it takes away a little bit physically from you. Yeah, it is. It's very tough. But at the same time if you get to a Love-30, Pete all of a sudden thinking it's 4-All, Love-30, Pete's thinking "I've had all the chances here, he's got Love-30 on my serve, this is not right." They can start having that mind set. So it can sort of work in your favor, as well.

Q. He thought you double-faulted at 4-4 in the second set.


Q. He thought you double-faulted at 4-4 in the second set, he was up, had a breakpoint.


Q. Did you feel the same way as in the last shot?

PATRICK RAFTER: No. If they called that out, I would have accepted that one (laughter). I hit it. He didn't play it. Actually, that one felt out, yeah. I remember that one now, yeah. That's the luck.

Q. We're not used to seeing Pete that agitated about a point. (Inaudible)?

PATRICK RAFTER: I don't know. You'll have to ask him that question yourself. It's not fair for me to answer that one.

Q. Do you see more vulnerability?

PATRICK RAFTER: I think he's always sort of had that. I think he's always been able to get agitated on the court. Just no one really gets in that situation. It happens every now and then. It just -- I mean, it was a big occasion, it was the finals of a Super 9, it's match point, he just had Love-30. I mean, a whole lot of things. It's not fair to comment on that one, I don't think, for me.

Q. Have you ever played in a match that ended on an overrule?

PATRICK RAFTER: Oh, I can't remember one off the top of my head, Mate.

Q. What does it mean to beat Pete Sampras after the way he dominated you?

PATRICK RAFTER: Well, it's sort of hard to separate the title and Sampras here because they both mean a lot to me. I don't know. It was a great feeling to win both today.

Q. So it means almost as much to you to beat him as it does to win the tournament?

PATRICK RAFTER: Yeah. I think it's important, you know. You have to try and get back, you know. If you let guys keep beating you all the time, it's not a great feeling. I felt in the first set, it felt like Pete was up here and I was so far down. Made me look so ordinary on the court. And I felt I was playing pretty well. That's just how great he can play.

Q. Did you do anything different last night to prepare for this?

PATRICK RAFTER: Not at all. Just did the exact same thing. Go out and play. Why try to change my strategy, that's my view anyway.

Q. When you gave away your racquet --

PATRICK RAFTER: It cracked. I've broken a string in the base of the racquet very early, then I stretched for a shot and it cracked on the side. Usually I crack one out of anger, but this one cracked by accident (laughter).

Q. When in the second set did you feel like you might have gotten to the point where, "Okay, I'm back in my game," close enough to you were right there? You said earlier you were so far away from him in the first set.

PATRICK RAFTER: Like 2-All. When I was just hanging with him on my serves, I was getting through some tough games. 3-2 I got up a big game. I just felt then I was starting to compete at least anyway. Nothing worse than you get a crowd out here, you can't even give them a competition, you know. That's what it felt like. I think when I started holding my serve. I knew I was returning quite well. I knew it was only a matter of time before I got a chance to break him.

Q. When you get breakpoints and don't win, what does that do to you?

PATRICK RAFTER: You don't get many. You think, well, the first play I got, I had a second serve, I think. Well, the first point -- the first set doesn't really matter. But the second, I think it was I had a breakpoint at 5-All. Yeah, I think my first breakpoint in the second could have been 5-All. I'm not quite sure. 6-5 to me.

Q. Breakpoint at 3-2.


Q. You were up 3-2.

PATRICK RAFTER: He served an ace down the middle.

Q. He aced you.

PATRICK RAFTER: He did two, okay. That sort of thing, I went to the forehand thinking, "I've got to take a chance. Because if he gets a first serve in anyway, I'm in trouble." You've got to take a chance and get to the ball. The next time, second serve, I thought I'd make him play. I made the play. Didn't make the shot. I thought next time, "I've really got to go for it if I get a second serve." Breakpoint he did a good second serve. I started to rip the backhand.

Q. (Inaudible)?

PATRICK RAFTER: Yeah, it's a great serve. It's a beauty. Second serve was 100 miles an hour. About the same percentage as my first serve. His percentage -- his pace on his percentage of second serve, must have been close to my first serve.

Q. When you're playing like this, you don't know how to lose, how do you describe that?

PATRICK RAFTER: Well, winning becomes a habit. You just go out and play and things work for you. Every decision you make comes off. But then, you know, you can lose it very quickly as well. At this stage, the decisions I made are working. You can ask Andre that. You can ask Pete that, he'll probably say the same thing. I think guys can sort of get intimidated because they think, "This guy has lost a little bit, maybe I'll go for a little bit more." Maybe hey don't have to, just do the same thing.

Q. How many times have you felt like that in your career?


Q. Now or last year's Open?

PATRICK RAFTER: This is the first time I've really thought about it. This is my biggest winning streak.

Q. This would be the first time?

PATRICK RAFTER: Yeah, I think so. I've sort of lost in gaps all the time before, where this time it's a big streak for me.

Q. Do you think the gap between first and second is tighter?


Q. As far as the rankings.

PATRICK RAFTER: They're very close at the moment.

JOE LYNCH: Rios to Sampras is 40. Sampras to you is 130.

PATRICK RAFTER: I think this time of year, I think probably Pete is the No. 1 player in the world. In the beginning, around the clay court tournaments, you know, it's safe to say a Rios or a Moya is probably playing No. 1 in the world, Corretja, those sort of guys. At this stage, I think Pete, day in and day out, is the best.

Q. Is the gap closing between you and Pete or is it a one-day --

PATRICK RAFTER: It feels a little bit like a one day. Have to be a lot more wins before I can close that sort of gap.

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