Patrick Rafter's weakness

Break To Win

Semi-Pro
I think he was one of the best volleyers in the history of this sport. It was a pleasure to see Rafter playing.

But I think the biggest weakness in his game meant he didn't take bigger steps in his career. It's a shame he didn't win Wimbledon.

But his weak point was his serve, he wasn't a Big Server like Sampras, Becker, Ivanisevic.

They also said he had a physical problem, I can't say exactly.

Anyway, he had a great career, 11 titles, 2 Grand Slams, I think he participated in Australia, winning the Davis Cup.
 

Mazz Retic

Hall of Fame
I am a big fan of Rafter. I know people were happy that Goran got his Wimbledon and he certainly earned it, it just would have also been nice if Rafter had his moment too. But you’re right he did win 2 USO which is no small feat and was part of that classic final.
 

jrepac

Hall of Fame
Sure he wasn't a "big" server but he had an excellent kick serve. If Edberg could win Wimbledon, overcoming Becker no less, Rafter could have.

If you're going to pick out anything as a weakness in his play, shouldn't it be the ground game?
I agree with your assessment. Really liked Pat and was bummed he couldn't break through at W.
 

McLovin

Legend
But his weak point was his serve
Could not disagree more. While his serve wasn't 'huge', it was well disguised, and he rarely hit the same serve twice in a game. He would kick it out wide, twist up the middle, slice, and on occasion, flatten it out.

But most importantly, it was designed for a specific purpose: to allow him to get in as close to the net as possible. People often forget that the faster your serve, the quicker it comes back at you. It's much easier hitting your 1st volley inside the service box than it is 1-2 ft behind it. Similarly, his groundstrokes were setup to allow his to get into the net. He wasn't going to bash balls from the baseline. He was going to try to keep himself in the point until he could chip & charge.

I think like a few others have said, his weakness was his body breaking down on him. Serve & volley tennis is not easy on the body, especially w/ so many hardcourt tournaments.
 

HBK4life

Hall of Fame
I think he was one of the best volleyers in the history of this sport. It was a pleasure to see Rafter playing.

But I think the biggest weakness in his game meant he didn't take bigger steps in his career. It's a shame he didn't win Wimbledon.

But his weak point was his serve, he wasn't a Big Server like Sampras, Becker, Ivanisevic.

They also said he had a physical problem, I can't say exactly.

Anyway, he had a great career, 11 titles, 2 Grand Slams, I think he participated in Australia, winning the Davis Cup.
I don’t think you win two US opens serving and volleying if your serve is a weakness.
 

TheRed

Hall of Fame
Could not disagree more. While his serve wasn't 'huge', it was well disguised, and he rarely hit the same serve twice in a game. He would kick it out wide, twist up the middle, slice, and on occasion, flatten it out.

But most importantly, it was designed for a specific purpose: to allow him to get in as close to the net as possible. People often forget that the faster your serve, the quicker it comes back at you. It's much easier hitting your 1st volley inside the service box than it is 1-2 ft behind it. Similarly, his groundstrokes were setup to allow his to get into the net. He wasn't going to bash balls from the baseline. He was going to try to keep himself in the point until he could chip & charge.

I think like a few others have said, his weakness was his body breaking down on him. Serve & volley tennis is not easy on the body, especially w/ so many hardcourt tournaments.
I happen to think his serve was as big as any serve and volleyer could have had without sacrificing time to get to the net. He hit kick serves that were consistently 10-20 mpg faster than Edberg's. Any faster of a serve and he would've been hitting flatter and it would've robbed him of time to get to the net.
Of course people can point to Sampras but Sampras was more of a server who used his volleys to put away returns that came back but Sampras was never in the mood to grind things out at the net. Rafter was the opposite. He served to set up his volleys. Anytime the serve became a winner, it was just a bonus.
But to answer the original question, I feel Rafter's groundstrokes were his biggest weakness. People point to his BH but his forehand wasn't anything amazing either. Neither side was consistent nor particularly huge but he covered up his groundstrokes a bit but pulling the trigger very quickly, either by going for winners or rushing the net whether the opportunity presented itself or not. Edberg, was far more willing to hang from the baseline and wait for the right shot to come in. Even Edberg's forehand, his "weakness," was generally consistent but it just lacked depth and big pace.
 
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I was a big fan of his and while he had a couple of weaknesses (return, ground game) his serve wasn’t one of them. Actually I think his serve was his second best shot after his volley. He had that nasty kicker on the second, made the top ten of service games won % from 96-01 and also had a couple of matches where he hit a good number of aces (30 and 22 against Agassi in their 2001 matches at Wimbledon and the AO).
 

BeatlesFan

Bionic Poster
Rafter had the perfect serve for his net rushing style, just as Edberg did. It was very effective and not designed to ace his opponent, just get a weak return and easy volley. His weakness was his BH; it was a good shot but not oustanding.

He was a wonderful guy with a great sense of fair play. I wish Rafter was 19 years old again and coming onto the tour.
 
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