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strife726
05-03-2005, 11:24 AM
Sorry if this was posted before, but for anyone who didn't see it, its a good read.


Rafter interview transcript

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Pat Rafter
Whoever said nice guys finish last hasn't met Pat Rafter. He's a rare thing. A great sportsman - as respected for his behaviour as much as his achievements. A man whose enormous strength of character was as obvious after the game as during it. In short, he made Australia proud. Let's bring him on before I tear up. Ladies and gentlemen, Pat Rafter.


ANDREW DENTON: You just got our highest "whoa" quotient of any guest. Well done. You even beat John Travolta.

PAT RAFTER: Did I?


ANDREW DENTON: Yeah, absolutely.

PAT RAFTER: Thank you.


ANDREW DENTON: But you have to dance later.

PAT RAFTER: Did he dance?


ANDREW DENTON: A little bit. He wasn't very good.

PAT RAFTER: No, I'm not real good, either.


ANDREW DENTON: Is that right? Now, you've been sort of out of the limelight for a couple of years since you retired. What have you been up to?

PAT RAFTER: That was a question I hoped you wouldn't ask, but you had to ask.


ANDREW DENTON: Oh look, I'll ask an easier one if you like. Who was the President of Greenland between 19...

PAT RAFTER: Well, we had a baby pretty soon after my tennis career finished, and for that next year straight after I'd sort of stepped away from the game I wanted to just sort of sit down and reflect on what I wanted to do with my life. And after six months I decided that tennis wasn't going to be it anymore. Then we had a baby, and that's one of those things. I spend a lot of time at home and just still trying to - trying to find my feet. What do I want to do? Do I want to jump back into something again? Do I want to get back involved with tennis? I do owe tennis a lot. I need to put back in at some stage, but I'm not ready to do that. And we have another baby coming shortly too, so for the next sort of three or four years I want to be there for the babies and my family.


ANDREW DENTON: What, you are about four weeks away from baby number two?

PAT RAFTER: Number two coming up, so...


ANDREW DENTON: Is the nursery all set up? Are you all clucky?

PAT RAFTER: My wife has been nesting.


ANDREW DENTON: Yes.

PAT RAFTER: Everything's ready to rock and roll, and it's going to be another big change and it's another great step in my life. I'm looking forward to it.


ANDREW DENTON: Yeah, I'll bet you are. I'll get back to what you're going to do next a bit later. Let's take you on a trip down memory lane, "whoo". Would you mind doing that too please?

PAT RAFTER: "Whoo".


ANDREW DENTON: Fantastic. See, we can't afford special effects at the ABC, so we have to get you to do it. Let's go back to the '97 US Open, your first Grand Slam title, where you walloped Greg Rusedski. Here's some footage.

(VIDEO PLAYED)

(VIDEO ENDS)


ANDREW DENTON: That's still good. Now, what of that day is still with you?

PAT RAFTER: I try not to reflect too much on it, but when I do see it, like, on an interview or something like that, it's really exciting and it's great, but those days are over as well.


ANDREW DENTON: You don't walk around the house going, "I won the US Open"?

PAT RAFTER: No, it's just when you remind me, people like yourself. I don't know. I just don't like to live in the past that much. It was a great thing. I really enjoyed that moment. It was dream that I'd always wanted, and it came true. A couple of dreams didn't come true, but that's okay.


ANDREW DENTON: We'll get to those bitter, bitter moments shortly.

PAT RAFTER: Did I say that bitterly, did I?


ANDREW DENTON: No, I was just trying to inject some real tension into the interview. After that US Open, is it true you forgot to pick up the winner's cheque?

PAT RAFTER: I don't know how that all works. No, I think they just sort of send it out, I don't know. We had a party to go to.


ANDREW DENTON: Oh right.

PAT RAFTER: We had no time for cheques. Yeah, that could have been. They would have mailed it out, I suppose. But in my house I don't have the trophies. My mother has both of them I think. So I don't go around the house looking at them saying, "Yes, I won that; I did that", so I'll have to find a special place for them later.


ANDREW DENTON: Yeah, and when you actually won that tournament, which was quite big prize money, you said to your family, "I'm going to give half of it to a children's charity."

PAT RAFTER: Well, Newc came on - John Newcombe came on the court to do an interview for Channel 9, and I pulled him aside and said, "Newc", I said, "this was one of my things I always prayed for and I said I'd always do, that if I was a kid that if I ever won a Grand Slam I'd give it all away to charity." And Newc just said, "Well, let's, you know, steady on a little bit. You know, you've won one tournament now so, and you may need to be set up for some of your life. Let's give away some of it", and that's pretty well what I did. So I didn't consult my parents over that. I just went straight into Newc and said - so we gave half of it away to Starlight Foundation at that stage. And then we set up my charity a couple years later.


ANDREW DENTON: And when you rang home, what was the first part of the conversation? Was it, "Well done" or was it, "You gave how much?"

PAT RAFTER: I can't remember the conversation.


ANDREW DENTON: What was motivating this, because it was a very generous thing to do? As you said, since a kid you'd dreamed of it?

