Safin on Wimbledon: I was bored, unmotivated and gave up
Marat Safin - Interview
Tuesday, June 22, 2004
THE MODERATOR: Questions for Marat, please.
Q. Was it encouraging to have Boris Yeltsin there, or did you feel pressure?
MARAT SAFIN: No, just I didn't felt like -- playing, I didn't felt like -- I couldn't -- I didn't any like -- I didn't felt comfortable there.
Like I said, I don't like to play on this surface. I don't feel like I'm moving. I cannot move there. Every time, I don't know how it's gonna bounce. So it's like a really nightmare for me.
So after a while, just I get bored. I lost completely motivation, and I give up.
Q. Have you played on that court before?
MARAT SAFIN: Yeah, a couple of times.
Q. You haven't lost?
MARAT SAFIN: No, because other people, they withdraw.
Q. Do you think you'll come back, or do you think you'll just give up on Wimbledon?
MARAT SAFIN: No, I give up on Wimbledon. Is definitely not the tournament for me. I give up on spending time on this courts. I give up on practicing before the tournament, just to prepare myself for better results.
I hate. I hate this. I have to admit it. I'm not really enjoying playing on this courts. So I just, you know, come like other people - Friday, Saturday before the tournament. Practice a couple of days, then I play. I'm not gonna spend my time, not gonna waste my time on that knowing, though, that I will not play well.
Q. Have you always felt this way about grass?
MARAT SAFIN: I never could move. That's what's my problem. Was always a problem for me. I was sliding. Bounce is very low for me. Just I hate also when it's like very low bounce, and sometimes bad bounces.
I mean, it's for everybody it's like this. But for me, especially for my game, I cannot adjust to this. You have to be really focus in your mind, but it's not my territory.
Q. Did you go out last night or anything? I mean, do you take a different approach here and just kind of say...
MARAT SAFIN: No, I try to be serious. I try to be serious. I came here one week before, and I was practicing quite a lot. I spend a lot of time on the courts. I didn't go out last night, and I didn't had fun. I was trying to prepare myself and try to -- I know -- give myself another chance.
But I think it's the last one.
Q. How has Lundgren helped you? What do you hope to get out of this relationship?
MARAT SAFIN: What do you mean?
Q. Just, your coach.
MARAT SAFIN: Yeah.
Q. I mean, how has he helped you?
MARAT SAFIN: Yeah, but what he can -- about Wimbledon or about what?
Q. Just in general.
MARAT SAFIN: Well, I mean, we didn't make any results yet, any incredible results. So we have to work on that. Unfortunately, I was prepared for Paris. I was playing good. But I couldn't finish that particular tournament.
Then here, which is second big tournament we're playing, is not like the tournament to show my best results.
But he's trying to support. He's trying to, you know, like put a little bit -- be a little bit motivated, be a little bit positive.
But not yet. The results not coming yet.
But I think it's good. It's really good for me. I don't want to speak about this tournament. But be seriously, be honest, like it's coming, second part of the year. I think it's gonna be much better.
He is pretty good person. He knows what he is doing. I trust him more than 100%, and the results will come soon.
Q. You had such a great result in Australia, so people should expect great things from you outside of Wimbledon.
MARAT SAFIN: Probably. Wimbledon, let's not talk about Wimbledon. It's not really the place to, you know -- is not my surface. Is not my territory. I just -- is like I didn't play that tournament.
Because it's still coming, like long American tour. That's what I'm trying to focus. Is two big Super 9s, then there is Olympics, then there is US Open. So that's what I'm trying to focus.
Q. Did your blisters heal?
MARAT SAFIN: Yeah, yeah. Perfect.
Q. Strange, wasn't it?
MARAT SAFIN: I don't know. Nobody knew what it was. I don't know.
Q. Could we see your hand?
MARAT SAFIN: No, it's perfect (showing hands).
Q. That's amazing.
MARAT SAFIN: Amazing blisters or amazing...
Q. No, it's an amazing recovery.
MARAT SAFIN: The recovery (smiling).
Q. Is there any chance this will be a very low moment and in the middle of August we'll see you with a gold medal around your neck in Athens?
MARAT SAFIN: Like I said many times, and I'm still insisting that the Olympics is not for tennis. Tennis doesn't need the Olympic Games. It's not my best -- it's not my goal in my life to win Olympic Games and say to everybody that I have Olympic gold medal.
