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Patrick Rafter

Patrick "Pat" Michael Rafter (born 28 December 1972) is a retired Australian former World No. 1 tennis player. He twice won the men's singles title at the US Open and was twice the runner-up at Wimbledon. Rafter was elected to the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 2006. He lives in Bermuda. He was known for his natural serve-and-volley style of play.

Tennis career

Rafter turned professional in 1991 and won his first career singles title in 1994 in Manchester. Prior to 1997, this was the only ATP singles title he had won.

Rafter's breakthrough came in 1997, beginning at the French Open, where he reached the semifinals, falling in four sets to Sergi Bruguera. Later in the year, he won the US Open, defeating Greg Rusedski in a four-set final and Andre Agassi and Michael Chang, among others, in earlier rounds. This was his first Grand Slam title.

1998 was a particularly strong year for Rafter, winning two ATP Masters Series back-to-back singles titles in Toronto and Cincinnati. (Only Andre Agassi, in 1995, and Andy Roddick, in 2003, also have won both these tournaments in the same year.) Rafter defeated ninth ranked Richard Krajicek in the Toronto final and second ranked Pete Sampras in the Cincinnati final. Rafter then won a US Open warm-up tournament in Long Island, New York. Entering the US Open as the defending champion, he reached the final again, defeating Sampras in a five-set semifinal. He then defeated fellow Aussie player Mark Philippoussis in four sets. Altogether, Rafter won six tournaments in 1998.

Rafter reached the Wimbledon semifinals for the first time in 1999, where lost in straight sets to Agassi, the first of three consecutive years that the two met in the Wimbledon semifinals. July 1999 saw Rafter holding the world No. 1 men's singles ranking for one week, making him the shortest-reigning world No. 1 in ATP tour history. As the two-time defending US Open champion, Rafter lost in the first round of the tournament, retiring in the fifth set against Cédric Pioline after succumbing to shoulder tendinitis. Rafter's ranking then plummeted, and his shoulder injury wound up being serious enough to necessitate surgery. By the time he reached the Wimbledon final in July 2000, his ranking had fallen to No. 52.

Rafter won the Australian Open men's doubles title in 1999 (partnering Jonas Björkman). He and Björkman also won doubles titles at the ATP Masters Series events in Canada (1999) and Indian Wells (1998).

In 2000, Rafter reached the men's singles final at Wimbledon. In the semifinals, Rafter defeated Agassi 7–5, 4–6, 7–5, 4–6, 6–3. The match was hailed as a classic, particularly because of their contrasting playing styles, with Agassi playing primarily from the baseline and Rafter attacking the net. Rafter faced Sampras in the final, who was gunning for a record-breaking seventh Wimbledon title overall (and seven in the past eight years). While Rafter made a strong start to the match and took the first set, after the match he would claim that he had "choked" part way through the second set, and was then not able to get back into his game. Sampras won in four sets.

In 2001, Rafter reached the semifinals of the Australian Open, but despite holding a two sets to one lead and having the support of the home crowd, Rafter lost the match to Agassi in five sets. Later in the year, Rafter again reached the Wimbledon final. For the third straight year, he faced Agassi in the semifinals and won in yet another five-setter, 2–6, 6–3, 3–6, 6–2, 8–6. Much like the previous year's semifinal, this match also received praise for the quality of play that the two men displayed. In the final, he squared off against Goran Ivanišević, who had reached the Wimbledon final three times before but had slid down the rankings to World No. 125 following injury problems. In a five-set struggle that lasted just over three hours, Ivanišević prevailed.

Rafter was on the Australian Davis Cup Team that lost in the final in 2000 (to Spain) and 2001 (to France). Ironically, he was unable to play in the 1999 Davis Cup final – where Australia beat France to win the cup – because of injury (though he won important matches in the earlier rounds to help the team qualify).

Rafter was on the Australian teams that won the World Team Cup in 1999 and 2001.

He retired from the professional tour at the end of 2002 after winning a total of 11 singles titles and 10 doubles titles. He returns to the courts annually to play World Team Tennis for the Philadelphia Freedoms.

