Re: Pat "The Champ" Cheering thread!
Pat Rafter 12-01-14
Q. So why? How did it all come about?
PAT RAFTER: You have to ask Lleyton that (laughter).
Okay, I don't know. Lleyton wanted to play maybe another match here. Just depends on how he goes in singles. You know, if he played with Gooch or someone like that, he had a tough first‑round singles match, he had to back up the singles, he had to pull out of doubles, I'm the guy (smiling).
Q. You won't care if he pulls out?
PAT RAFTER: It would be beautiful. Please pull out (smiling).
Listen, no, I've had a great relationship with Lleyton over the years. Also Davis Cup, we've played a few practice matches in Davis Cup. Keep playing a little bit. Under pressure I'll probably choke. Expect that to happen.
Q. Are you nervous a bit?
PAT RAFTER: Yeah. Listen, nothing is happening just yet, to be honest. We're in the draw, but it will all depend on how he goes. It's really important for him to play great singles. That's what it's all about. He still likes playing competitive matches. He gets through the first singles, he feels comfortable, feeling he might want to play, it's whatever Lleyton wants.
Q. Do you remember the last time you played with him?
PAT RAFTER: I haven't played with Lleyton here at the Open. Played with him Davis Cup. It was shocking, horrible. I was really bad. So my mates are sending me texts saying, Can you please work on your returns. I'll be definitely the worst player in the competition out there.
But I'll have fun. I'm playing with one of the best players in the competition. Figure it's like eating chocolate or having broccoli, sort of equal it out.
Q. Does that mean you have to keep up with the doping regulations?
PAT RAFTER: If there's a law, mate, against eating too much chocolate, I'm in trouble.
Q. You have to stay within the structures.
PAT RAFTER: Obviously something I don't go in on anyway.
LLEYTON HEWITT: This is a joke. What are you doing here? This is why you wanted to play. There should be two chairs, we're playing doubles. Look at this.
PAT RAFTER: It's about me. You can go away (laughter). Give me a little bit. That's what I have to deal with.
But, no, I never looked into that. Do I have to sign papers and all that sort of stuff again?
Q. You're not officially retired apparently, so you're not subject, otherwise you would have had to have given three months' notice.
PAT RAFTER: I was officially retired. I thought it was. Do you have to sign something that says you're officially retired?
Q. They started it in 2009, so they think you're fine.
PAT RAFTER: Okay. Put it this way, the whole drug testing thing we did a lot of. No worries, whatever.
Q. Edberg, Boris Becker, Lendl out there. Coaching something you're tempted by in the future?
PAT RAFTER: Of those three you mentioned, Stefan is the only one that can play. Stefan is actually in great shape still.
The hardest part about being around 40 is keeping your body in shape. It's tough, I must admit. You don't look after yourself like you did. You're not in the locker room all the time.
It's just a bit of fun. Doubles, half a court. I think I can do that.
Q. What about coaching in the future?
PAT RAFTER: I'm still coaching. That's my warmup coaching.
You mean on the tour? That's not going to happen. Davis Cup is enough for me.
Q. Bernie and Rafa, what do you expect from that?
PAT RAFTER: Well, I expect it will be a great match. I was really excited the way Bernie played in Sydney, how he backed that up and defended as well as he did. Obviously the finals didn't go to script for him. He played one loose game, del Potro played great from then on and gave him no chance.
I hope that's a warning for him. You can't play one good game against these guys. If you give these guys a sniff, they'll jump all over you. Rafa is the best at that in the world, of not letting anybody back in the match. If you give him an opportunity, he'll take it.
Bernie in the past has been a little bit up and down in these matches, has these lulls. He can't afford to have them.
If Bernie plays and keeps that intensity, he's going be to be very difficult to beat. Rafa knows that. Rafa is not happy with his draw. Bernard is not seeded, but he's a potential seed, for sure. He's one of those guys you don't want in the draw.
Q. Were you surprised to win at Albert Hall?
PAT RAFTER: I was actually playing well. I played the week before, won. Yeah, I played pretty well.
Singles have gone okay. Doubles has changed since I played. We used to play first serve, first volley, sort of don't miss. Now they're jumping all over the place. They're serving just rocket ships down at you. I can't return the best of times. I don't know what I'm going to do out there (laughter).
Q. What did you make of Lleyton's performance in Brisbane and how do you think he'll be able to back it up here?
PAT RAFTER: I think he was pretty ordinary. He got lucky (laughter).
No, he was great. Lleyton of old, digging out matches. Second match against López, I thought he was getting stitched up there pretty hard. He found a way in true Lleyton fashion. Yeah, it was just great to see him reignite those old days, see the way he came out and handled himself in the final against Federer was impressive. They've got a lot of history. Thought he might be a little flat going against him.
He loves it. He loves the occasion. He loves being out here. He loves playing. It's impressive. For us in Davis Cup, so lucky to have him. He shows in leading the way for these young kids. They get to see the way we behaves and takes it all on. His professionalism, there's no one else out like there like him.
Q. He wins Brisbane, Bernie is in the finals of Sydney, Sam in the semis of Hobart.
PAT RAFTER: The boys got tough draws here. But, you know, I don't think we're without a chance. I think there's a few matches there. Especially the young kids coming through. I'm really looking forward to seeing how they deal with the occasion. Having Kokkinakis play Brisbane, playing Lleyton on the center court there, deal with those pressures, coming in here, it won't be too dissimilar for him. I don't know how Nick Kyrgios will pull up.
These kids are our future, as well as with Bernard. If we can get these group of kids coming through now, it will be a very strong nation again.
Q. Del Potro played well. He served exceptionally well. That should give Bernie confidence that he can play well with the top guys. How important is it for him to believe that he can play with those guys?
PAT RAFTER: He can, you know. As I said, the only difference right now, obviously he's still got to work a little bit athletically. I think he's doing very well. I think his big improvement is in his physical side of things he can get better. His ball striking is definitely up there with the guys. He's just got to control his mental ups and downs throughout the match. Once he can start doing that, he'll start competing better and better with those big guys.
DelPo just blew him away once he got that sniff, that bit of confidence. He just showed why he's 5 in the world and Bernie is 50 in the world.
Q. Do you think as he gets older, more experience, he'll get better?
PAT RAFTER: Yeah, I mean, obviously that always helps. Couple more years to find out where he is, how he deals with these occasions all the time. He's had plenty of these occasions. Centre Court matches at Wimbledon, here, big matches in Davis Cup. So he's used to it.
It's the one simple thing now, for him to keep that same consistent hard work throughout the year and take this form throughout the year. You can have your one or two bad weeks, but he has to be able to keep this form going for a period I of time.
Q. Kokkinakis, is he fully fit?
PAT RAFTER: Yes. He had stress fractures I think when he was 15, then again last year, 16, 17. He's a growing boy. He's 6'5" or something. Still has another inch or something in them. His sister and brother, they're giants. He's a classy kid.
Q. One theory going around was that you were maybe going to play in the Davis Cup doubles with Lleyton?
PAT RAFTER: I hope not. There would have to be food poisoning, sicknesses. That would be my worst nightmare.