Sexy Pat reveals brief aspect of tennis attire

PUBLISHED : Friday, 09 April, 1999, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 09 April, 1999, 12:00am

What does the sexiest man alive wear under his tennis shorts? US Open champion Patrick Rafter says he doesn't really have a preference.

'My mates wanted me to say I wear none, but that's not true. I wear either boxers or briefs, depending on the occasion.' But on court he is dressed by Reebok, his sponsor. Patrick, in town for the Salem Open, last played in the tournament in 1997, when he lost to Michael Chang in the final. He also lost the final during his first visit in 1994. He crashed out of this year's event in the first round, upset by unheralded German Bernd Karbacher.

'For some reason I have been struggling to get wins this year, even though I have been playing quite well in practice,' the US Open winner in 1997 and 1998 says.

Patrick, currently ranked world number five, grew up in a large family in Mount Isa, a mining town in Queensland, Australia. His father, formerly an accountant, now runs two sandwich shops and a bakery.

'My brothers and sisters are proud of my achievements,' he says, but he doesn't get big-headed because 'with eight brothers and sisters, you can't have much arrogance'.

But back to his sex symbol status. Patrick was mystified to be voted one of the sexiest men in the world by People magazine.

'It's just a flavour of the month thing. I'm still the same guy as four years ago when I was considered a nobody.' But he must be a somebody now because he has dated a succession of Dutch beauties and is currently attached to model Lara Feltham.

What does he look for in a girl friend? 'I like her to be independent, have a happy disposition, a sense of humour and be cute.' And has he had more dates since being named one of the sexiest men alive? 'Not that I've noticed. Generally girls say, 'How did you get the sexiest man title? You have crooked teeth and long hair'.'