PAT RAFTER: Well, different stages of your life you go through different religious beliefs, I think. And I was brought up as a Catholic and had to go to church, not that I wanted to go. But as a young kid, we got dragged along with nine of us, with mum and dad, to church. There was a sense of I guess putting back or something, I wasn't quite sure because I remember always seeing my father putting money into the little box that used to go around and we had no money back then, and I just thought that that was what you had to do. And I still to this day. We've still got to give away to people who are less fortunate. I know it's a cliché, but there is a certain amount that we have to give back as well.


ANDREW DENTON: It's not a cliché. It's a philosophy. It's a good one.

PAT RAFTER: Philosophy. You're right.


ANDREW DENTON: Of course, winning a Grand Slam doesn't happen every day. You were on the circuit for 12 years, and, truth be told, it's often boring. I remember Jim Courier once opening a book in between sets, and you're travelling city to city seeing the same guys over and over and I think it's fair to say there's only so many times you can get excited about seeing, you know, Richard Krajicek once in any given year. What passed for fun on the circuit?

PAT RAFTER: It really started becoming hard. Not for those first few years, because you hadn't succeeded at what you set out to succeed, and that was winning a Grand Slam, winning Davis Cup, winning Wimbledon. These were the ones that you wanted to do. And after one of my first Grand Slams, it was great, but I wanted to see if I could do it again. That drove me to the next year, where I won '98 as well. But then there was also doing well at the Australian Open, doing well at Wimbledon. But not just doing well, you had to win 'em. I don't want to come second or third. It's not good enough.


ANDREW DENTON: It's rubbish, rubbish.

PAT RAFTER: But you know, you set your goals, you've got to keep re-setting your goals. And I was excited by that, but my last year on the tennis circuit, I knew I had 13 tournaments to go, and then there was 12 and I just counted them down. When I sort of got a bit injured, I thought, "You beauty, I've only got one left." So for six weeks I sat back and did nothing.


ANDREW DENTON: Right; so it was that strong a feeling by the end. You just wanted out.

PAT RAFTER: Oh mate, just had to get out.

strife726
05-03-2005, 11:25 AM
ANDREW DENTON: Despite being goal focused on these various tournaments, who were the players that made it fun for you on the circuit?

PAT RAFTER: Well, the first few years it wasn't about fun. It was about doing the job, and I dedicated my life to getting to that position of winning a Grand Slam or winning it. After that, after I'd won my first one, I then found weeks on the calendar in certain places that I could have fun, and then I'd call on a couple of mates, a mate from Adelaide, who I grew up playing with, and then a couple of guys on the tour who were doubles players. They were around the same sort of tournaments as well, and we decided to light up those towns we went into.


ANDREW DENTON: Is it true that you would also check yourself into hotels under ridiculous names?

PAT RAFTER: Mr Benny was my name.


ANDREW DENTON: Mr Benny?

PAT RAFTER: Mr Benny. After I won the first US Open, that's when I started becoming a bit more serious, and you'd get the occasional phone call at 12 o'clock at night or one in the morning from an Australian journalist, saying, "Now, what do you think about your first round match tomorrow against?" This is the US Open or something, you go, "How'd you get my number?" I was just so peeved off; that you had to go under different names, and there was a guy called Ben Harper, the musician, who I was very fond of, and I went under the name Mr Benny.


ANDREW DENTON: Mr Benny. That's better than Johnny Depp. He used to book in as Mr Donkey Penis.

PAT RAFTER: Well, I guess that makes it very amusing for the person that calls in.


ANDREW DENTON: That's right.

PAT RAFTER: You know, "Can I have Mr Donkey Penis?" I guess you've got to laugh about it, don't you?


ANDREW DENTON: If you ever do the seniors circuit, keep that name in mind.

PAT RAFTER: Right.


ANDREW DENTON: And remember who told you. You and your brother met the Pope once, didn't you?

PAT RAFTER: Oh, God. I was dreading this question. My wife said to me, last night, she said, "Now what are you actually going to say on this interview, you know. You got everything lined up?" And I said, "No." She said, "Well, you know, you can really hang yourself here, as the name suggests." I said, "Well, I don't know what questions he's going to ask me", but this question, you're about to - I know where you're going to lead with this. You know what was said, don't you?


ANDREW DENTON: Well, actually no, I don't.

PAT RAFTER: Okay.


ANDREW DENTON: And now you've hung yourself, so off you go.

PAT RAFTER: God dammit. Let's see. We met the Pope - I can't remember what year that was - '99 or 2000. We had to get in line and meet everyone. I'll tell you the story now - I've hung myself; you're right. But we were waiting in line, and I'm thinking what am I going to say here? What do you say? My brother went first, Peter, and he went through the other side, and then I went through, and I thought, "What do I say?" The man's not really looking at me, he was sort of down and I thought - this sounds really, really arrogant, but it wasn't meant to come across this way, but instead of asking for blessings for the rest of the family or whatever I just said, "Bless you." And I kept walking. I've walked out to see Pete, my brother, and I've gone, "Oh, Pete, I think I've just messed up. And, um, I don't know if he heard me. And Pete goes, "You're supposed to call him Your Holiness; I called him Your Honour." And I said, "Well, I just blessed the Pope."


ANDREW DENTON: That is such a great story.

PAT RAFTER: We then went on, ran out of there for the State of Origin match. We found the Ned Kelly Bar in a side street near the Vatican, and so we went in there and the game was on. So we turned on, and Gordon Tallis got sent off in that match by Bill Harrigan. My goodness, I had to go back and repent again, after that. So everything came out. It was a good day.


