Rafter to focus on Davis Cup in comeback

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The Independent Online

Two-time US Open champion Pat Rafter says that he is prepared to sacrifice world rankings and disregard ATP tour rules next season in a bid to help Australia retain the Davis Cup.

Two-time US Open champion Pat Rafter says that he is prepared to sacrifice world rankings and disregard ATP tour rules next season in a bid to help Australia retain the Davis Cup.

Rafter, who was recovering from shoulder surgery when Mark Philippousis guided the Aussies to last week's Davis Cup final triumph against France, said missing the decider in Nice prompted a rethink of his comeback schedule.

"Missing the final, you realize how important Davis Cup tennis is and where I want to be," said the 26-year-old former World No. 1 at the launch Monday of his book: "Rocket to the Top - on the road with Patrick Rafter."

"I would have liked to have been part of (Australia's campaign) more," said Rafter, who is hitting balls in practice and is on target for a January comeback.

He underwent surgery on his right shoulder in October after pulling out of the New York tournament in August following an injury plagued six months. He also missed the chance to defend his US Open title and Australia's Davis Cup semifinal against Russia.

Rafter said he had "every event penciled in" next year but would monitor his fitness before deciding whether or not to play in any tournament, despite new ATP rules which require top-ranked players to compete in the nine events which comprise the Masters series.

"The ranking doesn't mean anything to me next year. I don't like where (the ATP) have put the tournaments," Rafter said. "And if I went (overseas) I would find myself being injured or trying to chase points and it's not worth it."

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