Patrick Michael Rafter (born 28 December 1972) is an Australian former professional tennis player. He reached the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) world No. 1 singles ranking on 26 July 1999. His career highlights include consecutive US Open titles in 1997 and 1998, consecutive runner-up appearances at Wimbledon in 2000 and 2001, winning the 1999 Australian Open men's doubles tournament alongside the Swede Jonas Björkman, and winning two singles and two doubles ATP Masters titles.
Rafter at a 2015 Australian Open Player's party, January 2015
|Residence||Lennox Head, New South Wales, Australia|
|Born||28 December 1972|
Mount Isa, Queensland, Australia
|Height||185 cm (6 ft 1 in)|
|Plays||Right-handed (one-handed backhand)|
|Int. Tennis HoF||2006 (member page)|
|Highest ranking||No. 1 (26 July 1999)|
|Grand Slam Singles results|
|Australian Open||SF (2001)|
|French Open||SF (1997)|
|Wimbledon||F (2000, 2001)|
|US Open||W (1997, 1998)|
|Tour Finals||RR (1997, 2001)|
|Grand Slam Cup||F (1997)|
|Olympic Games||2R (2000)|
|Highest ranking||No. 6 (1 February 1999)|
|Grand Slam Doubles results|
|Australian Open||W (1999)|
|French Open||SF (1998)|
|Wimbledon||SF (1996, 1998)|
|US Open||SF (1996)|
|Davis Cup||W (1999)|
He became the first man in the Open Era to win Canada Masters, Cincinnati Masters and the US Open in the same year, which he achieved in 1998; this achievement has been dubbed the American Summer Slam. To date, only 2 players have followed this feat: Andy Roddick in 2003 and Rafael Nadal in 2013. Rafter is the third man in the Open Era to reach semifinals or better of every Grand Slam tournament in both singles and doubles, after Rod Laver and Stefan Edberg, and remains the last man to date to accomplish this. Rafter is also the only player to remain undefeated against Roger Federer with at least three meetings. He is also the only player who has a winning record against the 20-time Grand Slam winner on all the three main tennis surfaces: hard, clay and grass.
Rafter turned professional in 1991. He twice won the men's singles title at the US Open and was twice the runner-up at Wimbledon. He was known for his natural serve-and-volley style of play. Rafter was on the Australian Davis Cup Team that lost in the final in 2000 (to Spain) and 2001 (to France). 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.
This section needs expansion. You can help by adding to it. (February 2017)
Rafter won his first tour level match in 1993, at Wimbledon. He reached the third round, before losing to Andre Agassi. He also reached the semifinals in Indianapolis. He defeated Pete Sampras in the quarterfinals in three tight sets, before losing to Boris Becker in the semifinals. Rafter finished 1993 with a ranking of 66.
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Rafter got to the QFs of Miami where he lost to 17-year-old future star Ivo Karlovic in the juniors tournament.
1997: US Open titleEdit
Rafter's breakthrough came in 1997. At that year's French Open he reached the semifinals, falling in four sets to two time former champion Sergi Bruguera. Then he surprised many by winning the US Open, defeating Andriy Medvedev, Magnus Norman, Lionel Roux, Andre Agassi, Magnus Larsson, Michael Chang and Greg Rusedski in a four-set final; he was the first non-American to win the title since Stefan Edberg in 1992. This was his first Grand Slam title, and catapulted him ahead of Chang to finish the year ranked #2 in the world, behind only Pete Sampras. The unexpected nature of his U.S. Open title led many, including Hall-of-famer and four-time U.S. Open champion John McEnroe to criticise Rafter as a "one-slam wonder".
1998: Second US Open & two Masters titlesEdit
1998 was a particularly strong year for Rafter, who won the Canadian Open and Cincinnati in a row (only Andre Agassi, in 1995, Andy Roddick, in 2003, and Rafael Nadal, in 2013 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. When asked about the difference between himself and Rafter following their titles, Sampras stated "10 grand slams", and that a player has to come back and win a Grand Slam again in order to be considered great.
Following his title at Cincinnati, Rafter 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 by defeating Hicham Arazi, Hernán Gumy, David Nainkin, Goran Ivanišević and Jonas Björkman before defeating Sampras in a five-set semifinal. Rafter pointedly took issue with Sampras' refusal to show him respect in defeat: "That is what really upsets me about him", Rafter said, "and the reason why I try to piss him off as much as I can."
Rafter then defended his U.S. Open title by defeating fellow Australian Mark Philippoussis in four sets, committing only five unforced errors throughout the match. When asked about Sampras' earlier comments about having to win another Grand Slam in order to be considered great, Rafter replied: "Maybe you can ask him that question, if he thinks that now. For me, I won another Slam, and it hasn't sunk in yet. It's very, very exciting for me, especially to repeat it". Altogether, Rafter won six tournaments in 1998, finishing the year #4 in the world.
1999: Ascent to world no.1Edit
At the 1999 French Open, Rafter drew future World No. 1 and 20-time Grand Slam champion Roger Federer in the first round, making him the first ever opponent of Federer in the main draw of a Grand Slam tournament. Rafter defeated him in four sets, after losing the first set. Rafter then reached the Wimbledon semifinals for the first time in 1999, where he 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 shoulder injury wound up being serious enough to necessitate surgery. He won the Australian Open men's doubles title in 1999 (partnering Jonas Björkman), making him one of few players in the modern era to win both a singles and doubles Grand Slam title during their career (fellow countryman Lleyton Hewitt would later achieve this feat in 2001). He and Björkman also won doubles titles at the ATP Masters Series events in Canada (1999) and Indian Wells (1998).