ANDREW DENTON: That's a wonderful story. Speaking of religious experiences, for one week in 1999 you were ranked number one in the world.

PAT RAFTER: It was around that time, yeah.


ANDREW DENTON: A connection. What was that week like?

PAT RAFTER: I was in Bermuda, having a rest after Wimbledon, I think. I'd lost in the semi-finals, and the LA Tournament was on, which I decided to miss and have a couple of weeks off before the big stretch through America again and Sampras had lost in the quarters, and Agassi, who was also around there, lost in the semis, and they had gone finals and winner the year before. And because we were all very, very close in the points, their ranking dropped off and I just sort of took over and I lasted one week, one week.


ANDREW DENTON: Was it a special week? Do things happen when you're number one?

PAT RAFTER: You get a crystal.


ANDREW DENTON: Yeah?

PAT RAFTER: A crystal vase, yes, saying I was number one. That was pretty cool.


ANDREW DENTON: That's good.

PAT RAFTER: Yeah, thanks. No, it was a good dream. You know, it was another thing that I remember on the tennis courts in Nambour on the Queensland Sunshine Coast, hitting up with my coach at the time, Gavin Yarrow, who really started me off at an early age, and we'd say jokes, you know, I guess they weren't really jokes. But he said, "You're going to be in the top 10 in the world. You're going to be number one in the world", and we'd try and hit balls over and it was all a laugh. I was 10 years old. And I listened and somehow that may sink deep into your mind and sets up a foundation for the rest of your life, and maybe it did for me.


ANDREW DENTON: That's a fantastic thing. I'm always curious about back-stager tennis, in the locker rooms, if there's a pecking order or an etiquette. I mean, does the guy ranked number one in the world get to use the guy ranked number 284 as a footstool or as a bike rack even? How does that work?

PAT RAFTER: I think there's a lot of - I remember coming through the ranks myself and there was a lot of admiration for those guys. You get in there and you're so intimidated, you know, you're sort of scared. "Do I say hello to him? If I do say hello to him, will he say hello to me back?" I remember, I think it was about '90 or '89, Yannick Noah was playing Ivan Lendl in the semi-finals of the Aussie Open, I think. And those two guys were in the locker room, and I don't know what in the hell I was doing there. But I was around and I saw Yannick sort of preparing. I said, "Good luck mate," and he said, "Yeah, thanks very much." And I thought, "He spoke to me." That was just great. It was a big thrill for me, you know, to have someone respond, which you don't always expect out of sportspeople or your peers.

strife726
05-03-2005, 11:26 AM
ANDREW DENTON: Who are the players you couldn't stomach on tour?

PAT RAFTER: Um, I had a bit of a problem with Rios. He was one guy you'd sort of - you'd be in an elevator of all places and say g'day to and he'd just look at you. And you sort of go, "Where did that come from?" So you sort of look the other way. It's a long, you know, 10 storeys up in an elevator. He was a strange cat.


ANDREW DENTON: Yeah.

PAT RAFTER: Sampras and I had our run-ins, but we'd always talk.


ANDREW DENTON: Yeah, because you did have a little bit of niggle happening there. What was that about?

PAT RAFTER: I just found in '97 I got Pete two or three times in that particular year, and then I won the US Open. And I think it was then - no, I didn't beat him in '97, maybe I didn't, but I won the US Open and he felt like I'd taken the title away from him or something. I've got no idea. And then he got his back up a little bit in that Davis Cup. We played him in a semi-final in Washington. I don't know what happened then. Then I wasn't afraid of him anymore, and so then I would sort of voice my opinion. In '98 I beat him in the finals of a tournament, a big tournament in America and he came in and smashed a few things around and...


ANDREW DENTON: Pete smashed things?

PAT RAFTER: He smashed a lot in the locker room. Yeah, he lost it. Then he said something in an interview, and I just said, "Oh, he's just a big baby. Just cop it on the chin" or something like that. And I beat him in the US Open later on in the semi-finals. He said, "I had a sore knee." I said, "Oh, when is this guy going to give me any credit for beating him?" And then the media sort of went on that, and then played it up and took a few misquotes out of the ordinary. I rang him up once, when there was something totally wrong was said, and I just said, "Pete, listen, that wasn't what I said."


ANDREW DENTON: I did not say that you caused the invasion of Poland. When you say you rang him up, I would imagine that's not a regular thing to do. Was that a hard thing for you to do?

PAT RAFTER: Yeah, it was a little bit, because he would have heard what was said, not really what was said, but what was taken completely out of context. I didn't want to face him knowing that, you know, he was really going to dislike me and I don't like people disliking me. It's going to happen, but if I can avoid it I will.


ANDREW DENTON: So how was the conversation? Was it awkward?

PAT RAFTER: I just rang him up and said, "G'day, Pete. It's Pat here." And he just said, "Pat who?"


ANDREW DENTON: You said "Benatar".

PAT RAFTER: No, no, didn't go like that. We just sort of had a bit of a chat and he just said, "No worries, mate." Oh, not "no worries, mate", but whatever he was saying.


ANDREW DENTON: He said, "I've got a sore knee; get off the phone."

