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October 25, 1997

Patrick Rafter

Hanns-Martin-Schleyer-Halle Stuttgart, Germany

Q. Were you feeling a little bit tired at all out there today at times?

PATRICK RAFTER: Maybe a little bit, but, you know, that wasn't the reason why I lost the match, I don't think.

Q. So what was the reason?

PATRICK RAFTER: He was too good on the day. Pretty simple, I guess. There was nothing wrong with him, nothing wrong with me. We both went out and the best man is going to win and he was the best man.

Q. He has always played you pretty tough?

PATRICK RAFTER: Yeah, he has. Likes my game. Yeah, he does. He likes playing me, you know, and every time we do play, we do have a relatively close match because he returns so well. It makes it difficult for me to come in because I don't read his serve very well.

Q. These backhand slice returns you played nearly every time, you have no alternative?

PATRICK RAFTER: No, I can get over it, but, you know, I thought he served quite well. He picked his serve up a little bit -- the first set I had quite a few chances to break, I felt. And, then the second set I thought he served in the corners very well.

Q. This tournament obviously if you had won the Final you would have gone to No. 2 behind Sampras.

PATRICK RAFTER: Right. I mean, obviously maybe that is a little bit disappointing that I have not done it this week, but I suppose this is something that you are going to live with; isn't it?

Q. You are No. 3, are you going to push on, when you are going to be No. 2 --

PATRICK RAFTER: There is only two more spots to go; isn't it? So, I guess -- it is sort of a novelty for me for the moment. But, I am getting closer although I am not there yet, maybe I will, maybe I won't. Michael might have a great week the next couple of weeks. You never know what might happen. But, I am going to be out there putting a lot of pressure on him. And, I mean, to end the year No. 2, would be a big achievement for me.

Q. This pain you are experiencing at the moment, is it cramps or injury?


Q. Cramps?

PATRICK RAFTER: Yeah. I just lose too much liquid when I play, too much fluid. I sweat too much.

Q. How was your knee today?

PATRICK RAFTER: My knee was good. You like the shave job I did? Looks good, aye? It was giving me trouble early on in the week and -- but the last two matches I played, it has been great. I haven't felt a thing. I think it has got to do with the adjustments of the court's surface and me having a bit of a break for a few weeks. So, I guess it is just sort of getting used to it.

Q. It will be okay for the next three weeks?

PATRICK RAFTER: It will be, don't worry.

Q. You know that the surface in Hannover is going to be a hard court, similar to the US Open, you know that?


Q. That is what they are laying. They are laying it especially and then digging it up afterwards.


Q. Not for you. Apparently they had a survey of past participants in the year-end Finals and it was decided that --

PATRICK RAFTER: I think that is the most even surface too. I think it is very fair. Yeah, it is definitely an evener, I think, like a slower hard court.

Q. Because in the past, since the very early days of the Masters when they used to take it around the world, it has usually been a pretty fast surface, at least this gives everybody a chance?

PATRICK RAFTER: I think so. I think it is a good idea.

Q. We were told yesterday that the players are asked for the court for the surface in Hannover. But you are not asked?

PATRICK RAFTER: No, they didn't ask me because I would have said grass court or something and they wouldn't have been too happy with me. (laughs).

Q. Your next tournaments?

PATRICK RAFTER: I go to Paris tomorrow. Stockholm and then Hannover. Three left. Been a long year.

Q. Then you return for the first time to Australia since --

PATRICK RAFTER: I was there in April for Davis Cup against the Czech Republic. That was the last time I was there.

Q. A lot of cuttings to catch up with. Do your parents keep a scrap book for you?

PATRICK RAFTER: Oh, they do. My mother does. Yeah, there is a lot of parties scheduled, I think, haven't been home.

Q. With what is happening in Germany now with Kiefer and Haas coming through; with Boris sort of semi-retired and Michael Stich gone, you know, we had a similar thing in Australia, only for a long, long period; then you came on the scene and then Philippoussis came and since then you have been pushing each other, you know, or one has gone ahead, the other has come through. This is obviously what is going to happen with Kiefer and Haas. Do you think it is the ideal situation?

PATRICK RAFTER: Definitely. And they are potentially top 10 players, I think, both of them. You know you have a little bit luck go your way, and the right people behind you, and if you have all the right things, there is no reason why those two guys cannot be top 10 contenders in the next, two, three years. It would be good for tennis all over the world because, you know, this is one of the biggest markets for tennis is right here in Germany. So, I think it is pretty important that a couple of really good German players come through.

End of FastScripts….

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