2000: Wimbledon runner-upEdit
Rafter's ranking had fallen to No. 21 by the time he reached the Wimbledon final in July 2000. In the semifinals, he 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. He played his last match before his unexpected retirement at the Davis Cup final, winning the singles rubber but losing the doubles rubber.
Rafter announced his retirement at the end of the year, stating that he had lost all motivation to compete at the top level, after not playing any matches during the season to recover from injuries.
In honour of Patrick Rafter the 5,500 seat centre court of the Queensland Tennis Centre in Brisbane, Australia was named Pat Rafter Arena. 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 for tax purposes.
Rafter did return at the beginning of the 2004 season to play doubles at two tournaments only; the 2004 Australian Open and the 2004 AAPT Championships (in Adelaide). However, he lost in round one of both events, playing alongside Joshua Eagle.
He was elected to the International Tennis Hall of Fame and inducted into the Sport Australia Hall of Fame in 2006. On Australia Day 2008, Pat Rafter was inducted into the Australian Open Hall of Fame.
On January 12, 2014 Rafter, aged 41, announced that he would be partnering current Australian number one Lleyton Hewitt in the doubles draw of the 2014 Australian Open. The comeback, however, was short-lived as the pair went down in straight sets to eventual runner-ups Eric Butorac and Raven Klaasen in the first round.
ATP Champions TourEdit
At the 2009 AEGON Masters Tennis, Rafter lost his opening round robin match against the 1987 Wimbledon Champion Pat Cash 2–6, 6–2, 10–6. In a much anticipated match and replay of the 2001 Wimbledon final, Rafter faced Goran Ivanišević. Rafter won the match when Ivanisevic retired while serving for the opening set, 3–5. Despite his performance, the retirement was enough to push Rafter into the final against Stefan Edberg. In what is described as a spell-binding serve-and-volley showdown, Rafter won the match 6–7, 6–4, 11–9. This represented the first time that Rafter was able to defeat Edberg.
Equipment and apparelEdit
Grand Slam performance timelineEdit
|Grand Slam tournaments|
|Australian Open||Q2||Q1||1R||1R||3R||4R||2R||1R||3R||3R||A||SF||0 / 9||15–9|
|French Open||A||A||A||Q3||4R||1R||1R||SF||2R||3R||2R||1R||0 / 8||12–8|
|Wimbledon||A||A||Q2||3R||2R||1R||4R||4R||4R||SF||F||F||0 / 9||29–9|
|US Open||A||A||Q1||1R||3R||2R||1R||W||W||1R||1R||4R||2 / 9||20–7|
|Win–Loss||0–0||0–0||0–1||2–3||8–4||4–4||4–4||15–3||13–3||9–4||7–3||14–4||2 / 35||76–33|
Finals: 4 (2 titles, 2 runners-up)Edit
|Winner||1997||US Open||Hard||Greg Rusedski||6–3, 6–2, 4–6, 7–5|
|Winner||1998||US Open (2)||Hard||Mark Philippoussis||6–3, 3–6, 6–2, 6–0|
|Runner-up||2000||Wimbledon||Grass||Pete Sampras||7–6(12–10), 6–7(5–7), 4–6, 2–6|
|Runner-up||2001||Wimbledon||Grass||Goran Ivanišević||3–6, 6–3, 3–6, 6–2, 7–9|
- 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.
- "Patrick Rafter". atpworldtour.com. Association of Tennis Professionals. Retrieved 17 January 2014.
- s.r.o., eHM. "Patrick Rafter vs. Roger Federer - The Ericsson Open - Miami - TennisLive.com". www.tennislive.net.
- "Patrick Rafter | Overview | ATP World Tour | Tennis". ATP World Tour. Retrieved 1 February 2018.
- Dillman, Lisa (14 September 1998). "Rafter Grandly Slams U.S. Open Criticism". Los Angeles Times.
- "Sampras slight raises stakes for 'Pat-trick'". 28 August 1999.
- "Rio Olympics 2016 (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)". ABC News.
- "Survival of the fittest".
- "Rafter charges into final". bbc.co.uk. 6 July 2001.
- "Back for more".
- "Stadium named after Pat Rafter - Brisbane International Tennis". 23 October 2008.
- Lewis, Wendy (2010). Australians of the Year. Pier 9 Press. ISBN 978-1-74196-809-5.
- "Patrick Rafter". Sport Australia Hall of Fame. Retrieved 16 December 2013.
- "Pat Rafter named Australian Davis Cup captain". Sydney Morning Herald. Fairfax Media. 20 October 2010. Retrieved 6 July 2015.
- "Lleyton Hewitt to retire from tennis after 2016 Australian Open, Pat Rafter stands down as Davis Cup captain". ABC News. ABC. 29 January 2015. Retrieved 6 July 2015.
- ATP Staff. "Hewitt/Rafter Doubles Campaign Ends in Defeat". ATP World Tour. Archived from the original on 16 February 2015.
- "Pat Cash Wins First Ever Meeting With Pat Rafter". Archived from the original on 3 November 2012.
- Bligh, Anna (10 June 2009). "PREMIER UNVEILS QUEENSLAND'S 150 ICONS". Queensland Government. Archived from the original on 24 May 2017. Retrieved 24 May 2017.