Patrick Michael "Pat" Rafter (born 28 December 1972) is a former Australian Tennis player and World No. 1. 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. He became the first man in the Open Era to win Montreal/Toronto, Cincinnati and the US Open in the same year (1998); this achievement has been dubbed the American Summer Slam.
Rafter's breakthrough came in 1997. At that year's French Open he reached the semifinals, falling in four sets to Sergi Bruguera. Then he surprised many by winning the US Open, defeating Greg Rusedski in a four-set final and Andre Agassi and Michael Chang, among others, in earlier rounds; 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 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 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, 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 player 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.
At the 1999 French Open, Rafter drew future World No. 1 and 17-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).
His ranking had fallen to No. 21 by the time he reached the Wimbledon final in July 2000. 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). 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.
Rafter is one of only two tennis players, along with Sergi Bruguera, to have always won against Roger Federer, having defeated him thrice. He is also the only player who has a winning record with the 17 time Grand Slam winner on all the three main tennis surfaces: hard, clay and grass.
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.
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.
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 Eric Butorac and Raven Klaasen in the first round.
ATP Champions Tour
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 reply 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.
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.
Rafter donated half of the prize money from his 1997 and 1998 US Open wins to the Starlight Children's Foundation; he attempted to do so anonymously in 1997 but was unsuccessful. He has created his own charity organisation that raises funds for children's causes each year. Rafter also supports animal rights and the work of animal liberation groups such as makeitpossible.com.
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. He was elected to the International Tennis Hall of Fame and inducted into the Sport Australia Hall of Fame in 2006.
Grand Slam finals
|Outcome||Year||Championship||Surface||Opponent in the final||Score in the final|
|Winner||1997||US Open||Hard||Greg Rusedski||6–3, 6–2, 4–6, 7–5|
|Winner||1998||US Open||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|
|Outcome||Year||Championship||Surface||Partner||Opponents in the final||Score in the final|
|Winner||1999||Australian Open||Hard||Jonas Björkman|| Mahesh Bhupathi|
|6–3, 4–6, 6–4, 6–7(10–12), 6–4|
Masters Series finals
Singles: 6 (2 titles, 4 runners-up)
|Outcome||Year||Championship||Surface||Opponent in the final||Score in the final|
|Winner||1998||Canada (Toronto)||Hard||Richard Krajicek||7–6(7–3), 6–4|
|Winner||1998||Cincinnati||Hard||Pete Sampras||1–6, 7–6(7–2), 6–4|
|Runner-up||1999||Rome||Clay||Gustavo Kuerten||4–6, 5–7, 6–7(6–8)|
|Runner-up||1999||Cincinnati||Hard||Pete Sampras||6–7(7–9), 3–6|
|Runner-up||2001||Canada (Montreal)||Hard||Andrei Pavel||6–7(3–7), 6–2, 3–6|
|Runner-up||2001||Cincinnati||Hard||Gustavo Kuerten||1–6, 3–6|
|No.||Date||Tournament||Surface||Opponent in the final||Score in the final|
|1.||20 June 1994||Manchester Open, UK||Grass||Wayne Ferreira||7–6(7–5), 7–6(7–4)|
|2.||8 September 1997||US Open, New York City, USA||Hard||Greg Rusedski||6–3, 6–2, 4–6, 7–5|
|3.||13 April 1998||Madras, India||Hard||Mikael Tillström||6–3, 6–4|
|4.||22 June 1998||'s-Hertogenbosch, Netherlands||Grass||Martin Damm||7–6(7–2), 6–2|
|5.||10 August 1998||Toronto, Canada||Hard||Richard Krajicek||7–6(7–3), 6–4|
|6.||17 August 1998||Cincinnati, USA||Hard||Pete Sampras||1–6, 7–6(7–2), 6–4|
|7.||31 August 1998||Long Island, USA||Hard||Félix Mantilla||7–6(7–3), 6–2|
|8.||14 September 1998||US Open, New York City, USA||Hard||Mark Philippoussis||6–3, 3–6, 6–2, 6–0|
|9.||21 June 1999||'s-Hertogenbosch, Netherlands||Grass||Andrei Pavel||3–6, 7–6(9–7), 6–4|
|10.||26 June 2000||'s-Hertogenbosch, Netherlands||Grass||Nicolas Escudé||6–1, 6–3|
|11.||20 August 2001||Indianapolis, USA||Hard||Gustavo Kuerten||4–2, retired|
