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September 24, 1997

Patrick Rafter


Q. Judging by the way you played today, the body is holding up pretty well after all you've been through in the last few weeks?

PATRICK RAFTER: Yeah. I was very surprised at the way I volleyed today. Considering that in Davis Cup, you know, I really felt the volleys let me down a lot. Maybe I was probably going for a little bit more on the slower court and on the faster court here I could probably just steer them a bit more into the corners. Yeah, it worked very well today. Very happy.

Q. Have you had time yet to sort of really appreciate and to get to realize the success you've had in the last few weeks?

PATRICK RAFTER: Every now and then I catch myself. I start thinking, "It was a great achievement." But, it still doesn't feel like I did it. I still can't understand why or how, you know, why I did it.

Q. Has life changed?

PATRICK RAFTER: A little bit, but, you know, it's important for me to stay the same, I think, just enjoy myself, enjoy life.

Q. When you say "A little bit," more people want to talk to you?

PATRICK RAFTER: Yeah, more popular all of a sudden.

Q. How long before you get home and see the reaction there?

PATRICK RAFTER: After Hannover. I think I'm close to making it. If I do make it, I will go home straightaway after that, next plane home. Things will have probably died down by then.

Q. When you just said that you think about it off and on and you catch yourself, what actually happens? You just get an instant smile across your face or what happens?

PATRICK RAFTER: I don't know. I don't know, Craig. What I find, the weirdest thing is, I still don't feel like I did it. It's not believable to me. And, I've done it. You know, it's just such an amazing thing that's happened to me that I still don't believe it's happened. So, it's still going to take a while.

Q. Have you had any kind of gauge of what the reaction in Australia has been?

PATRICK RAFTER: I've heard that it's been pretty exciting. And, I've seen some of the newspapers - you know, six to eight pages in some of the big newspapers back home. Just the whole thing, the family, everything. They've gone nuts. Even a week after, there was still things being printed in the paper, my brothers were saying. I mean, it's hard for me to be back here and to actually know what is going on. Just from what I've heard is that it's, you know, going to be sort of big time when I get back there. I don't know how it was for Greg.

Q. Big.

PATRICK RAFTER: Probably big. Probably like that, I guess.

Q. The way you play tennis, you play more often than not with a bit of a smile on your face. There was a little bit of mucking around with Muster today, jumping over the net and everything. Tennis has taken a bad rap in years gone by that it's boring, there's no characters. Is that something that you work on or is it just something that's there?

PATRICK RAFTER: No. I think over the years I've learned to really appreciate tennis. There was a couple years where I was very frustrated, a bit of a miserable bastard on the court (laughter). I had to say it, I'm sorry. You know, I just wasn't enjoying the game. But, now, I really enjoy it. And after I lose, I still come off, you know, and with a smile on my face. You know, as long as I know that I put 100%, what more can I do? That's all can I ask of myself.

Q. Do you still spend any time in London? Over the years you have spent some time. A bit of a parochial question.

PATRICK RAFTER: Not anymore.

Q. You don't train at Queen's?

PATRICK RAFTER: I was seeing an English girl then. That's why I was spending a lot of time in England.

Q. Not as a base?

PATRICK RAFTER: I'm in Bermuda, always back there.

Q. Going back to that sort of smiling image.

PATRICK RAFTER: I -- I don't smile as much as Greg (laughter).

Q. Nobody does. I don't think it's possible. Out there with Muster today, do you take a kind of lighthearted attitude to this competition or is this full on like the US Open?

PATRICK RAFTER: It's a little bit of a different feeling. They look after you so well here. It's such a beautiful tournament, and everything is so nice here. I feel like I really want to do well. It is a little bit, you know, a little bit probably more lighthearted. But, you know, there's a lot of money out there. The boys are playing for big bickies (sic). So, they'll want to take it pretty seriously.

Q. What do you think winning the US Open has told you about yourself and your game, just how well it's broadened in the last 18 months or so?

PATRICK RAFTER: Well, I never realized I could play that well. That's what you train for, I suppose, you never think it's going to happen. I guess the one thing -- two things I get out of that. Ones, is that dreams do come true. They do. I thought I would be the last person that would work for me. The second is, hard work always pays off, no substitute for it.

Q. Is it fair to say you did your time, didn't you, on the satellites?

PATRICK RAFTER: I did a couple of years, probably three years on the satellites - two to three years. A lot of fun.

Q. I mean, quite often, the people who go on to make it really big get through that level extremely quickly.


Q. You seemed to actually play a few satellites.

PATRICK RAFTER: I've not played satellites for a while. You know, up until halfway from when I finished school. But, see, the thing is I matured a lot later than a lot of other people. I was a lot smaller. I just wasn't -- the people out here, they're like men at 17, 18. I wasn't physically strong till I was 21. So, you know, I had to try and go through all those learning things, I guess. I mean, I kept playing the same way. If you're not physically fit and strong to play the way I play, then you're just not going to succeed. Because, you know, they'll just pass you all the time. You got to be quicker. I've worked a lot on that.

Q. So, I mean, a bit like Tim perhaps, you knew that once the physical development came, you would get through that layer of the Tour?

PATRICK RAFTER: Yeah. I think Tim's probably a little more talented than what I am. He can get away with it. You know, he's not probably as strong as what I am, but he's more talented. I think he is. So then, you know -- and, he moves very well anyway. But, yeah, he can get away with a lot more than I can.

Q. Looking back, is there any one instant which you remember as an absolute nightmare from way back, or one place? I mean, now you've got the success you've got. Is there one thing you might think back?

PATRICK RAFTER: Spanish satellites was tough in 1990. Staying in hostels, having doughnuts for breakfast. That was a tough time, definitely. Just finished school; decided to go to Spain, me, my brother and a friend. There were eight of us actually. Then, yeah, I think that was definitely the hardest time for me. And the injury was also a tough time for me.

End of FastScripts….

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