By JOHN PYE, AP Sports Writer
June 23, 2004
WIMBLEDON, England (AP) -- Marat Safin wants everyone to know he's sorry.
A day after saying he gave up during a first-round loss at Wimbledon and was through trying to succeed at the tournament, Safin issued a statement through the ATP on Wednesday backing off those statements.
``I would like to apologize for my unfortunate remarks following my loss on Tuesday. I was very frustrated about my early exit and that despite my serious preparations and my early arrival to London, I was unable to perform the way I wanted,'' Safin said.
`I know I said things that deep inside I never meant, as I really appreciate the importance of this event.''
The 2000 U.S. Open champion was beaten by fellow Russian Dmitry Tursunov 4-6, 7-5, 6-3, 7-6 (1). Safin watched shots fly past during the final points of his first opening-round defeat at a major since the 2000 Australian Open.
Safin cursed at the chair umpire, muttered to himself, smashed rackets and spat.
``I don't like to play on this surface. I cannot move there. Every time, I don't know how it's going to bounce. It's really a nightmare for me,'' Safin said Tuesday. ``After a while, I get bored. I lost completely motivation, and I give up.''
Talking about his difficulties on grass, Safin added, ``I cannot adjust to this. You have to be really focused in your mind, but this is not my territory.''
On Wednesday, he changed his tune.
``I want to assure you all that I will be back in the coming years,'' his statement said. ``I will show my fans that I keep trying and don't give up so quickly. Tennis is my life and passion, and my poor record on grass won't stop this. See you next year.''