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September 25, 1997

Patrick Rafter


Q. You played terrifically well today. Your tennis was superb. Rios hit some great shots, too, but you dominated the whole thing. What's your view on that?

PATRICK RAFTER: I play usually pretty well against Marcelo. Last time I played him I won the first set 6-Love. He won the second 7-6. Then he killed me in the third. I thought that was going to happen again tonight. Just I served very well was probably the biggest key.

Q. The second question is to do with the vast amounts of money you've made in the last four weeks. Quite incredible. Have you been able to even think about it? I know you were saying you have a job even realizing you won the US Open. What about the prize money that's come to $1.3 million over the last four weeks?

PATRICK RAFTER: Tough, huh? I don't know what I'm going to do with it because I don't really -- at this stage I don't really have a lot to do with it, you know, my money. I don't have a place to spend it on. I don't need a car. I guess my family will want it. I guess I better give it to them.

Q. Living in Bermuda is not really a place where you drive around in cars, is it? Would that have something to do with not need ago car?

PATRICK RAFTER: Definitely. The cars rust after about four years because of the salt water. The speed limit is 35 kilometers an hour. I have a moped that I rent when I go there. I have a ball on that. That's why I have more fun on that than I would on a nice car.

Q. Philippoussis isn't putting any Ferrari ideas --

PATRICK RAFTER: No. He's got a Lamborghini. That's too good. I'll go down to Australia and drive his, I think.

Q. Do you think your success is going to lead a major resurgence in Australia, others coming through now?

PATRICK RAFTER: I hope so. Apparently it's making big news back home. You know, another thing I'd like to see is a lot more people doing some serve-volleying because there are a lot of baseliners there. When you get a baseliner, maybe someone like Bruguera, and when I play against someone like that, you're going to see a lot of winners. If I play Agassi -- I mean, they're either going to hit a lot of winners or they're going -- or I'm going to hit a lot of winners at the net. It sort of makes for fun tennis, something a little bit different. It would be good to see that. Definitely if some more players in Australia can come through from what I've done, I mean, that would make me feel pretty good.

Q. Have you had a chance to sort of think about what your next target is going to be?

PATRICK RAFTER: I think it's important that I do get another goal and, you know, be 100% with it. Because, you know, if you don't have those goals, you have nothing to strive for. And at this stage, I don't really have another goal because I'm just so bloody happy being where I am. I'm trying to find another one. I mean, for me to be No. 1 at this stage is unrealistic. It would be great, but it doesn't make much -- I don't think I can get there just yet. But, maybe No. 2. Maybe that's a good little target.

Q. You've spoken of No. 1, but if you see Pete Sampras has to defend more than 1,000 points and you have nothing to defend, so far. Isn't it a goal?

PATRICK RAFTER: He's got like a couple thousand points to defend, but he'll do that. I think he's here and we're all here (indicating). Maybe Chang in that there. I'm a little bit lower, I don't know (laughter). I mean, I really think he's a step above. Just when I play a lot of people, Pete is well above us.

Q. How about the sort of fame that's going to come your way now? You seem a pretty laid-back sort of guy, but we hear that Australian journalists were knocking on your door in Bermuda; that pissed you off a little bit.

PATRICK RAFTER: I don't have a big problem doing the press as long as I can enjoy it. But, you know, if people can just respect my privacy, then that's the main thing. If they don't, that's what's going to make it very tough. As you say, I've never really had that before, except in Bermuda. I did get upset about it. I just hope when I go back to Australia, they can leave me alone a little bit. But, we don't have the tabloids like you guys really have in England, not quite as tough.

Q. Do you think the fact you had a fair taste of notoriety, if you like, or a lot of publicity before, will make it easier for you to deal with it again?

PATRICK RAFTER: It has so far. But nothing can prepare me for what I've done now. I mean, it's such a big step above what I've already done. So, no, it's just going to be trouble, five times.

