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Steve Hirsen
07-14-2005, 08:29 AM
I was privileged to see Patrick Rafter play the other night in Newport Beach as a member of the Philadelphia Freedoms. I noticed he wasn't using his old Prince Warrior or the Prince Ti Response (the "real" Rafter racquet). He was using a red Dunlop which thanks to some sharp posters in the pro gear section I learned is called the "Volley Graphite Rafter." Seemingly a light stick, not a player racquet at all. I assume he weighted it up, but if not just goes to show how a good player can play with anything. And as fun as it is to watch, the big pressure is not there for WTT tennis. Pat looked really good at times, just like the Rafter we all remember from the US Open and Wimbledon. He clearly was having a good time and won doubles with a fellow Aussie, a journeyman doubles specialist named Josh Eagle. He ended the evening with singles against Ramon Delgado, a player from Paraguay, who I believe is in the top 100. Surprisingly Pat proceeded to lose 13 straight points, losing his serve at love and smiling as Delgado just ripped perfect passing shots for winners. When Rafter finally won a point, he threw his arms up in the air to an ovation from the crowd. He then buckled down as Delgado cooled off a bit and the next few games were very competitive with the server holding. Pat was clearly a bit out of shape, breathing a bit hard and going to the towel between almost every point, even playing around with the very young ball kid who had towel duty. It was in these games that the Rafter of old was seen. It was a pleasure to watch. Followed both serves to net and chipped and charged on Delgado's serve at every opportunity. Still (arguably) the best serve/volley game ever. Both players held from that point on and Rafter had to hold the last game for the team to win the match, which he did. At one point in the match he threw up his toss and caught it and said his well known "sorry, mate" and the crowd cheered wildly. He stayed until every kid's autograph was signed and for pictures with the parents and other adults. A true class act as always. He is missed.

Babblelot
07-14-2005, 09:45 AM
Good to hear!

You're a lucky man, Steve. I had the good fortune of seeing Rafter during his dominant 1997 HC run that ended with his first US Open title. I actually got to see him take out Agassi under the lights in the Open's premier match--QFs.

Rafter's my second all-time favorite player, only behind Johnny Mac.

RafaN RichardG
07-14-2005, 01:06 PM
i get to watch him 2nite! in Delaware
if i can get some pics, ill post em

Phil Daddario
07-14-2005, 01:09 PM
God, I love Rafter. He wasn't in my "top 3 players of all time list", only because he was tied for third. Great talent.

RafaN, tell me how he looks.

If only he played longer.

golden chicken
07-14-2005, 01:16 PM
i get to watch him 2nite! in Delaware
if i can get some pics, ill post em

hm, he must be more superhuman than we all thought because i'm going to see him play tonight in boston!

p.s. i'm bringing my cam with its 10x zoom and quicktime movie ability so hopefully i'll get some good shots for everyone

RafaN RichardG
07-14-2005, 01:18 PM
i know i was like wf, how is he in boston when hes supposed to be in delaware, however theyre close so maybe hes doing both?
i have no clue, but doesnt he play for a team called newport beach?

lemme check the tickets, it moght be another day that i have them

RafaN RichardG
07-14-2005, 01:28 PM
nvm its on the 19th in philly, im bummed now- at least i get to see venus on wednesday next week

golden chicken
07-14-2005, 01:45 PM
lol 3 years ago i drove from Boston to DelMarVa in 8 hours, so it can be done!

eLterrible
07-14-2005, 02:50 PM
Babblelot, you have the greatest avatar on the entire forums. Congradulations it's so awesome

Steve Hirsen
07-14-2005, 03:35 PM
Rafter plays for the Philadelphia Freedoms. They were the visitors against the Newport Beach Breakers when I saw him play.

basil J
07-15-2005, 07:11 AM
I started playing tennis because I watched a live Rafter match back in 1998. I always thought that tennis was a boring baseline mindless game. Having been a lifelong hockey player, tennis did not have much appeal to me. Some of my buddies played at the 4.0 level and always tried to get me out on the court, but I never had interest. After I saw Rafter play, I think he was playing Wayne Ferrera, I was visiting a friend in CA, I was stunned and taken by the pure athletisisim I had witnessed. I did not realize Tennis could be played so athletically and with such grace. I am of course now a tennis addict and have not put my skates back on in 5 years. I never got another chance to see him live, but I truly miss his game and persona. Always a class act!

Babblelot
07-15-2005, 07:25 AM
Babblelot, you have the greatest avatar on the entire forums. Congradulations it's so awesome

I gotta have more cowbell, baby!

:p :p :p

golden chicken
07-15-2005, 08:36 AM
I started playing tennis because I watched a live Rafter match back in 1998. I always thought that tennis was a boring baseline mindless game. Having been a lifelong hockey player, tennis did not have much appeal to me. Some of my buddies played at the 4.0 level and always tried to get me out on the court, but I never had interest. After I saw Rafter play, I think he was playing Wayne Ferrera, I was visiting a friend in CA, I was tunned and taken by the pure athletisisim I had witnessed. I did not realize Tennis could be played so athletically and with such grace. I am of course now a tennis addict and have not put my skates back on in 5 years. I never got another chance to see him live, but I truly miss his game and persona. Always a class act!

agreed. his athleticism, touch, and sportsmanship showed even last night in WTT

eLterrible
07-15-2005, 08:54 AM
I gotta have more cowbell, baby!

:p :p :p

haha don't mean to be THAT off topic, but i have the "I got a fever and the only perscription is: MORE COWBELL" shirt.