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August 12, 1998

Patrick Rafter


PATRICK RAFTER: Especially the last two matches were pretty tight and actually all three of them have been.

Q. That's your third meeting of the year?

PATRICK RAFTER: It should be a good match and Todd's playing well obviously, and I felt like I hit the ball pretty well also. So it should be good tennis.

Q. Is it obvious to say you are on kind of on a roll right now?

PATRICK RAFTER: Well, the way I played today, I was a bit surprised how I played today. I just came out not knowing exactly how I hit the ball. I felt like I was hitting the ball well. So yeah, the match went great today. Definitely a bit of a roll, sure.

Q. Last year at this time -- I'm from New Haven -- when you came in from New Haven you went to the finals, were you on a roll also?


Q. You weren't?

PATRICK RAFTER: No. I came in before that I lost the second round (inaudible) because I come up here third round played a good match, played pretty good.

Q. Has your life changed since then?

PATRICK RAFTER: Yeah, it's definitely a different perception around the tennis tournaments now. But it's all -- a lot more demands on time in terms of doing interviews and that sort of thing. But, you know, I wouldn't trade it for anything at the moment.

Q. How good are you at saying "no"?


Q. Do you need people to help you with that?

PATRICK RAFTER: Yeah, but in the end it always comes back to you. Or I feel like it does, anyway. I have to get better at it.

Q. As your career was kind of on a little bit of neutral for awhile when you had your injuries and stuff you were probably thinking Top 10 that was your goal at the time and then last year you're getting all the way up to No. 2.

PATRICK RAFTER: More up to Top 30, I think. I wanted to get back up there and reestablish for '97. So No. 2, not a bad jump. So my goals are usually pretty modest. One of my goals this year, nothing, out of the ordinary again. It's very

tough. But every time I go out there, I'm trying to keep betting myself and put -- put in a hundred percent every time I do play.

Q. The way that last year went surprised even you?

PATRICK RAFTER: Well, I've never been there before and I -- I reached my goal around about first three months of the Tour, so I had a big surprise. I think it surprised a lot of people.

Q. You have been occasionally been criticized for having modest goals, especially by John McEnroe. Do you feel that he -- (inaudible) -- your mentality?

PATRICK RAFTER: Yeah, that's probably a fair comment. Everyone's different. Everyone responds differently to different things. If I said I wanted to be No. 1 this year, that's my goal. But I think it suits well with me. My sort of personality is more laid back; whereas, you know, probably, it might sit better with someone else like John maybe.

Q. Do you think people interpret that perhaps as saying you don't have the inner feeling to want it as bad as some of the others?

PATRICK RAFTER: I don't think they read it like that because they know every time I go out there, I'm trying my best. So I know that would never be -- I don't think that would be a comment from a lot of people. I think it would be more, oh, I don't know, maybe they think I should be setting higher goals for myself.

Q. (Inaudible).

PATRICK RAFTER: Yeah, I think it would. I think -- you know, you've got to be happy with yourself. You've really got to make a goal and think: "It is right for me." And sometimes you can set a goal and you're thinking: "It's sort of outside. It's sort of outside the reach." It could be possible but you don't feel good about it. So you have to set goals that are good for you.

Q. I don't want to rush you through this tournament, but how good was New Haven in terms of preparation for the Open last year?

PATRICK RAFTER: A lot of good matches, that was the biggest thing. Played quality players; same sort of situation, pressure situation. So it will be another good lay-up tournament. And I want to win it, too. You don't go in there to lose. I want to go in there and do my best.

Q. Do you get a lot of confidence from your play there?

PATRICK RAFTER: Yeah, I think that week and Long Island were very good.

Q. As the Open approaches, what's your thought process?

PATRICK RAFTER: It's not in my mind this year. I've got a lot of tournaments to go. And this tournament, you're not going to get a tougher tournament anywhere than this one I think right now. So my mind's centered on this one and when the tournament comes, it comes. It's just going to come. It's inevitable. So no use thinking about it.

Q. As you're talking about goals, given what John McEnroe said, would something like winning another Slam be your next major goal?

PATRICK RAFTER: That would be -- yeah, it could be. I mean, I want to do well at Davis Cup as well. I'd like to be part of a great team. So hopefully I can be part of that, too. There are many things. And then also to have a good ranking. I think it's all important and doing well, these sort of tournaments, those lead up to my ranking as well.

Q. Do you take things out off the court, your popularity outside of tennis -- People Magazine saying you're one of the 10 sexiest athletes. Are those things fun or distracting?

PATRICK RAFTER: Well, now I think now it's more fun. At the time it was quite distracting. I thought it was done in such a way -- I thought it was done in pretty good taste. So you never know how those sort of things are going to come out. I found it very positive and it was fun. Maybe a little distracting when you walk out on the court and the announcer says: "One of the 10 sexiest athletes. " And now you hear it a bit and you sort of get on with it but there are distractions off the court, no doubt about it. You can definitely lose your way. You have many opportunities to lose your way off the Tour. But you can have a lot of fun. But I do have a good time on the Tour. And when I finish there is when I'll start doing the things that I can't do, skiing, all those sort of things that I'm really looking forward to doing when I finish.

Q. Are you still planning on being a rock star?

PATRICK RAFTER: No. I was never planning on being one. I always wanted to be one.

Q. (Inaudible).

PATRICK RAFTER: The losses, you know, it gave me a real kick in the bum. It gave me motivation enough in itself to work harder. I think the losses are very important as well. It makes you come back stronger and harder.

Q. Did you have to say something to yourself?

PATRICK RAFTER: Well, I've always had the family support, so there's always good advice and good support around me. So it's just a matter of when I'm ready to take it in and listen and start working again.

Q. (Inaudible).

PATRICK RAFTER: He just wanted me to stop getting uptight about things, just relax and be myself. People have said it before.

Q. I didn't see that People's Magazine thing. Did they rank the Top 10 or was it just 10?

PATRICK RAFTER: No. I think it was like from all over different categories.

ATP TOUR REP: Anything else for Patrick?

Q. Yes, just one thing, if I may, higher standards at Wimbledon your serve was perhaps just a wee-bit off. What have you done?

PATRICK RAFTER: I just don't serve well off grass. I don't like the reaction off the ball on the court on grass. That's why probably hard court is my better surface because I can get some work off of it. I can move better on hard court than I can on grass. The whole hard court thing sits a lot better than maybe grass.

Q. How many marriage proposals do you get?

PATRICK RAFTER: I've got a very steady girlfriend of mine and we're taking it very easy. Good question, though. Thank you.

End of FastScripts....

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