Australian tennis legend Pat Rafter shared his secrets for success with AIB graduates, guests and staff at the AIB Mid-Year Graduation Ceremony on June 30. Rafter, well-known as one of the nice guys of Australian tennis, began his professional tennis career in 1991. In 1997, he won his first US Open Title, beating Englishman Greg Rusedski 6–3, 6–2, 4–6, 7–5. The following year he repeated the feat at Flushing Meadows – defeating fellow Aussie Mark Philippoussis, also in four sets. A serve-volleyer, Rafter was a dual finalist in the 2000 and 2001 Wimbledon and semi-finalist in the Australian Open and French Open. With 11 ATP Singles and 10 Doubles, he is one our nation’s most successful tennis players. Rafter is respected not just for the number of tournaments he played, but for the way he played. His determination and positive attitude saw him win a second consecutive US Open Title, even after McEnroe and Sampras infamously (if inaccurately) labelled him a ‘one slam wonder’. A true Aussie, Rafter was admired for his modesty and mateship. Rafter retired from professional tennis after the 2001 Davis Cup final when he was still at the top of his game and ranked world #7. Since then, he has continued to play a key role in shaping Australian tennis. He captained the Davis Cup team for four years between 2010-2014 before joining Tennis Australia as Performance Director for two years. An awardee of the Arthur Ashe Humanitarian Award, and four ATP Stefan Edberg Sportsmanship Awards, he was also named Australian of the Year in 2002. In Rafter’s keynote address at the AIB Graduation Ceremony this year, he shared why it’s important to create your own definition of success and believe that you can achieve your goals.
Believe in yourself
“We come to many junctions in our lives where we have to make a decision on whether or not we’re going to take that next step. There were many crossroads in my life where I had to take a gamble. I did so believing in myself and having a clear goal that it was going to make things better. When you start with this frame of mind, success will find you.”
Work harder than anyone else
“Work harder than anyone else
is one of my biggest mottos in life. It is very important that you feel comfortable that you have done that work and you deserve that spot. The little one-percenters matter. When I’m training harder than anyone else, and when we finished, I’d train an extra five minutes or go for a run or climb that extra hill. All those little things will add up. I got to the top of the game and I felt I got the most out of the game and myself.”
Be the best version of yourself
“Success is being the best you can be. I was driven by a goal, a challenge in life. I wanted to be the best I could be in my chosen field and wherever it went from there was fine by me. “A lot of us actually get scared about doing our best because if we do our best and don’t reach our goal, we may consider that a failure. I say to everyone the exact opposite: If you do your very best, then that is a great achievement. To me, that is success.”
Don’t let setbacks discourage you
“The power of positive thinking really helped me in my career. It’s important to remember that opportunities arise from setbacks. If you can show your boss that you can stay positive in the face of adversity, that is very powerful. Know that you can achieve some great things in life and stay true to yourself.” Watch our post-event interview with Pat Rafter.
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