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.

Tennis career

1990s

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. 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".[3]

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.[3]

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."[4]

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".[3] 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.[5] 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).

2000s

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.[6] 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.[7] 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.[8][9] 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.[10]

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.

2010s

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.[2]

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,[2] Rafter won the match 6–7, 6–4, 11–9. This represented the first time that Rafter was able to defeat Edberg.

Equipment

Rafter, while professional, used Prince Sports racquet and Reebok clothes. Since the beginning of 2011, he began using Dunlop Sport racquet, continuing with Reebok clothes.

Personal 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.

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.

He has occasionally played reserve grade Australian rules in the Sydney AFL for the North Shore Bombers.

Since his retirement, Rafter has gone on to become an underwear model for Bonds, a brand ambassador for the Mantra Group of hotels and a successful businessman.

In October 2010 he was announced as Australia's Davis Cup captain.[2] Rafter stood down as Australia's Davis Cup captain on 29 January 2015.[2] He was succeeded by Wally Masur.

Honours

In honour of Patrick Rafter the 5,500 seat centre court of the Queensland Tennis Centre in Brisbane, Australia was named Pat Rafter Arena.[15] In 2002, he won the Australian of the Year award.[2] 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.[2]

Major finals

Grand Slam finals

Singles (4)

OutcomeYearChampionshipSurfaceOpponent in the finalScore in the final
Winner1997US OpenHardUnited Kingdom Greg Rusedski6–3, 6–2, 4–6, 7–5
Winner1998US OpenHardAustralia Mark Philippoussis6–3, 3–6, 6–2, 6–0
Runner-up2000WimbledonGrassUnited States Pete Sampras7–6(12–10), 6–7(5–7), 4–6, 2–6
Runner-up2001WimbledonGrassCroatia Goran Ivanišević3–6, 6–3, 3–6, 6–2, 7–9

Doubles (1)

OutcomeYearChampionshipSurfacePartnerOpponents in the finalScore in the final
Winner1999Australian OpenHardSweden Jonas BjörkmanIndia Mahesh Bhupathi
India Leander Paes
6–3, 4–6, 6–4, 6–7(10–12), 6–4

Masters Series finals

Singles: 6 (2 titles, 4 runners-up)

OutcomeYearChampionshipSurfaceOpponent in the finalScore in the final
Winner1998Canada (Toronto)HardNetherlands Richard Krajicek7–6(7–3), 6–4
Winner1998CincinnatiHardUnited States Pete Sampras1–6, 7–6(7–2), 6–4
Runner-up1999RomeClayBrazil Gustavo Kuerten4–6, 5–7, 6–7(6–8)
Runner-up1999CincinnatiHardUnited States Pete Sampras6–7(7–9), 3–6
Runner-up2001Canada (Montreal)HardRomania Andrei Pavel6–7(3–7), 6–2, 3–6
Runner-up2001CincinnatiHardBrazil Gustavo Kuerten1–6, 3–6

Career finals

Singles (25)

Wins (11)

Legend
Grand Slam (2)
Tennis Masters Cup (0)
ATP Masters Series (2)
ATP Championship Series (1)
ATP Tour (6)
Titles by Surface
Hard (7)
Grass (4)
Clay (0)
Carpet (0)
No.DateTournamentSurfaceOpponent in the finalScore in the final
1.20 June 1994Manchester Open, UKGrassSouth Africa Wayne Ferreira7–6(7–5), 7–6(7–4)
2.8 September 1997US Open, New York City, USAHardUnited Kingdom Greg Rusedski6–3, 6–2, 4–6, 7–5
3.13 April 1998Madras, IndiaHardSweden Mikael Tillström6–3, 6–4
4.22 June 1998's-Hertogenbosch, NetherlandsGrassCzech Republic Martin Damm7–6(7–2), 6–2
5.10 August 1998Toronto, CanadaHardNetherlands Richard Krajicek7–6(7–3), 6–4
6.17 August 1998Cincinnati, USAHardUnited States Pete Sampras1–6, 7–6(7–2), 6–4
7.31 August 1998Long Island, USAHardSpain Félix Mantilla7–6(7–3), 6–2
8.14 September 1998US Open, New York City, USAHardAustralia Mark Philippoussis6–3, 3–6, 6–2, 6–0
9.21 June 1999's-Hertogenbosch, NetherlandsGrassRomania Andrei Pavel3–6, 7–6(9–7), 6–4
10.26 June 2000's-Hertogenbosch, NetherlandsGrassFrance Nicolas Escudé6–1, 6–3
11.20 August 2001Indianapolis, USAHardBrazil Gustavo Kuerten4–2, retired

