Friday January 25, 2008
TWO-time US Open winner Pat Rafter says he's glad that Roger Federer was so young when the pair played on the tour.
Former No. 1-ranked Rafter retired from the ATP Tour in 2002 with a 3-0 record against an up-and-coming Federer.
“Roger was still in his nappies when I was playing him. It was great,'' Rafter joked yesterday. “He wants me to come back so he can beat me.''
Rafter, who on Saturday will be inducted into Australia's Tennis Hall of Fame, acknowledges that Federer is a very different player to the one he last beat in 2001.
“Oh, his game's changed completely since I played him. It's a different game, different player,'' he said. “He's got a big serve, great returns ... a great athlete like all of them are now.
“I don't see a lot of weaknesses in his game. I wouldn't like to play him.''
Rafter can see the gap closing between Federer and the latest crop of young stars, but expects the Swiss star to remain dominant.
“I think everyone has got to come to a time when things start closing up. But I don't know,'' Rafter said. “To me his strength lies from Wimbledon all the way through to the US Open.''
MICHAEL Chang, the youngest man to claim a Grand Slam singles title when he won the 1989 French Open, has been elected to the International Tennis Hall of Fame, officials announced on Wednesday.
Elected posthumously were sports executive Mark McCormack, who founded sport, entertainment and media company International Management Group (IMG), and publisher Gene Scott, a former player and tournament director who founded Tennis Week magazine.
Induction ceremonies will be held at the Hall of Fame & Museum in Newport, Rhode Island on July 12. – Agencies