PAT RAFTER: Something along those lines.

strife726
05-03-2005, 11:31 AM
ANDREW DENTON: Another player who you had fluctuating fortunes with was the Poo, Mark Philippoussis. Do you feel for Mark when you look at him now, that sort of hell of having potential unfulfilled?

PAT RAFTER: Yes and no. You know, listen, I think it's hard. I don't really know his background and what drives him and what his family background is. Does that affect his life or not? But, and then the other way I've seen the way he trains, you know, and he should be a lot better than what he was. He just didn't work, simple as that. He had an amazing talent. I think he definitely could have been number one in the world, could have won a handful of grand slams. He was big and strong and powerful and had every shot, but just lacked that intensity and will to win.


ANDREW DENTON: You say he didn't work. I mean, you worked really, really hard to get to where you were and your family worked really hard to get to where you were. That's what I meant about do you feel for him that this is a man that hasn't been able to...

PAT RAFTER: Yeah, in that sense I do. I don't feel for him, I mean, in that sense. Let me go back. I know what work it takes to get there. As much talent as Mark had, you still need to work hard, and he didn't do it. So he's not going to get the results. So you don't feel for him for that because he had an opportunity and he wasted it. But on the other side of it, the mental side of it, I don't know what drives him or what makes him tick and why - and maybe there was something, you know, that he had in his mind that he wasn't going to work hard, that stopped him from working hard, and so it's hard to really sit back and judge people when you don't really know exactly everything there is about them. But we had our run-ins because - a few times over Davis Cup issues. He said he was coming or he would go and we'd train. He'd walk off after half an hour and we'd all be there for four hours just training our hardest and thinking what's all this about? We're a team here; we've got to play together. I started getting a little bit upset with that because I thought there were other players that were willing to play.


ANDREW DENTON: Just before we move on from the Poo, do you think his - I shouldn't call him the Poo. It's terrible - good on HG and Roy. Do you think he's finished as a big-time player?

PAT RAFTER: Very hard for him to come back, yeah. He may have one little shot at it, but I can't see him getting back, you know, within that top 4, 5. I don't know if he ever got there anyway, but he would have been very, very close there at one stage. Top 20, maybe. But he's got to - it may be his last chance right now. And he's got to have no injuries and he's got to work real hard and that hard work doesn't show up for three to six months either. So don't expect big things from him.


ANDREW DENTON: Okay. Can we do the "whoo"? Can we do this again, please? "Whoo"

PAT RAFTER: "Whoo"


ANDREW DENTON: I'm going to take you back to Wimbledon 2000, which was the one against Pete. We've got a bit of footage of that here.

PAT RAFTER: Great.

(VIDEO PLAYS)

(VIDEO ENDS)


ANDREW DENTON: Now, that was the entire game. It was the shortest Grand Slam ever, at just one shot. Before you go on to an event like that, a Wimbledon final, in the dressing room are you aware that this is a world event? Do you have that sense of it?

PAT RAFTER: Not really, I mean, sort of one per cent of your mind might know it's on, but that's not about. You have to focus on what you have to do.


ANDREW DENTON: Yeah.

PAT RAFTER: You don't get distracted about who's watching. It takes you a while sometimes to settle into matches. But before the match itself, in that particular match, because it was very, very dark, and I probably should have stopped. But it was inevitable the result, so we kept going in the end. But there was a big rain delay, probably for five or six hours. So you just go into a room and you don't know whether to fall asleep or try and concentrate on the match.


ANDREW DENTON: Is Pete around? Are you in the same room at this point?

PAT RAFTER: I remember that match, we were actually downstairs in a private room and he was down there, too, and, yeah, we had a bit of a chat.


ANDREW DENTON: Yeah.

PAT RAFTER: But we weren't talking about our tactics for the match, no.


ANDREW DENTON: Is that right? You weren't trying to psyche him out, do the Rios thing, just look away.

PAT RAFTER: One thing with Pete, you didn't really want to upset him too much, either.


ANDREW DENTON: Why's that?

PAT RAFTER: Because then you just gave him more ammunition for him to beat you.


ANDREW DENTON: Is that right?

PAT RAFTER: Yeah, see, and unfortunately I did that a couple of times.


ANDREW DENTON: Because you said after that game that you felt you choked.

PAT RAFTER: Oh, definitely.


ANDREW DENTON: Is there a sense when you're aware of your nerves that the world's spinning out of control?

PAT RAFTER: It's very hard to stop your feelings at that particular time. You can't control, you can't get it under - you know, you try breathing, you try to, but you just don't have the time, anyway. You've only got 15 seconds or whatever to get your things together and get out and play that next point. It just happens very, very quickly and, like that, it was, you know, 4-3-5-4, and he's won it.


ANDREW DENTON: Because you would have trained for that all your life, having the mental toughness to deal with the moment.

PAT RAFTER: Yeah, but each occasion and each match is different. And I'd come back from shoulder surgery and I hadn't played a lot of tennis going into there, so for me to be thrown straight into the finals of a Wimbledon, I mean, I didn't know how long I was even going to play for. Could I get back to even playing well again after the surgery? So it was like I was just so excited to be there, and so I walked away from that Wimbledon feeling that was a good result; yeah, I lost, I choked, but that's okay. And then after the second Wimbledon when I lost to Goran, I came away bitterly, bitterly disappointed, just shattered.