Runners-up (14)

No.Date.Tournament.Surface.Opponent in the final.Score in the final.
1.18 April 1994Hong Kong, UKHardUnited States Michael Chang1–6, 3–6
2.3 March 1997Philadelphia, USAHard (i)United States Pete Sampras7–5, 6–7(4–7), 3–6
3.14 April 1997Hong Kong, UKHardUnited States Michael Chang3–6, 3–6
4.26 May 1997St. Poelten, AustriaClayUruguay Marcelo Filippini6–7(2–7), 2–6
5.18 August 1997New Haven, USAHardRussia Yevgeny Kafelnikov6–7(4–7), 4–6
6.25 August 1997Long Island, USAHardSpain Carlos Moyá4–6, 6–7(1–7)
7.6 October 1997Grand Slam Cup, Munich, GermanyCarpetUnited States Pete Sampras2–6, 4–6, 5–7
8.17 May 1999Rome, ItalyClayBrazil Gustavo Kuerten4–6, 5–7, 6–7(6–8)
9.16 August 1999Cincinnati, USAHardUnited States Pete Sampras6–7(7–9), 3–6
10.10 July 2000Wimbledon, London, UKGrassUnited States Pete Sampras7–6(12–10), 6–7(5–7), 4–6, 2–6
11.13 November 2000Lyon, FranceCarpetFrance Arnaud Clément6–7(2–7), 6–7(5–7)
12.9 July 2001Wimbledon, London, UKGrassCroatia Goran Ivanišević3–6, 6–3, 3–6, 6–2, 7–9
13.6 August 2001Montreal, CanadaHardRomania Andrei Pavel6–7(3–7), 6–2, 3–6
14.13 August 2001Cincinnati, USAHardBrazil Gustavo Kuerten1–6, 3–6

Doubles (18)

Wins (10)

No.DateTournamentSurfacePartnerOpponents in FinalScore in Final
1.23 May 1994Bologna Open, Bologna, ItalyClayAustralia John FitzgeraldCzech Republic Vojtěch Flégl
Australia Andrew Florent
6–3, 6–3
2.9 January 1995Australian Hardcourt Championships, Adelaide, AustraliaHardUnited States Jim CourierZimbabwe Byron Black
Canada Grant Connell
7–6, 6–4
3.13 May 1996U.S. Men's Clay Court Championships, Pinehurst, U.S.ClayAustralia Pat CashUnited States Ken Flach
United States David Wheaton
6–2, 6–3
4.6 January 1997Australian Hardcourt Championships, Adelaide, AustraliaHardUnited States Bryan SheltonAustralia Todd Woodbridge
Australia Mark Woodforde
6–4, 1–6, 6–3
5.16 June 1997The Stella Artois Grass Court Championships, LondonGrassAustralia Mark PhilippoussisAustralia Sandon Stolle
Czech Republic Cyril Suk
6–2, 4–6, 7–5
6.16 March 1998Newsweek Champions Cup, Indian Wells, U.S.HardSweden Jonas BjörkmanUnited States Todd Martin
United States Richey Reneberg
6–4, 7–6
7.3 August 1998Mercedes-Benz Cup, Los AngelesHardAustralia Sandon StolleUnited States Jeff Tarango
Czech Republic Daniel Vacek
6–4, 6–4
8.1 February 1999Australian Open, MelbourneHardSweden Jonas BjörkmanIndia Mahesh Bhupathi
India Leander Paes
6–3, 4–6, 6–4, 6–7(10–12), 6–4
9.14 June 1999Gerry Weber Open, Halle, GermanyGrassSweden Jonas BjörkmanNetherlands Paul Haarhuis
United States Jared Palmer
6–3, 7–5
10.9 August 1999du Maurier Open, Montreal, CanadaHardSweden Jonas BjörkmanZimbabwe Byron Black
South Africa Wayne Ferreira
7–6, 6–4

Runners-up (8)

