Pat Rafters self-effacing grace and charm has captured millions of admirers in Australia and around the world. In realising his full potential on the tennis court he has always acknowledged the prowess of his opponents and has made significant contributions back to his nation.
Pat was born in 1972, the seventh of nine children. His early years were spent living in the outback mining town of Mount Isa, Queensland. When he was eight his parents Jim and Jocelyn moved the family to Eumundi on the hinterland of the Sunshine Coast. He sees his family as an important part of his career success.
He started playing tennis on the hot bitumen courts of Mount Isa. His attempt to gain entrance into the Australian Institute of Sport was unsuccessful. Undeterred Pat went on to win many career titles including back to back US Opens in 1997- 98. Written off by many as a "one slam wonder" after his first US Open, his response was to acknowledge the possibility and win the following year. Pat has an unfailing commitment to fair play.
In 1997, he returned appearance money when he lost in France. He said, "I didn't do a good job, so why should I get paid for it?" In 2001, after coming runner up at Wimbledon for two years running his first thought was to warmly congratulate Goran Ivanisevic.
Although the glory of tennis is largely achieved as a singles player, Pat places priority on playing as part of a team. Pat firmly believes that he has a responsibility to, "put more back in that I take out".
In addition to supporting environmental causes, he set up his own Cherish the Children Foundation aimed at giving assistance to kids wherever they need it. Conquering the world with a self-deprecating sense of humour and giving as freely as he receives, Pat does it with ease.