|No.||Date.||Tournament.||Surface.||Opponent in the final.||Score in the final.|
|1.||18 April 1994||Hong Kong, UK||Hard||Michael Chang||1–6, 3–6|
|2.||3 March 1997||Philadelphia, USA||Hard (i)||Pete Sampras||7–5, 6–7(4–7), 3–6|
|3.||14 April 1997||Hong Kong, UK||Hard||Michael Chang||3–6, 3–6|
|4.||26 May 1997||St. Poelten, Austria||Clay||Marcelo Filippini||6–7(2–7), 2–6|
|5.||18 August 1997||New Haven, USA||Hard||Yevgeny Kafelnikov||6–7(4–7), 4–6|
|6.||25 August 1997||Long Island, USA||Hard||Carlos Moyá||4–6, 6–7(1–7)|
|7.||6 October 1997||Grand Slam Cup, Munich, Germany||Carpet||Pete Sampras||2–6, 4–6, 5–7|
|8.||17 May 1999||Rome, Italy||Clay||Gustavo Kuerten||4–6, 5–7, 6–7(6–8)|
|9.||16 August 1999||Cincinnati, USA||Hard||Pete Sampras||6–7(7–9), 3–6|
|10.||10 July 2000||Wimbledon, London, UK||Grass||Pete Sampras||7–6(12–10), 6–7(5–7), 4–6, 2–6|
|11.||13 November 2000||Lyon, France||Carpet||Arnaud Clément||6–7(2–7), 6–7(5–7)|
|12.||9 July 2001||Wimbledon, London, UK||Grass||Goran Ivanišević||3–6, 6–3, 3–6, 6–2, 7–9|
|13.||6 August 2001||Montreal, Canada||Hard||Andrei Pavel||6–7(3–7), 6–2, 3–6|
|14.||13 August 2001||Cincinnati, USA||Hard||Gustavo Kuerten||1–6, 3–6|
|No.||Date||Tournament||Surface||Partner||Opponents in Final||Score in Final|
|1.||18 April 1994||Salem Open, Hong Kong||Hard||Jonas Björkman|| Jim Grabb|
|2.||24 October 1994||Grand Prix de Tennis de Lyon, Lyon, France||Carpet||Martin Damm|| Jakob Hlasek|
|7–6, 6–7, 6–7|
|3.||16 October 1995||IPB Czech Indoor, Ostrava, Czech Republic||Carpet||Guy Forget|| Jonas Björkman|
|7–6, 4–6, 6–7|
|4.||22 April 1996||Bermuda Open, Bermuda||Clay||Pat Cash|| Jan Apell|
|6–3, 1–6, 3–6|
|5.||17 March 1997||Newsweek Champions Cup, Indian Wells, U.S.||Hard||Mark Philippoussis|| Mark Knowles|
|6–7, 6–4, 5–7|
|6.||21 April 1997||Japan Open Tennis Championships, Tokyo||Hard||Justin Gimelstob|| Martin Damm|
|6–2, 2–6, 6–7|
|7.||11 August 1997||Great American Insurance ATP Championship, Cincinnati, U.S.||Hard||Mark Philippoussis|| Todd Woodbridge|
|6–7, 6–4, 4–6|
|8.||18 June 2001||Gerry Weber Open, Halle, Germany||Grass||Max Mirnyi|| Daniel Nestor|
|4–6, 7–6(7–5), 1–6|
|Grand Slam tournaments|
|Australian Open||LQ||LQ||1R||1R||3R||4R||2R||1R||3R||3R||A||SF||0 / 9||15–9|
|French Open||A||A||A||LQ||4R||1R||1R||SF||2R||3R||2R||1R||0 / 8||12–8|
|Wimbledon||A||A||LQ||3R||2R||1R||4R||4R||4R||SF||F||F||0 / 9||29–9|
|US Open||A||A||LQ||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|
|Summer Olympics||Not Held||A||Not Held||A||Not Held||2R||NH||0 / 1||1–1|
|Tennis Masters Cup||Did Not Qualify||RR||DNQ||RR||0 / 2||2–4|
|ATP Masters Series|
|Indian Wells||A||A||A||1R||3R||3R||A||1R||2R||2R||2R||QF||0 / 8||9–8|
|Miami||A||A||A||LQ||SF||2R||A||1R||1R||3R||4R||SF||0 / 7||13–7|
|Monte Carlo||A||A||A||A||A||1R||A||A||A||A||A||A||0 / 1||0–1|
|Rome||A||A||A||A||1R||1R||A||2R||1R||F||1R||A||0 / 6||6–6|
|Hamburg||A||A||A||A||A||2R||A||A||A||A||1R||A||0 / 2||1–2|
|Canada||A||A||A||A||1R||2R||QF||2R||W||QF||QF||F||1 / 8||20–7|
|Cincinnati||A||A||A||1R||1R||3R||2R||3R||W||F||A||F||1 / 8||19–7|
|Stuttgart (Stockholm)||A||A||A||A||2R||A||A||SF||2R||A||2R||A||0 / 4||4–4|
|Paris||A||A||A||A||1R||A||A||2R||2R||A||3R||A||0 / 4||3–4|
|Win–Loss||0–0||0–0||0–0||0–2||8–7||7–7||4–2||7–7||13–5||12–5||7–7||17–4||2 / 48||75–46|
|Year End Ranking||751||293||243||66||20||66||62||2||4||16||15||7||N/A|
LQ = lost in qualifying draw
|Australian Open||2R||2R||1R||3R||2R||1R||1R||W||1R||1 / 9||10–7|
|French Open||1R||1R||3R||3R||SF||3R||2R||0 / 7||11–6|
|Wimbledon||QF||SF||QF||SF||QF||0 / 5||17–4|
|US Open||QF||2R||3R||SF||3R||QF||0 / 6||15–6|
|Win–Loss||0–0||0–0||1–1||4–2||1–3||7–4||10–3||7–4||11–4||10–1||1–0||0–0||0–0||0–0||0–1||1 / 27||53–23|
|ATP Masters Series|
|Indian Wells||QF||2R||F||W||2R||QF||1 / 6||13–5|
|Miami||1R||SF||0 / 2||4–1|
|Monte Carlo||1R||0 / 1||0–1|
|Rome||1R||1R||QF||QF||QF||0 / 5||6–5|
|Hamburg||QF||SF||0 / 2||5–2|
|Canada||2R||SF||2R||QF||SF||W||1R||1 / 7||14–6|
|Cincinnati||1R||SF||QF||F||2R||0 / 5||9–5|
|Stuttgart (Stockholm)||2R||1R||0 / 2||1–2|
|Paris||QF||0 / 1||2–1|
|Win–Loss||0–0||0–0||0–0||2–1||2–5||8–5||3–2||15–6||8–3||7–2||3–2||6–2||0–0||0–0||0–0||2 / 31||54–28|
|Year End Ranking||664||434||225||64||60||30||30||12||16||19||121||120||–||–||1211||N/A|
ATP Tour career earnings
|Year||Majors||ATP wins||Total wins||Earnings ($)||Money list rank|
- 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.