ANDREW DENTON: Because you thought you were going to win that one, didn't you?

PAT RAFTER: Yeah, I did. I did. Even to the last point I still thought I was going to win, and I was very, very close there again. I had love-30 on his serve to two points away from the match. He came up with a couple of amazing serves. And the one thing about Goran, which is good, you don't have time to choke. This guy just hits it. He doesn't know where the ball's going, so how are you going to know? You're sort of going - so but that one really hurt and I stayed in the house for about a week after that; didn't want to go and face anyone; didn't want to talk about it.


ANDREW DENTON: You talk about his serve, which was I think clocked at 820,000 km an hour. Did you ever get hit by one of his serves? What did that feel like?

PAT RAFTER: No.


ANDREW DENTON: Just as well, or you wouldn't be sitting here right now.

PAT RAFTER: No, but I remember talking about getting hit by serves, I remember playing doubles with Mark Philippoussis and we were playing against a couple of guys, Guy Forget and a guy called Jacob Lasic from Switzerland. And we were playing at Wimbledon on a back court and Mark was popping them down, and I said to Mark, "All right, let's do a body serve." And he's gone straight at them, and they've turned their back and hit them in the back, you know, and they've given up and given an awful look, and "stop doing that sort of thing", and Mark goes, "Now where should I serve now?" And I said, "Go up the body again." And this happened and I just kept saying "body" to him - and I was, and these guys were getting so irate, and it was just great to see these guys get so mad. I just kept fuelling the fire.


ANDREW DENTON: Because I was about to say you always had a reputation as a nice guy and in fact you - you got I think four times you got the ATP sportsmanship award. The other players obviously thought you were a nice guy, but was it overrated? When were you a *******?

PAT RAFTER: The only real guy I had a run in was a guy called Jeff Tarango on the actual court itself. We had a few run-ins and he went out of his way to, um, to sort of wind things up. He thought he was going to be the next John McEnroe, but he just couldn't play tennis very well. He could play it OK, just enough to annoy you.


ANDREW DENTON: Yeah.

PAT RAFTER: But no generally, I mean, I tried to play the game as fairly as I could and I think what turned that whole thing around or started giving me the awards was a point that I gave back to a guy in Adelaide on a very, very big occasion in a tournament there, which obviously you don't normally do, but it was just so far out and I conceded that I'd lost the point, and they called it in and I went back to serve and they've gone 9-8 Rafter in the tie-break, and I've just gone, "oh, I can't accept that". So and then everyone thought I was this nice guy.


ANDREW DENTON: Who won that game?

PAT RAFTER: I think I double faulted the next point and lost. And that was exactly what Rochey did.


ANDREW DENTON: Is that right?

PAT RAFTER: He was he was very disappointed. "What were you doing?" I said, "Well, I don't know, a weak moment."

strife726
05-03-2005, 11:32 AM
ANDREW DENTON: It's interesting 'cos a few years ago you said you've been watching Lleyton Hewitt playing. You said "I couldn't remain that intense for more than two weeks." Do you reckon you had enough mongrel in you?

PAT RAFTER: Yeah, I think so. People always said to me growing up "You've got to be a mongrel, you've got to be this, you've got to be that. You've got to be hard, you got to be like McEnroe" and sort of stuff everyone else. But that wasn't really my philosophy. I thought you could play the game and hold your head high and do your best and you could win that way... I think I would have cramped after two minutes if I did what Lleyton does. So, ah, no, Lleyton has an amazing amount of in intensity and that's how he needs to get himself up to win matches and that's what works for him. But for me, I sort of needed to pace myself but when certain moments called for it, I definitely got fired up.


ANDREW DENTON: After that second Wimbledon final against Goran, your dad made what I think was one of the great speeches in Australian sport. It was very short. He said "We're proud of Pat's achievements, but we're more proud of him as a man. The way he handles defeat I think makes him a great man." What did that mean to you?

PAT RAFTER: Ah well, it's obviously very...makes you very proud. I think we always try not to upset our parents, or we're always trying to be our best for our family, and you never try to do anything that disgraces your family. And that's just one thing where you think well, yeah, I've made my mum and dad really happy. You know, a lot of that comes from the way I got brought up and the way my father is. That's just the way he is, and I remember getting dragged off once or twice by him, tennis match.


ANDREW DENTON: Yeah, what was that for?

PAT RAFTER: Oh being a brat.


ANDREW DENTON: Yeah?

PAT RAFTER: Yeah, as a kid. I used to throw my racquet all over the fence and hit balls everywhere. I mean, I was - I was, I don't know what I was doing but I wanted to win very badly.


ANDREW DENTON: And he just hauled you off.

PAT RAFTER: Once he got me by the scruff of the neck and pulled me off and said, "We're going home".


ANDREW DENTON: In the middle of a game?

PAT RAFTER: Mm.


ANDREW DENTON: Wow.

PAT RAFTER: It was embarrassing.


ANDREW DENTON: Yeah.

PAT RAFTER: I was 19.


ANDREW DENTON: Having that background, having that family background, being brought up that way, do you feel comfortable when you watch Lleyton and his carry on?

PAT RAFTER: I don't necessarily agree with everything he does, but, you know, that's him and that's his personality and that's what works for him, and Lleyton's a completely different cat when you get him off the court.