Q. Pretty dramatic three years ago; wasn't it?

PATRICK RAFTER: It was. The Agassi match at the Australian Open went right off. You know, that was just for a couple of weeks, though. Now this could go on for a little bit longer by the look of things.

Q. And January is going to be pretty bad; isn't it?

PATRICK RAFTER: It is. I used to like Mark being the No. 1 player when January came around. But it looks like I've got to deal with that now. I mean, it will be very interesting to see how it does all pan out at the Australian Open.

Q. We've seen here this week, the other day, in fact, Boris Becker looks as if his days are numbered; certainly in the major Championships. Michael Stich is gone. Agassi is struggling to get back his form to where he was before. A lot of people are saying, "Well, the characters that are in the game are disappearing fast." Do you think what you've achieved at the US Open and your style of play, some of the other players that are coming along, will be able to bridge that gap?

PATRICK RAFTER: I certainly hope so. I don't know if I have that flair or flamboyancy that Agassi had. You know, it's very tough to compete with someone like Andre. You've got to be your own person. That's the most important thing. If that comes out in the way I play, then I guess people will watch because you're playing a lot of tennis and, you know, once the public, once the media starts building you up, then the public wants to know you, I guess. I guess they are looking for someone else. But, you know, I've got to keep performing if that's going to be me. I can't just have one good year and then fade away.

Q. You said yesterday about how dreams do come true. Is another of your dreams to actually win a Grand Slam in Australia, for the Australians?

PATRICK RAFTER: As I said, I mean, I just don't have any more goals at the moment. It's so amazing what's happened, I find it hard to reset my goals. You know, I'm going to have to find it soon because I need something to strive for again. I mean, it would be great. But, I mean, that's still amazing. I'm so satisfied at the moment. I felt like everything I've ever dreamed of as a kid has come true right now. So, now it's important to reset.

Q. A couple of months ago, if you played Muster and then Rios, probably would have been very close matches to call. Yet you won both of them very, very easily. What's really been the difference between before and the way you're playing now?

PATRICK RAFTER: The Muster match, I've always played well against Thomas. His style of game suits mine. It's a quick court here. Again, that favors me more than him. The Rios match, I've played well against him, as well.

Q. You're 1-All with Rios.

PATRICK RAFTER: Yeah. But, I beat him quite convincingly the first time. 6-Love, 7-6, 6-1 to him the second one. If I would have won the second, it would have been a similar score like what happened today. Whenever you play someone like Marcelo, I think he's a slow starter. I never feel comfortable that I'm going to close it out. I still feel like there's a lot of work to do.

Q. What is your schedule between now and Hannover? Which of the Europeans are you playing?

PATRICK RAFTER: At this stage, I've got Basel, Lyon, I don't know if it goes Paris-Stuttgart, Stuttgart-Paris, whichever one, Stockholm, and I don't know if I'm in Hannover yet. I guess I'm going to be close. And, then hopefully Hannover. Pretty knackered at the end of that.

Q. You're going to maintain this thing about not really working with a coach? Is Fitzy --

PATRICK RAFTER: I've got a mate coming over. I've organized that. It's a little bit difficult to get practice partners, I think. Coming into Hannover, there's only eight players. They'll probably all have their own little coach and everything. I've got a good friend coming over, spoke to him last night. He's really happy to come. Should be fun.

Q. You'll be going into the Australian Open basically without a coach, will you, or will you work with Fitzy?

PATRICK RAFTER: Rochey will be there, Fitzy. Whatever. It's a very loose arrangement. I don't have a contract with Fitzy, I don't have one with Tony. I work with a guy called Gary Stickler back home in Brisbane, because that's where I live. I worked a lot with Gary, last five years. He's been a big reason why I've done well, as well.

Q. Does it help you not having a coach all the time? You're sort of pretty free and easy.

PATRICK RAFTER: I think what it does do is you're not always worrying about the coach. You know, for me, I just got to look after me. It's so easy. Just makes my life a lot easier. Sort of makes my tennis -- I'm happier, makes my tennis more fun. I think it rubs off, yeah.

End of FastScripts….

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