STATOIL MASTERS TENNIS
Rafter Wins Second London Crown
A masterclass serve and volley display saw Patrick Rafter win his second Statoil Masters Tennis title on Sunday evening as he defeated Tim Henman 6-3, 6-1 at the Royal Albert Hall. The Australian Davis Cup captain had previously lifted the trophy in 2009.
"That's the best tennis that I've played since I've been doing these events," said Rafter. "I feel like I found something in my game, which is weird at 40 years of age. I feel like I'm actually still working on things.
"I've enjoyed it. I always love being in London with the family and the kids at this time of year. it's been a great week for me.
"I love winning! I think it's important that the crowd knows that too. That's what it's all about. Having a go and trying your hardest. You have fun, but it's still really competitive."
The 40-year-old Rafter, a two-time US Open champion, powered through to the title without the loss of a set this week, beating Greg Rusdeski and Goran Ivanisevic in the group stages.
“It went my way early on,” said Rafter. “Tim had a few break points and could have gone up early; it's all about momentum and confidence. I was lucky to get out of a couple of early service games and from there played really well."
From 4-3 in the first set, Rafter reeled off five straight games to clinch the opener and set up a commanding second-set lead. He served Ivanisevic off the court on Saturday and produced more of the same against Henman. The Australian kept Henman under pressure and drew errors in the sixth game to break for a 5-1 lead. Camped out at the net, Rafter served out the victory to 30.
“If you want to serve like that, you can have three operations on your shoulder and have it all reconstructed, that's fun!” joked Rafter. “I stay pretty fit at home. I stopped [playing on the tour] when I was 28. I was still relatively young and pretty fresh, and then I took a few years away from playing tennis.”
Henman said, “Pat's playing fantastically well. Every match this week, he's shown he's been the best player here. He was too good for me, he's serving unbelievable. I could have done everything a little bit better, but the way Pat's playing, his consistent level is very impressive.”