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August 13, 1998

Patrick Rafter


Q. You haven't lost a set in a couple weeks. How did you mentally approach when you got down and came back?

PATRICK RAFTER: I haven't lost a set since my 7th match, so it's not that big -- I don't know. I know that when I play -- when I play Todd that he really comes out and blasting and he's pretty tough and you've got to hang with it. I can remember Stuttgart, Sydney, the Australian Open the last three times and one here, I've always been down two break and two of the matches -- one of the matches I won the set but he comes out usually blasting and you've got to stick with him and find a way of breaking his return service game down. But he serves real well. I feel like I'm returning pretty well, so there's always a chance at breaking.

Q. He also seemed like he was moving pretty well tonight.

PATRICK RAFTER: Todd, yeah, I thought he was playing pretty well. He was serving well. I think he got that break at 2-2 in the second set. If he got that, then I think it could have been a whole different story.

Q. Were you surprised to see him frustrated enough to bang a racket; that's not him.

PATRICK RAFTER: No, it isn't him. I think he probably didn't realize how hard that thing was. Yeah, I guess, you know, played him four times in a row, and the results have been similar enough that he got frustrated with that. But it's understandable. But after the match he's in great spirits and during the match.

Q. How do you feel physically and mentally?

PATRICK RAFTER: Physically, I feel great and mentally as well. I'm moving well. I'm relaxed and enjoying it at the moment. If I'd come off losing in the match tonight, I still would have felt good about how I was hitting the ball. I just felt -- feeling good about things at the moment.

Q. Do you think a lot of that has to do with this being --

PATRICK RAFTER: Definitely, yeah, I can move well on this surface. And when I move well, I play well, simple as that.

Q. How much nerves where you feeling -- you've never gone into a big tournament a big tournament like the Open as a defending champion.

PATRICK RAFTER: This is a big tournament. Everybody keeps asking me about the U.S. Open. It's going to come around. It's inevitable. But I'm here playing the Super 9. I think this tournament's harder than the Grand Slam, it can be. Because everyone is so concentrated the seeds don't have a chance to lose but this week they have. But usually a lot these sort of tournaments they don't have a chance to get a by, and all of a sudden -- I mean, I could have played Henman the second round to play -- it could have been Henman tonight. I mean Todd, Henman, it doesn't matter, they are all great players. But we come up with very tough opponents here very quickly. But whereas in a Grand Slam, you can play two qualifies maybe who aren't quite as strong .

Q. Tomorrow you play Petr Korda.

PATRICK RAFTER: So it doesn't get any easier.

Q. What's your recent history with Petr?

PATRICK RAFTER: He's got me, most times. I got him once at the Grand Slam Cup. As I said, you know, if I can continue to play the way I'm playing, there's no reason why I can't have a good result against him.

Q. Maybe you can help me out with this but yesterday you were saying that Pat could possibly move into the 2 spot. Is that still a possibility, do you think? Could you just address that; what that would mean to you?

PATRICK RAFTER: I haven't really thought about it. It's not that big a deal for me. No, I don't. Again, it's not something that's plaguing my mind. If it was like going into the semifinals and I'm in the finals and maybe then I can think about it. But not at this stage.

Q. No offense, but -- well --

PATRICK RAFTER: And as I said I've played a lot of tennis, it's just matter of getting enough balls and hit.

Q. Was there a time when you felt you were losing a little bit of motivation?

PATRICK RAFTER: I think I was getting very frustrated around the Queens time, was definitely the lowest point of my career thus far.

Q. How can you explain that?

PATRICK RAFTER: You've just got to keep -- keep going at it. You've got to keep working hard and eventually things just turn around.

Q. Was it motivation or focus?

PATRICK RAFTER: Motivation was more or less the end of last year. It was tough -- I found it difficult to get out of bed to train where was before I never had that problem. And now it's just -- I'm just playing matches so it's great. I don't need to try -- I like it this way.

Q. (Inaudible).

PATRICK RAFTER: I guess there's a bit more pressure, yeah. It's great to see. Takes a bit more pressure off me as well.

Q. Who do you have to do against Petr, what makes him dangerous?

PATRICK RAFTER: What makes him dangerous is he can do everything and he can do nothing. Whatever shot -- he can make any shot from my part of the court and it just depends on what frame of mind he's in. And then he can turn a whole match around and not miss a ball. He can do that to you. He can make you look very silly on the court. But he can also make you look bloody good.

ATP TOUR REP: Any other questions for Patrick? Thank you.

End of FastScripts....

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