On Australia Day 2008, Pat Rafter was inducted into the Australian Open Hall of Fame.

Personal and family life

Rafter was born in Mount Isa, Queensland, and is third-youngest in a family of nine children. He began playing tennis at the age of five with his father and three older brothers.

In April 2004, Rafter married his girlfriend Lara Feltham (with whom he had a son, Joshua) at a resort in Fiji. Their daughter, India, was born in May 2005.

Because of the white patch in his hair, his nickname amongst mates is "Skunky."

In 2002, he won the Australian of the Year award. This created some controversy as he had spent much of his career residing in Bermuda.

Rafter donated half of the prize money from his 1997 and 1998 US Open wins to the Starlight Children's Foundation. The money was used to construct Queensland's first Starlight Express Room at the Mater Hospital. Rafter has created his own charity organisation that raises funds for children's causes each year.

He is a fan of both the Brisbane Broncos and Brisbane Lions and has occasionally played reserve grade Australian rules in the Sydney AFL for the North Shore Bombers.

Grand Slam singles finals

Wins (2)

Year Championship Opponent in Final Score in Final
1997 US Open Greg Rusedski 6–3, 6–2, 4–6, 7–5
1998 US Open Mark Philippoussis 6–3, 3–6, 6–2, 6–0
Runner-ups (2)

Year Championship Opponent in Final Score in Final
2000 Wimbledon Pete Sampras 6–7, 7–6, 6–4, 6–2
2001 Wimbledon Goran Ivanišević 6–3, 3–6, 6–3, 2–6, 9–7

Singles performance timeline

Tournament 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 Career SR
Grand Slam tournaments
Australian Open 1R 1R 3R 4R 2R 1R 3R 3R A SF 0 / 9
French Open A LQ 4R 1R 1R SF 2R 3R 2R 1R 0 / 8
Wimbledon LQ 3R 2R 1R 4R 4R 4R SF F F 0 / 9
US Open LQ 1R 3R 2R 1R W W 1R 1R 4R 2 / 9
SR 0 / 1 0 / 3 0 / 4 0 / 4 0 / 4 1 / 4 1 / 4 0 / 4 0 / 3 0 / 4 2 / 35
Year-End Championship
Tennis Masters Cup A A A A A RR A A A RR 0 / 2
ATP Masters Series
Indian Wells Masters A 1R 3R 3R A 1R 2R 2R 2R QF 0 / 8
Miami Masters A LQ SF 2R A 1R 1R 3R 4R SF 0 / 7
Monte Carlo Masters A A A 1R A A A A A A 0 / 1
Rome Masters A A 1R 1R A 2R 1R F 1R A 0 / 6
Hamburg Masters A A A 2R A A A A 1R A 0 / 2
Canada Masters A A 1R 2R QF 2R W QF QF F 1 / 8
Cincinnati Masters A 1R 1R 3R 2R 3R W F A F 1 / 8
Stockholm/Stuttgart Masters A A 2R A A SF 2R A 2R A 0 / 4
Paris Masters A A 1R A A 2R 2R A 3R A 0 / 4
Masters Series SR 0 / 0 0 / 2 0 / 7 0 / 7 0 / 2 0 / 7 2 / 7 0 / 5 0 / 7 0 / 4 2 / 48
Year End Ranking 243 66 20 66 62 2 4 16 15 7 N/A

A = did not attend
LQ = lost in qualifying draw

ATP Masters Series singles finals

Wins (2)

Year Championship Opponent in Final Score in Final
1998 Toronto Richard Krajicek 7–6, 6–4
1998 Cincinnati Pete Sampras 1–6, 7–6, 6–4

Runner-ups (4)

Year Championship Opponent in Final Score in Final
1999 Rome Gustavo Kuerten 6–4, 7–5, 7–6
1999 Cincinnati Pete Sampras 7–6, 6–3
2001 Montreal Andrei Pavel 7–6, 2–6, 6–3
2001 Cincinnati Gustavo Kuerten 6–1, 6–3