We have four Grand Slams. We have Super 9s. We have a lot of tournaments. We have pretty tough schedule. And now we gonna have Olympics. I mean, of course it's gonna be -- it's every four years. But, still, it's little bit -- it's more like for amateur sports. Of course it's like for swimmers, for runners, it's great. Then triathlon, all these things that for them, Olympic Games is huge. They have World Cup once a year, European Cup once a year. There's not many tournaments they have. So they prepare basically for six months to go to this tournaments.
We are playing almost every week, and we are gonna have Olympic Games. We are professional sport. Let's see, like nobody from NBA basically playing. Because everybody says is student from the colleges, right? I mean, of course they gonna bring some big guys just to, you know, to play, just to make it more entertaining. But the tennis doesn't need this.
Q. So why are you playing?
MARAT SAFIN: Why I'm playing?
MARAT SAFIN: It's not because -- because I have to play for Russia. Because I have to. I have to do it. But is not my goal in my life to win the Olympic Games.
Ask Marc Rosset. He will tell you the same. He won it. He is not really proud of it, and just saying, "I won the Olympic Games. It's great. It feels unbelievable," and it's the best thing that will happen in his life.
Q. What is your big goal right now?
MARAT SAFIN: For me, it's the Grand Slams. I think for tennis players, is nothing bigger than the Grand Slams. And nothing will be bigger than that, not even Masters at the end of the year. Of course it's huge. But you're most known for Grand Slams. That's how it was, how it is, and how it will be.
Q. Have you had chats with Yevgeny about this?
MARAT SAFIN: Yeah, but Yevgeny is the same, probably the same. You don't get this special feeling. Of course you more playing for your country than you playing for yourself.
But just all they do is like different way. Are teams. So they change something. Because it's not -- I'm not excited. I'm not excited at all to go there.
But, first of all, look at the schedule we have. We have two Super 9s, we have to go to Olympics, and we have to fly back to the States. So it's also little bit not... not good.
And then they try to, you know -- then the players, they have to perform here and there, and they have jetlag also. If you gonna play well in Olympic Games, you might not play very well in US Open. And after two tough Super 9s, you have to fly to Olympic Games and then prepare yourself well there. It's really tough schedule.
Q. Is this why guys are getting hurt more often?
MARAT SAFIN: Of course. Because you have a very long years. Like, for example, Ferrero, he's basically finish for this year. Because he played -- he finish last year. What he played? Masters, and he had to fly in Australia for the Davis Cup. From there he had to come back and already he had no time even to rest. He has to prepare for next season. And that's why he got hurt. That's why basically he's suffering for this year, that he can't do anything.
Then the people, they wondering what happen to them. I mean, look at our schedule. We have no time even to rest.
And I think it's -- they have to change something, for sure. Think a little bit about the players and try to make the schedule a little bit shorter so the players, they can perform well.
Also, the people, they don't want to pay for -- in my opinion, every time -- you basically can see the person every week. So the people not excited to see Ferrero, to see Federer. Because you can see in Halle, or you can drive one hour and you already are in Rosmalen. So it's like it's not interesting anymore for the people.
That's why I see so many times there's empty stadiums. Grand Slams are huge. That's why they doing well.
Q. How disappointing is it not to be going further here?
MARAT SAFIN: Huh?
Q. How disappointing is it not to be able to keep playing here?
MARAT SAFIN: It's okay. Like I said, it's not my biggest goal. I tried and I tried, but it doesn't work. Really, is not my tournament where I can play well because I don't feel comfortable. I cannot move. For me, it's difficult to play my tennis.
So basically, I have to focus on play well in other surfaces, which is clay; I can play on hard courts, indoors. Basically, this tournament, not many people that can play here.
Q. Bud's favorite surface is grass.
MARAT SAFIN: Not for me (laughing).
Q. When you're playing Dmitry, are you playing a Russian or an American?
MARAT SAFIN: No, but he's from my club. He's from Russia and he will be Russian. It's just a little bit -- "Surfing Dude," we call him.
Q. You still love tennis, or do you tend to get bored with it?
MARAT SAFIN: No, I love tennis. I just don't like grass (smiling).