US Open 1997,1998
Pat Rafter was the second youngest of nine children, which meant any delusions of grandeur he might have had were knocked out of him from an early age. Modest, popular, yet determined, Rafter's serve volley style of play lit up the tennis scene in the late 1990s. Rafter made his Grand Slam debut at the 1992 Australian Open where he lost in the opening round. After rising in the rankings to number 20 at the end of 1994 Rafter struggled to maintain his form with big expectations from his compatriots in 1995. Rafter worked hard to improve his serve and volleys and by 1997 was a much improved player. At the French Open Rafter made it to the semis before losing to Sergi Bruguera in four sets. At the US Open Rafter beat Andre Agassi in four sets in the fourth round, Magnus Larsson in straight sets in the quarters, Michael Chang in straight sets in the semis and Greg Rusedski in the final in four sets to take his first Grand Slam title. Defending his title the following year, Rafter outplayed top seed and favourite Pete Sampras in five sets in the semis before beating his compatriot Mark Philippoussis in four sets in the final. At Wimbledon 1999 Rafter lost in the semis to Andre Agassi. A shoulder injury dogged Rafter throughout late 1999 and early 2000. At the 1999 US Open Rafter wasn't match fit and had to retire in a fifth set against Cedric Pioline in the opening round. At Wimbledon 2000 Rafter was still not match fit but he hit form, beating Agassi in five sets in the semis before losing to Sampras in four sets in the final, a match he should have won. At the 2001 Australian Open Rafter beat Tim Henman in the fourth round and Dominic Hrbaty in the quarters before losing to Agassi in five sets in the semis. At Wimbledon he beat Agassi in five sets in the semis before losing one of the greatest Wimbledon finals ever to Goran Ivanisevic 9-7 in the fifth set. At the US Open Rafter lost in the fourth round to Sampras and retired at the end of the year.
© GRAND SLAM TENNIS ARCHIVE
HEAD TO HEAD Win-Loss: A.Agassi 3-4, B.Becker 1-0, S.Bruguera 0-4, M.Chang 1-0, A.Costa 0-1, R.Federer 1-0, G.Ivanisevic 1-2, T.Johansson 1-0, R.Krajicek 1-0, C.Moya 0-1, T.Muster 1-0, P.Sampras 1-2
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