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Rafter Finds Perfect Practice Partner In Delray Beach

Delray Beach, U.S.A.

Ivo Karlovic, Pat Rafter© Matt DunnIvo Karlovic and Patrick Rafter practise together in Delray Beach.

Former World No. 1 Patrick Rafter found a fitting practice partner ahead of his ATP Champions Tour clash against American John McEnroe, hitting with Croatian Ivo Karlovic on Monday at the Delray Beach International Tennis Championships. Karlovic is contesting the ATP World Tour 250 hard-court tournament this week in Delray Beach.

“It’s perfect hitting with Karlovic ahead of my final with McEnroe tomorrow,” said Rafter. “McEnroe does low little sliding shots which is quite similar to Ivo so that’s been good preparation.”

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Rafter also drew comparisons between his game and that of the 6’10” Croat’s: “I like hitting with guys that serve and volley because I’d like to see serve-and-volley come back. Ivo seems like a really nice guy, and boy is he a big guy, so obviously his game is going to be a little bit different to the way I play. But generally it’s the same sort of ideas of getting to the net and covering the net and having a penetrating volley.”

But the 37-year-old Rafter admitted his relief at not having to confront Karlovic’s most lethal weapon. “Thank God I didn’t face any of his serves today,” he said. “I would have had to guess and I wouldn’t have had any fun out there. I was sort of dreading it to be honest. I didn’t even really want to see it. Didn’t want to know about it.”

The 33rd-ranked Karlovic, the No. 2 seed this week at the ATP World Tour 250 tournament, will play Germany’s Philipp Petzschner in his first-round match Tuesday.

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