Career finals (43)

Singles (25)

Wins (11)

Legend
Grand Slam (2)
Tennis Masters Cup (0)
ATP Masters Series (2)
ATP Tour (7)
Titles by Surface
Hard (7)
Grass (4)
Clay (0)
Carpet (0)

No. Date Tournament Surface Opponent in Final Score in Final
1. 20 June 1994 Manchester Open, Manchester, United Kingdom Grass Wayne Ferreira 7–6(5), 7–6(4)
2. 8 September 1997 US Open, New York City Hard Greg Rusedski 6–3, 6–2, 4–6, 7–5
3. 13 April 1998 Gold Flake Open, Madras, India Hard Mikael Tillström 6–3, 6–4
4. 22 June 1998 Heineken Trophy, 's-Hertogenbosch, Netherlands Grass Martin Damm 7–6(2), 6–2
5. 10 August 1998 du Maurier Open, Toronto, Canada Hard Richard Krajicek 7–6(3), 6–4
6. 17 August 1998 Great American Insurance ATP Championship, Cincinnati, U.S. Hard Pete Sampras 1–6, 7–6(2), 6–4
7. 31 August 1998 Hamlet Cup, Long Island, U.S. Hard Félix Mantilla 7–6(3), 6–2
8. 14 September 1998 US Open, New York City Hard Mark Philippoussis 6–3, 3–6, 6–2, 6–0
9. 21 June 1999 Heineken Trophy, 's-Hertogenbosch, Netherlands Grass Andrei Pavel 3–6, 7–6(7), 6–4
10. 26 June 2000 Heineken Trophy, 's-Hertogenbosch, Netherlands Grass Nicolas Escudé 6–1, 6–3
11. 20 August 2001 RCA Championships, Indianapolis, U.S. Hard Gustavo Kuerten 4–2 retired

Runner-ups (14)

No. Date Tournament Surface Opponent in Final Score in Final
1. 18 April 1994 Salem Open, Hong Kong Hard Michael Chang 6–1, 6–3
2. 3 March 1997 Advanta Championships, Philadelphia, U.S. Hard (i) Pete Sampras 5–7, 7–6(4), 6–3
3. 14 April 1997 Salem Open, Hong Kong Hard Michael Chang 6–3, 6–3
4. 26 May 1997 Internationaler Raiffeisen Grand Prix, St. Poelten, Austria Clay Marcelo Filippini 7–6(2), 6–2
5. 18 August 1997 Pilot Pen International, New Haven, U.S. Hard Yevgeny Kafelnikov 7–6(4), 6–4
6. 25 August 1997 Waldbaum's Hamlet Cup, Long Island, U.S. Hard Carlos Moyà 6–4, 7–6(1)
7. 6 October 1997 Grand Slam Cup, Munich Carpet Pete Sampras 6–2, 6–4, 7–5
8. 17 May 1999 Italian Open, Rome Clay Gustavo Kuerten 6–4, 7–5, 7–6(6)
9. 16 August 1999 Great American Insurance ATP Championship, Cincinnati, U.S. Hard Pete Sampras 7–6(7), 6–3
10. 10 July 2000 Wimbledon, London Grass Pete Sampras 6–7(10), 7–6(5), 6–4, 6–2
11. 13 November 2000 Grand Prix de Tennis de Lyon, Lyon, France Carpet Arnaud Clément 7–6(2), 7–6(5)
12. 9 July 2001 Wimbledon, London Grass Goran Ivanišević 6–3, 3–6, 6–3, 2–6, 9–7
13. 6 August 2001 Tennis Masters Canada, Montréal Hard Andrei Pavel 7–6(3), 2–6, 6–3
14. 13 August 2001 Masters Series Cincinnati, U.S. Hard Gustavo Kuerten 6–1, 6–3

Doubles (18)

Wins (10)