ANDREW DENTON: Yeah.

PAT RAFTER: He's very shy; he's quiet, he's polite and when he gets on the court he fires up and that's what makes him perform. That's what he needs to do.


ANDREW DENTON: You were seeded seventh of nine children, ah I think that's the correct terminology isn't it?

PAT RAFTER: Yeah.


ANDREW DENTON: Which means there's 11 in your family. What are like when you all get together?

PAT RAFTER: Well, we don't get together that much anymore, because, you know, obviously we've got families of our own or all over the place, but when we were kids there was a lot of fighting. And now it's just great to see each other and whether we play golf with some of the brothers or go for a surf with a couple of the other brothers 'cos we're all doing different things. And the girls are, oh, they're great cooks actually, really great.


ANDREW DENTON: The boys aren't good cooks?

PAT RAFTER: Oh, we chose not to. Yeah. We chose to do the outside work.


ANDREW DENTON: Is that right?

PAT RAFTER: No, we have we have great get togethers and generally that comes around Christmas time.


ANDREW DENTON: To be number one in your sport and any sport, you've got to be obsessive. You've said this. How did your family help you with that obsession?

PAT RAFTER: Well, uh with a lot of sporting careers, you have to start doing it when you're younger, and one of the biggest sacrifices my family did was let my mother travel with me. And there was another stage, you know, where you came from nine kids. We always did, we always abused the other one or said little niggly things to put the other person down, and we had to change that whole way of thinking. My parents would say "OK, now we've got to start being a bit more positive and stop calling Pat that or what that", you know, so there was a whole shuffle in our mindset as well, when I was round about the 15 years, sort of 15.


ANDREW DENTON: To support you and your career.

PAT RAFTER: Yeah.


ANDREW DENTON: That's a hard thing to do, because it's a natural thing for brothers and sisters to trash each other.

PAT RAFTER: It really is, and ah --


ANDREW DENTON: Was there resentment there?

PAT RAFTER: No, I don't think resentment's really the word. They used to call me the Golden Child there for a little while or maybe there was a bit of resentment there. No, but they were very supportive and I don't think they would do any - they wouldn't have it any other way as far as I'm aware.


ANDREW DENTON: Because they all basically became Team Rafter, didn't they, in one way or another? They all pitched in.

PAT RAFTER: Yeah, I think there was - they all had to do their part. But it was mainly I think that, you know, not having, you know, mum really there at the time when they were going through high school and all those really tough years. Mum would always, you know, be there for a lot of it, but obviously I was doing school as well, but there was certain times when they needed mum. Mum wasn't there.


ANDREW DENTON: And as you became more successful, there were times where the family also pulled you back into line, didn't they? Where they thought you've changed?

PAT RAFTER: I was good in '94. Should have just asked me then. I got to 20 in the world and I came home and they just beat me down.


ANDREW DENTON: Yeah.

PAT RAFTER: And said you're just far too cocky for where you're at. And they were true. It was true, and you start losing a bit of a sense of reality of what you're doing and where you're going and that was really important for them, you know. I was losing my way a little bit, and I thought I'd made it and I was going around, and that was just going through a different stage in my life. I was trying to deal with what was coming my way and success.


ANDREW DENTON: The first reaction, generally, when somebody, even your family, says that to you, the ego kicks in. You don't want to hear it. Was it a hard thing to hear?

PAT RAFTER: Yeah, it was. Yeah, it was. Didn't take long though. I reckon it only took a couple of weeks of being at home before I was back to sort of abusing everyone, them abusing me again, and that's exactly what I needed to get home and get a lot of that, 'cos I'd been on the road away from it, and people telling you you're going to do this, you're going be this, you're going to be that. And I think a little bit of that's good, obviously not too much. You don't want to knock someone's self-esteem around too much, but a little bit of it was good.

strife726
05-03-2005, 11:33 AM
ANDREW DENTON: In the early days, you used to travel with your brother Jeff, who was a pretty fair tennis player and then he came to the realisation as the family did, that you had the real shot at it, even though you were both on the circuit, and the...

PAT RAFTER: Yeah, yeah. Jeff sort of stalled with his tennis career a little bit. Ah, he went and did acupuncture and he finished his degree in acupuncture and then he thought, well, I may as well go play some tennis again. And, ah, so we trained for a couple of years and we travelled for a few years and then he coached me for quite a while.


ANDREW DENTON: You'd actually - it was tough though travelling, wasn't it? You'd share a bed sometimes. There was very little...

PAT RAFTER: Oh yeah, we have some great memories though. It was, ah, some of the places you'd stay. We had some really good times. But Jeff and I had a personality clash as well. And it'd be little things like, I'd say "Jeff, can you go get my tennis racquets, you know, from the stringer, to pick up?" And he'd go "Get it yourself", yeah. I've got to go on for a match and I don't want to go and face all that crowd. He'd go, "I don't care, just go and get them yourself." And that was, you know, like a brother thing. And it was - and he was - that's just the way Jeff is.


ANDREW DENTON: Yeah.

PAT RAFTER: But in my sort of line of work I needed sort of someone to listen to me and sort of take my abuse 'cos, um, my abuse 'cos I was pretty intense, when I - especially when I got around Grand Slams. I just went into my little mindset and, ah, I was very short and grumpy and I had a couple and my brother Peter then came on board who would go and get my tennis racquets, and, ah, and we had a really good relationship together. But, you know, that's nothing away from Jeff. I mean, Jeff was exactly right, but in that line of work, I sort of needed someone to help me out a bit more.