No.DateTournamentSurfacePartnerOpponents in FinalScore in Final
1.18 April 1994Salem Open, Hong KongHardSweden Jonas BjörkmanUnited States Jim Grabb
New Zealand Brett Steven
W/O
2.24 October 1994Grand Prix de Tennis de Lyon, Lyon, FranceCarpetCzech Republic Martin DammSwitzerland Jakob Hlasek
Russia Yevgeny Kafelnikov
7–6, 6–7, 6–7
3.16 October 1995IPB Czech Indoor, Ostrava, Czech RepublicCarpetFrance Guy ForgetSweden Jonas Björkman
Argentina Javier Frana
7–6, 4–6, 6–7
4.22 April 1996Bermuda Open, BermudaClayAustralia Pat CashSweden Jan Apell
South Africa Brent Haygarth
6–3, 1–6, 3–6
5.17 March 1997Newsweek Champions Cup, Indian Wells, U.S.HardAustralia Mark PhilippoussisThe Bahamas Mark Knowles
Canada Daniel Nestor
6–7, 6–4, 5–7
6.21 April 1997Japan Open Tennis Championships, TokyoHardUnited States Justin GimelstobCzech Republic Martin Damm
Czech Republic Daniel Vacek
6–2, 2–6, 6–7
7.11 August 1997Great American Insurance ATP Championship, Cincinnati, U.S.HardAustralia Mark PhilippoussisAustralia Todd Woodbridge
Australia Mark Woodforde
6–7, 6–4, 4–6
8.18 June 2001Gerry Weber Open, Halle, GermanyGrassBelarus Max MirnyiCanada Daniel Nestor
Australia Sandon Stolle
4–6, 7–6(7–5), 1–6

Performance timeline

Singles

Tournament199019911992199319941995199619971998199920002001SRW–L
Grand Slam tournaments
Australian OpenLQLQ1R1R3R4R2R1R3R3RASF0 / 915–9
French OpenAAALQ4R1R1RSF2R3R2R1R0 / 812–8
WimbledonAALQ3R2R1R4R4R4RSFFF0 / 929–9
US OpenAALQ1R3R2R1RWW1R1R4R2 / 920–7
Win–Loss0–00–00–12–38–44–44–415–313–39–47–314–42 / 3576–33
Olympic Games
Summer OlympicsNot HeldANot HeldANot Held2RNH0 / 11–1
Year-End Championship
Tennis Masters CupDid Not QualifyRRDNQRR0 / 22–4
ATP Masters Series
Indian WellsAAA1R3R3RA1R2R2R2RQF0 / 89–8
MiamiAAALQSF2RA1R1R3R4RSF0 / 713–7
Monte CarloAAAAA1RAAAAAA0 / 10–1
RomeAAAA1R1RA2R1RF1RA0 / 66–6
HamburgAAAAA2RAAAA1RA0 / 21–2
CanadaAAAA1R2RQF2RWQFQFF1 / 820–7
CincinnatiAAA1R1R3R2R3RWFAF1 / 819–7
Stuttgart (Stockholm)AAAA2RAASF2RA2RA0 / 44–4
ParisAAAA1RAA2R2RA3RA0 / 43–4
Win–Loss0–00–00–00–28–77–74–27–713–512–57–717–42 / 4875–46
Year End Ranking751293243662066622416157N/A

LQ = lost in qualifying draw

Doubles

Tournament199019911992199319941995199619971998199920002001200220032014SRW–L
Grand Slams
Australian Open2R2R1R3R2R1R1RW1R1 / 910–7
French Open1R1R3R3RSF3R2R0 / 711–6
WimbledonQFSFQFSFQF0 / 517–4
US OpenQF2R3RSF3RQF0 / 615–6
Win–Loss0–00–01–14–21–37–410–37–411–410–11–00–00–00–00–11 / 2753–23
ATP Masters Series
Indian WellsQF2RFW2RQF1 / 613–5
Miami1RSF0 / 24–1
Monte Carlo1R0 / 10–1
Rome1R1RQFQFQF0 / 56–5
HamburgQFSF0 / 25–2
Canada2RSF2RQFSFW1R1 / 714–6
Cincinnati1RSFQFF2R0 / 59–5
Stuttgart (Stockholm)2R1R0 / 21–2
ParisQF0 / 12–1
Win–Loss0–00–00–02–12–58–53–215–68–37–23–26–20–00–00–02 / 3154–28
Year End Ranking664434225646030301216191211201211N/A

ATP Tour career earnings

YearMajorsATP winsTotal winsEarnings ($)Money list rank
1997101
1998156
1999011
2000011
2001011
Career2911

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.