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Patrick Rafter

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Patrick Michael Rafter (born December 28 1972) is a former World No. 1 tennis player from Australia. He is best remembered as a two-time men's singles champion at the US Open, and a two-time runner-up at Wimbledon. Rafter is well known for his attacking serve and volley game and possessed one of finest volleys in the game.

Rafter was born in 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 longtime girlfriend Lara Feltham (with whom he has a son) at a resort in Fiji.

Contents

Career

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

Rafter's major breakthorugh came in 1997 at the US Open, when he reached the final against Greg Rusedski and won in four sets to claim his first Grand Slam title.

In 1998, he reached the US Open final again and defeated fellow Aussie player Mark Philippoussis in four sets. He also won five other tour singles titles that year.

In July 1999, Rafter obtained the World No. 1 men's singles ranking. However he held it for just one week, making him the shortest-reigning World No. 1 in tour history.

Rafter won the Australian Open men's doubles title in 1999 (with Jonas Bjrkman).

In 2000, Rafter reached the men's singles final a Wimbledon where he faced Pete Sampras who was gunning for a record-breaking seventh title. Rafter took the first set, but "choked" part way through the second set, and was never able to get back into the match. Sampras won in four sets.

In 2001, Rafter made the Wimbledon final again. He faced Goran Ivanisevic, who had reached the Wimbledon final three times before but had slid down the world rakings to No. 125 following injury problems. After a titanic five-set struggle, lasting just over three hours, Ivanisevic prevailed 6-3, 3-6, 6-3, 2-6, 9-7.

Rafter was on the Australian Davis Cup teams which lost in the final in 2000 (to Spain) and 2001 (to France). He was ironically unable to play in the 1999 Davis Cup final - where Australia beat France to win the cup - because of injury.

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

Rafter retired from the professional tour at the end of 2002. During his career he won 11 singles titles and 10 doubles titles.

Grand Slam singles finals

Wins (2)

Year     Championship            Opponent in Final          Score in Final
1997     U.S. Open               Greg Rusedski              6-3, 6-2, 4-6, 7-5
1998     U.S. 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 Ivanisevic           6-3, 3-6, 6-3, 2-6, 9-7

External links

  • Official ATP Profile (http://www.atptennis.com/en/players/playerprofiles/default2.asp?playernumber=R255)


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