Davis Cup captain Pat Rafter nearly lost his cool on court yesterday as he fought desperately for Lleyton Hewitt’s crucial tie to be suspended due to bad light. But he didn’t – and it’s for that reason that he is considering walking away from the game.
Rafter was tantalisingly close to dropping the f-bomb as he pleaded with the tournament referee – with all the conviction of a wet lettuce leaf – to postpone the match at 4-3 in the fifth set. The official declined and Hewitt’s Swiss opponent, Stanislas Wawinka, was able to narrowly hold serve and take the match to 5-3, at which point play was suspended. Hewitt went back the next day and promptly lost his serve, which meant Australia missed out on qualifying for the Davis Cup World Group.
While Rafter is universally acknowledged as “one of those nice guys” – it’s a perception that he says he wishes he could change.
“Maybe if I wasn’t such a pathetic walkover I’d have had a chance getting the game postponed,” Rafter vented to ThePublicApology.
“But I’m just not confrontational. Do you remember when I lost to Goran Ivanisevic at Wimbledon all those years ago? Geez, any normal Aussie tennis player would have lost their marbles. But I just smiled, shook the Croatian’s hand and said ‘the better guy won’.”
Rafter said that years of Uncle Tobys endorsements, a drama-free marriage, countless accolades and peer-voted awards, not to mention shit-loads of money from an enormously prosperous tennis career, had left him impotent of rage.
“I want to fire up, I really do,” he admitted. “But it’s just not in me.”
“I look at a bloke like Lleyton [Hewitt] – who can come out with an ugly racist slur or lambast a gangly 16-year-old ball boy and get away with it because he’s combative – with absolute envy. John McEnroe was another of my boyhood idols… I really respect those blokes for speaking their mind.”
“But I feel umpires take me for granted in that they know I’m a nice bloke and I’ll probably shrug my shoulders and accept the ruling. But I can’t even bring myself to swear in public! Fiddlesticks!!”
Several sporting pundits are calling for Rafter’s head, with noted cunt Mark Philippoussis emerging as the number one candidate for Australian Davis Cup team captain. The Poo, however, was too busy banging his way around the Greek Islands on a US$3 million yacht to respond toThePublicApology by time of publishing.
Others have mooted Liberal MP and former tennis great John Alexander as a possible replacement for Rafter. But Alexander quashed rumours of a comeback, adding that his constituents were no longer the tennis-loving public, but the wealthy pensioners of Sydney’s lower North Shore.
“These baby boomers with their swollen super funds and lengthy share portfolios need me to be the overpaid celebrity face of their [Bennelong] electorate,” he said.
By Dave Edwards