ANDREW DENTON: How hard was it to be the centre of your family's expectations?

PAT RAFTER: It was hard sometimes, because you didn't want upset one other person because at the end of the day Mum loved and Dad loved everyone equally. It wasn't as if I was the one, the stand out. So when I hurt Jeff I hurt my family and I hurt my mother and father, really. The hardest thing I've probably ever done in my life, and, you know, breaking up with a girlfriend or anything, was dealing with Jeff and I went into his room where we were staying and I just said "Mate, listen, I don't think we're right together. We can't work together" and we just had a really good cry together and lot of hugs, and he said, "Yeah, I understand." And then it really, really hurt Jeff as well. But then I knew I'd made the right decision because Jeff and I just clashed too much, and when we went on the court, we'd fight and that's not what I needed. I needed someone who sort of understood what I needed, and, listen, it was a very, very selfish thing to do but to be where you have to go you have to be selfish. Ah and you have to dedicate your life to that.


ANDREW DENTON: What don't you miss?

PAT RAFTER: Oh travel, uh the commitment to the sport again. Waking up every morning and taking half an hour to roll out of bed 'cos I was just so sore. Ah, and I started not to enjoy the competition as well.


ANDREW DENTON: Yeah?

PAT RAFTER: Started to get really nervous before matches and not enjoy going out on the court and hear people say "Come on, Pat", and you know "You're losing this match", and I just oh no, it's killing me. And that type of thing. I didn't enjoy.


ANDREW DENTON: Is it a good feeling to be free of the expectations?

PAT RAFTER: Um, 90 per cent, yes. I think there's 10 per cent where you want to put yourself in that situation where you can win a Davis Cup or a Grand Slam again, and they're exciting times. You know, 'cos you have the opportunity obviously of winning, but predominantly no. I really don't miss much of it at all.


ANDREW DENTON: Is life away from tennis, normal life what you expected?

PAT RAFTER: I thought I'd probably go get a job. I don't know what I was going to do, but I was going to...


ANDREW DENTON: What were you thinking?

PAT RAFTER: I've got no...


ANDREW DENTON: Like Spinal Tap you were going to sell shoes.

PAT RAFTER: I just didn't know. I just - all I wanted was a - wanted was a normal life, and I wanted to go down with my mates to the pub on a Friday night and have a couple of beers and have a steak and then take the kids to school and do all that sort of thing, and I really haven't found my feet just yet. But that will happen. And I don't want to dive into anything, because when I do dive into something I just go so damn hard at it, that, you know, I block sort of a lot of things out. I just can't help myself. And so this time I'm just - I just want to keep my core. I keep saying it, but it is true, the family thing. I got a new baby coming; I want to be there to see this baby grow up as well, 'cos my boy right now knows me as well as his mummy.


ANDREW DENTON: Is it a fine balance for you between wanting to - being very clear about investing that time in your children, but also moving on to something else, not leaving it too long?

PAT RAFTER: Yeah, but at the same time, I still probably have another two year at least commitment to my family where we're going to do a bit of travelling together and maybe live in another part of the world to give them the cultural experience as well, and I think that will be a lot of fun for Lara and myself as well.


ANDREW DENTON: Where do you think that might be?

PAT RAFTER: Ah, probably France, south of France somewhere. Just give a - just throw a whole new thing at them. See how they go.


ANDREW DENTON: Yeah? Be great.

PAT RAFTER: Yeah, I think it'd be great, be good fun, and again we're very lucky to have that opportunity.


ANDREW DENTON: You've put money into and you've established the Cherish the Children Foundation. You've seen lots of kids in different situations. How has that informed you as a father with Joshua?

PAT RAFTER: Well, the one thing I can't wait to do actually when Josh gets a couple of years older, is to take him to see these kids as well, take him to do some charity work. And it'll be good for me as well, 'cos, you know, I do a little bit but I could do a lot more. Because he's getting brought up in an environment that he has everything, whenever he wants. He's got his parents on tap; he's got - he's going to be, you know, well supported financially, and we don't want him to be spoilt and lose perspective on life, which would be very easy for us to create for him. So I think it's going to be great for him and to see all - what the actual world is all about and not be in this little nutshell.


ANDREW DENTON: It seems to me from what I'm hearing, while you want to put something back into tennis, there's more you want to do with your life even if you don't know what it is. Is it a fair summation of you to say that somewhere in your life you're going to invest your heart, not just your abilities into something which is for the greater good?

PAT RAFTER: Well I hope so. But I think we're running out of time as well, I think environmentally it's been a really passionate thing of mine as well. And that's another thing why I sort of walked away from tennis as well, because I thought what am I doing travelling around the world playing tennis matches getting all caught up in am I going to win Wimbledon this year or am I not? When there are so many other bigger things in the world going on. Well, not just the world, in life. Life's not about playing tennis.


ANDREW DENTON: I think a lot of people would actually empathise with what you're saying. In the end though, you have opportunity, you have time to look, you have time to think. So the question is, when do you commit?