No. Date Tournament Surface Partner Opponents in Final Score in Final
1. 23 May 1994 Bologna Open, Bologna, Italy Clay John Fitzgerald Vojtech Flegl
Andrew Florent
6–3, 6–3
2. 9 January 1995 Australian Hardcourt Championships, Adelaide, Australia Hard Jim Courier Byron Black
Grant Connell
7–6, 6–4
3. 13 May 1996 U.S. Men's Clay Court Championships, Pinehurst, U.S. Clay Pat Cash Ken Flach
David Wheaton
6–2, 6–3
4. 6 January 1997 Australian Hardcourt Championships, Adelaide, Australia Hard Bryan Shelton Todd Woodbridge
Mark Woodforde
6–4, 1–6, 6–3
5. 16 June 1997 The Stella Artois Grass Court Championships, London Grass Mark Philippoussis Sandon Stolle
Cyril Suk
6–2, 4–6, 7–5
6. 16 March 1998 Newsweek Champions Cup, Indian Wells, U.S. Hard Jonas Björkman Todd Martin
Richey Reneberg
6–4, 7–6
7. 3 August 1998 Mercedes-Benz Cup, Los Angeles Hard Sandon Stolle Jeff Tarango
Daniel Vacek
6–4, 6–4
8. 1 February 1999 Australian Open, Melbourne Hard Jonas Björkman Mahesh Bhupathi
Leander Paes
6–3, 4–6, 6–4, 6–7(10), 6–4
9. 14 June 1999 Gerry Weber Open, Halle, Germany Grass Jonas Björkman Paul Haarhuis
Jared Palmer
6–3, 7–5
10. 9 August 1999 du Maurier Open, Montreal, Canada Hard Jonas Björkman Byron Black
Wayne Ferreira
7–6, 6–4

Runner-ups (8)

No. Date Tournament Surface Partner Opponents in Final Score in Final
1. 18 April 1994 Salem Open, Hong Kong Hard Jonas Björkman Jim Grabb
Brett Steven
walkover
2. 24 October 1994 Grand Prix de Tennis de Lyon, Lyon, France Carpet Martin Damm Jakob Hlasek
Yevgeny Kafelnikov
6–7, 7–6, 7–6
3. 16 October 1995 IPB Czech Indoor, Ostrava, Czech Republic Carpet Guy Forget Jonas Björkman
Javier Frana
6–7, 6–4, 7–6
4. 22 April 1996 Bermuda Open, Bermuda Clay Pat Cash Jan Apell
Brent Haygarth
3–6, 6–1, 6–3
5. 17 March 1997 Newsweek Champions Cup, Indian Wells, U.S. Hard Mark Philippoussis Mark Knowles
Daniel Nestor
7–6, 4–6, 7–5
6. 21 April 1997 Japan Open Tennis Championships, Tokyo Hard Justin Gimelstob Martin Damm
Daniel Vacek
2–6, 6–2, 7–6
7. 11 August 1997 Great American Insurance ATP Championship, Cincinnati, U.S. Hard Mark Philippoussis Todd Woodbridge
Mark Woodforde
7–6, 4–6, 6–4
8. 18 June 2001 Gerry Weber Open, Halle, Germany Grass Max Mirnyi Daniel Nestor
Sandon Stolle
6–4, 6–7(5), 6–1

ATP Tour career earnings

Year Majors ATP wins Total wins Earnings ($) Money list rank
1997 1 0 1 2,923,519 3
1998 1 5 6 2,867,017 3
1999 0 1 1 1,254,574 12
2000 0 1 1 814,586 16
2001 0 1 1 1,670,592 7
Career 2 9 11 11,127,058 21

Memorable matches

Video

  • Wimbledon 2000 Semi-Final - Agassi vs. Rafter (2003) Starring: Andre Agassi, Patrick Rafter; Standing Room Only, DVD Release Date: 16 August 2005, Run Time: 213 minutes, ASIN: B000A343QY.
  • Wimbledon 2001 Final: Rafter Vs Ivanisevic Standing Room Only, DVD Release Date: 30 October 2007, Run Time: 195 minutes, ASIN: B000V02CT6.

References

External links

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