Hamburg, 14 May 2007
Press Conference with MARAT SAFIN
Safin - Massu 7:6 (7), 6:4
Q: Well done. Good to get that win, but it was an up and down match.
First the long lead… What was the reason for these changes?
SAFIN: I started pretty well. I guess he was a little cold. He was pretty nervous, so he could not play his game. He took advantage at 4:0. He just had nothing to lose. I made a couple of mistakes. I did nothing wrong but he just went for it. And it went his way. He just came up to 5:4. The second break was tough for me because I was getting a bit nervous. I did not want to lose this opportunity. I wanted to close the set.
Basically in all the games I had deuce or advantage. It was very close and I could not make it. In the tiebreak I was very disappointed because I had my chances an was playing the right game. Finally it went my way. Unfortunately sometimes the luck is not on my side. Sometimes I miss by a little bit.
Q: It is nice to win a match that had so many challenges in it for you, isn't it?
SAFIN: Very nice. Also for the confidence. I am not really in a great position right now. These kind of matches give me a lot of opportunity and confidence.
Eventually my game has to come back because I am playing well, moving around really well, my fitness is great, doing the right things. Sometimes I just make some mistakes and everything goes the other way round. Especially now against Ferrero. I just have to take it match by match and make sure I take it point by point. Work, work, work and wait for opportunities.
Q: You brought your ranking right back from somewhere outside the Top 100 to somewhere in the 20ies. Does that mean your confidence is going up with it?
SAFIN: I finished the year 24. From middle of August until end of the season, I lost a lot of matches 7:6 in the third, 7:6 in the fifth against Haas in the US Open, Nalbandian, Madrid, then 7:6 in the semifinal to Blake in Bankog. Then 7:6, 7:6 to Clement in semi finals in Washington. If I would win 2 of these matches I would be Top 20. This year I was also very close to beating Davydenko. I had four match points against Vliegen in Monte Carlo. I was close to beat Roddick in Australia. So it's just something that did not go my way. I am also disappointed because I am stuck between 30 and 20 and don't move up. I need to defend the points in the second part of the season. So luck better starts to be on my side.
Hopefully it will come my way.
Q: The tennis is there so is it a mental breakthrough you have to make?
SAFIN: It's just one, two points. I never lost one easy match. I'm running around, I want to play, I'm fighting. Just the last chance slips away.
Q: Is the knee 100%?
SAFIN: Yes, I'm moving around okay. I'm not getting tired. I'm perfect. I work a lot on the physical condition which is very important for me. Now it's a different part that is missing.
Q: The conditions can be slow and heavy here, but you've done well here before. Do you mind the conditions here?
SAFIN: Sometimes it's a bit slow. It depends on the weather. The balls can get heavy. But for the past few years, the balls have changed. Dunlop is a bit heavier than Head. It's okay. It's a little slower than Rome, but it's definitely not too slow. Today I had some bad bounces and mishits. I was a bit tough for me today.
Q: The ATP have been planning a lot of changes to the Tour. Do you have an opinion on that?
SAFIN: I think the people, who are in the positions to make the choices, I hope they know what they are doing.
I don't want to get involved. We have to let it be and let the people at the top make their choices. We can play tennis but we can't change and make everybody happy. I'm sure that whoever is taking care of it knows what he is doing.
Once we have him, let's give him a chance for 4, 5 years to see how it goes. It can't be worse than it used to be. When Mark Miles left, we had no chances. It was going bankrupt, no money. At least we have a lot of sponsors. It is getting better. It's picking up, but we have to believe in our people and make sure to support them, even though they make mistakes.
Unfortunately, you want progress without any mistakes. People or tennis players should understand this, not to criticize if somebody makes a small mistake. They should not be shouting.
We just have to let it be.