PAT RAFTER: Well, it's a good question, but at this stage, I think it's I really just want to be there for family thing and see what happens with that. But, ah, I am willing to get involved in the cause of what's good for our kids when they get older, because we want to see the world that we've had as well, for our children. That's what I'd like to see anyway.


ANDREW DENTON: Well, I'm sure that when you do, you'll do it wholeheartedly, and you have another baby coming and may it be a lovely one. Thank you, Pat.

PAT RAFTER: Thank you, Andrew.

raftermania
05-03-2005, 03:34 PM
Wow! Longer than I expected, was this a 1 hour sit down show or something? Thanks for the transcript, but I'm way to tired from work to read it now I'm sure I'll come back tomorrow.

Tenny
05-21-2005, 08:10 PM
Wow, thanks strife726. This is great. Rafter, along with Edberg, is my tennis idol. Donating half of prize money...I am not sure if I can do that myself. Thanks again.

Polaris
05-21-2005, 11:06 PM
Thanks for the interview transcript strife726. I really enjoyed reading it. Rafter comes across as a very level-headed person.

Defcon
05-22-2005, 09:53 AM
Thanks for posting that, strife726. Rafter has always been one of my favorite players, as much for his tennis as his personality. I wish I had seen more of his matches. The 2 Wimby semi's in which he beat Agassi are IMO some of the greatest grass court matches, a pure pbaseliner and a pure SV'er at the top of their games, full of tension, both 5 sets, with SV winning out, as it should on grass!

Tenny
05-22-2005, 02:24 PM
Thanks for posting that, strife726. Rafter has always been one of my favorite players, as much for his tennis as his personality. I wish I had seen more of his matches. The 2 Wimby semi's in which he beat Agassi are IMO some of the greatest grass court matches, a pure pbaseliner and a pure SV'er at the top of their games, full of tension, both 5 sets, with SV winning out, as it should on grass!

Defcon,

How those two wimby semi finals compare? I could find only 2000 SF wimbledon official video at TW. Tennis magazine listed 2001 SF as one of the 10 greatest matches of open era. I am not trying to find out which is better. I am just curious how was that 2001 SF between Rafter and AA. Thanks.

raftermania
05-22-2005, 06:16 PM
If I'm not mistaken, the 2001 semi had more drama. Notably, between Agassi and some select linesman(woman).

Out of vengence he nearly lopped a linesman's head off with an intentionally errant serve.

He got caught by a lineswoman for swearing on the pure courts of wimbledon.

He smoked a ball in direction of said lineswoman!

GREAT MATCH! Make sure you get the chance to catch that one Tenny.

Tenny
05-22-2005, 09:00 PM
If I'm not mistaken, the 2001 semi had more drama. Notably, between Agassi and some select linesman(woman). Out of vengence he nearly lopped a linesman's head off with an intentionally errant serve. He got caught by a lineswoman for swearing on the pure courts of wimbledon. He smoked a ball in direction of said lineswoman! GREAT MATCH! Make sure you get the chance to catch that one Tenny.

Yeah, Tenny tried...
I bought a DVD of the match based on the 10 greatest matches of Open era(tennis magazine) from AL. It was listed as '2001 wimby SF (and there is still no 2000 SF match listed). But I got the 2000 match. Still very good match so it's OK. I informed the seller so that he could correct it but he didn't seem to be interested, he he. Anyway, Rafter was using red-ish Response. I believe he used white warrior for the 2001 match.

BTW, Raftmania, what was that he put on his nose/cheekbone? I guess it's UV cream. If he used more colorful substance, he would have looked even better, um like a real indian warrior or a samurai. Very likeable man indeed.

raftermania
05-22-2005, 09:35 PM
Yup, just a sort of cream for the sun. But, it definitely added to his image of a serve/volley warrior. Too bad about the dvd mix-up there. Yeah he uses the Prince TT Warrior paintjob in the 2001 match.

Yours!05
05-22-2005, 09:49 PM
BTW, Raftmania, what was that he put on his nose/cheekbone? I guess it's UV cream. If he used more colorful substance, he would have looked even better, um like a real indian warrior or a samurai. Very likeable man indeed.
Not UV, ZINC creme. Complete block-out. Used by most sports people in Australia, and many other people as well.
Back then, it only came in pink or white.
Probably not much used in Canada, or northern US. Or Tennisia-69.

raftermania
05-22-2005, 11:40 PM
hahha NOPE, tennisia-69??? :)

Yours!05
05-23-2005, 12:10 AM
Tenny
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laurie
05-23-2005, 01:47 AM
The Rafter v Agassi semifinal was something else! Those two had amazing battles all over the world. The semi at the Aus Open in 2001 was also an incredible 5 setter.

For me thats what tennis is all about. The attacker vs the baseliner at the very highest levels of the game.

But also Wimbledon 2001 has to go down as the greatest tournament in recennt history!! Think of all the amazing five setters in one tournament:

Hewitt v Dent
Sampras v Cowan
Henman v Todd Martin
Federer v Sampras
Rafter v Agassi
Goran v Henman
Goran v Rafter

There was excitement to burn that year.

And the women also played a great tournament.

I also enjoyed Rafter Sampras battles. Because of a bit of needle they always played at an incredibly high level. Rafter was a great player.

raftermania
05-23-2005, 11:21 AM
Tenny
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ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh