Marat and Lleyton's interviews
I'm obssesed with Marat and I love LLeyton. I'm going to be in heaven next year. I hope they'll be trading that #1 rank back and forth for the next few years. Anyway enjoy!!
November 3, 2002
M. SAFIN/L. Hewitt
7‑6, 6‑0, 6‑4
An interview with:
THE MODERATOR: First question for Lleyton, please.
Q. How difficult a loss is that one to swallow out there for you today?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Not that hard. You know, I felt like I've ‑‑ you know, I came into the tournament with not that high expectations. Coming in, I didn't really know what to expect, you know, not really competing for a few weeks.
So for me, it was, you know, a big thrill to get through to the final. I lost to the best player, you know, in the tournament. You know, Marat was too good today. He's been too good for everyone throughout the week.
So, yeah, I felt like I had chances out there, especially in the first set. I felt like I just hit a bit of a wall after that.
Q. Was it a general fatigue that you were feeling in that second set? You seemed to be blowing a little bit hard. Did you feel tired out there?
LLEYTON HEWITT: It was just more, I think, you know, I'm just not match tough at the moment. Just haven't played a lot of matches. That's what I came here for this week, you know. If I wasn't playing for No. 1, chances were I probably wouldn't have come this week either. I would have had another week off and try to prepare for the Australian circuit next year.
But I've got other things on my mind at the moment.
You see , I knew it the ATP screwed him over I had to try to come here and get some runs on the board. I was able to do that ‑ which gives me obviously a little more confidence going into Shanghai.
Q. Final set you did manage to start hurting him a little bit. Did you think the momentum might change there at one point?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Would have had to have been a big change. He's a tough player when he's very confident, sort of swinging out. You know, that's what happened.
You know, the first set I came back after being a break down, got back to 4‑all. Had breakpoint to serve for the first set. In the breaker, I had a couple of points, could have gone either way.
Then at the start of the second, I had 40‑15, on serve, dropped that. (Inaudible) next game to break back.
Had a lot of chances to get back into the match, just wasn't able to take them. When you give Marat a start, he's very tough to peg back.
Q. Obviously, you've got Shanghai coming up. What do you do now? Are you going to try to take a few days off from tennis or...
LLEYTON HEWITT: I'm not sure. Have to talk to Jason. It's been a big step, I guess, this week, just getting some matches under my belt. You got to try and keep it going for another week and a half, I guess, two weeks.
So, you know, I'm not really sure what I'm gonna do just yet.
Q. You're No. 1 in the world. Will you say Marat is unbeatable ‑ the way he played today and the day before?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Is he beatable? I felt like I had some chances out there. There's no doubt that you don't get many chances playing a guy like Marat when he's playing well. When you get half a chance, you have to take it straightaway. He's a very good player when he's on. He's very tough to beat.
But as I said, you know, you feel like you get some chances and then...
You know, as I said before, when he gets in the lead, he likes dictating play and going out there, free‑flowing sort of kind of player. He's very tough when he gets in front.
Q. Like Marat said, you will probably finish the year No. 1. Is that the most important today?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, it is important. But we'll wait and see. There's no probablies at the moment. I guess mathematically, it's out of Andre and myself. So I've got to go out there, I've still got to try to get some wins, I guess, next week in Shanghai and see what happens.
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November 3, 2002
M. SAFIN/L. Hewitt
7‑6, 6‑0, 6‑4
An interview with:
THE MODERATOR: Questions for Marat, please.
Q. How does that victory compare for you with two years ago? Does this one mean more because it's against Lleyton?
MARAT SAFIN: I think right now, yes, because two years ago I didn't know that I'm gonna finish the year No. 1. I still was fighting for No. 1. But it was also special, of course, 7‑6 in the fifth.
But right now I was in such a bad shape, and for me to win this tournament and beat in the finals Lleyton in three sets, I think it couldn't be any better.
Q. What was the key to the match for you today?
MARAT SAFIN: The key to the match ‑‑ is not much you can do against Lleyton. You just ‑‑ just you have to play your game and try to be focus, try to stay calm. Because you know that he gonna run all over the court and will get all the balls. He will fight and fight and fight until you break.
So if you let him ‑‑ if you show him that you are broken, the match is finished. Even in the third set, 5‑3, Love‑40, he played great tennis. He served well. He played, you know, he played really good forehand down the line. At 5‑4, he hit love‑30 on my serve. That's basically normally the match is starting.
Just I played well. I served well. So it was very important against Lleyton.
Q. Were you surprised that maybe in the second set he seemed to lack a little bit of energy?
MARAT SAFIN: For him?
MARAT SAFIN: Yeah, but I made the only break. I felt like I was playing just perfect, you know. I couldn't miss. I had so much confidence. I had all the breakpoints, that I had almost won everything, every breakpoint.
I was returning well. I was returning almost every serve. So it's... I think the second set was just perfect tennis for me. He didn't expect that, because normally after 7‑6, you get early break by Hewitt. Actually, it was 1‑0 for me, then he almost make me re‑break. He had three breakpoints.
From there, I made 2‑Love, and everything starts. I was playing well. I was feeling the ball great. That's why the score was 6‑Love.
Q. History tells us players get a liking for a certain stadium ‑ once they start playing well, they usually play well there. You won here twice now. Is that going to help you, even though the surface will be different? You're going to be back here in two weeks, but will it help you in the Davis Cup?
MARAT SAFIN: It will be different conditions. I know all the public that were here with me will, of course, support the French team. It's normal. Just I cannot do nothing. I have to play for my country. We want to win also. So it's already two teams want to win.
So just it will be three days of tough work, but that's sport. I mean, that's life. Some days you have great days; some days you have little bit more difficult.
But then I'm enjoying the sport I am playing since I am six. I'm happy to be here instead of cleaning the streets in Moscow.
Q. The fact that you haven't won a tournament this year so far, how much of a relief is that for you to get that now at the end of the year?
MARAT SAFIN: I thought actually that I will not win any tournament this year. To win in Paris, Bercy, such a big tournament, it's wonderful ‑ especially at the end of the season and also before going to Masters, I think it's even better.
(Phone ringing. )
What was the question?
Q. About winning your first tournament.
MARAT SAFIN: Yeah, also before the Shanghai, before the Masters, you need to get some confidence, you know, because you have seven players, they want to win. They are playing great and they are tough players. So you need some confidence to get there and try to do something good, try to make some good result there.
And also to have the confidence, enough confidence to win the Davis Cup.
Q. The fact that you can finish the year No. 2 in front of Andre, is it special motivation?
MARAT SAFIN: No. 3, I think it's enough for this year. I don't want to expect many things, because otherwise if you don't get there, you gonna be disappointed.
But if I will have the opportunity, of course I will fight. If I will have the opportunity to be No. 2, of course I will take it. But if not, is nothing ‑‑ is not so bad, still, you know, win one Super 9 ‑ Masters Series, sorry ‑ to finish the year playing the finals of Davis Cup, getting to the Masters, I think it's good enough.
Q. You've played, I think, every week since five weeks, I guess. How do you feel? Are you tired?
MARAT SAFIN: Yes, I am. But I have no other choice because I was trying to get some points. I was trying to get to Shanghai. That's why I had to play every week, and that's why I try to play, play and play.
Also to find my game. I wasn't playing really well, so I was trying to, you know, go from tournament to tournament and try to, you know, practice and try to find my game back.
Finally, after the week in St. Petersburg that I lost in the second round, I could make ‑‑ I could win here.
Q. Do you feel you are the man to beat in Shanghai? Are you the man to beat?
MARAT SAFIN: No, there is also seven others, you know (smiling)?
Q. I know. But if not you, who else?
MARAT SAFIN: Of course I want. I think everyone want to do it. Of course I am one of them. I want to win and I want to take all the money, take all the points and be happy and also win the Davis Cup, you know? But is not so easy.
But, yes. Yes, I want. I think I can do it. At least I will have my chances . If I can play like this for in one week, the way I played here ‑ today in the finals, and yesterday , actually during all the week ‑ you know, just with confidence, without any pressure, serving well, I think I will have my chance.
Q. Where were you when Russia played in '94, '95 Davis Cup finals? Do you recall anything?
MARAT SAFIN: I was practicing, trying to get better, actually, in Spain. But then was the final, but I was very disappointed that we lost at home against Sweden and we lost at home against States on clay. Normally you don't lose to the States at home on clay. But that's life. I think is the third time, and it's tough conditions, but there is a chance.
Q. You seem a very well‑informed guy. Is it true that two weeks ago Ronaldo went to Moscow and was with Yevgeny Kafelnikov?
MARAT SAFIN: The Russians, we have good life like the French, you know. We like to enjoy, when others coming. He's playing not bad actually, after this weekend. Good luck for him.
Q. You said you found your game back this week. How do you explain that during the year you find it, you lose it, and it's not consistent? How do you explain that?
MARAT SAFIN: I'm not consistent because my tennis game is like ‑‑ I'm not a player that is waiting for the mistakes or just, you know, can play from the baseline and can run from side to side. My tennis is 90 percent of risk. I open the court, I go down the line. If you don't feel really well, you don't have any confidence, you miss by like this (indicating small amount), then you lose the confidence and you are gone for four weeks.
Especially, you know, to come back from playing bad, and also other players that are playing good. So, you know, they can see straightaway that you have no confidence, so they kill you. Until you find your confidence ...
You see how many weeks it took me ‑ five weeks. Even more weeks. Even more.
You know, since Roland Garros that I make quarterfinals, I couldn't make anything better. Just semifinals in Moscow. I couldn't get my confidence back. I just ‑‑ I couldn't. I don't know. I was looking for it. I was frustrated. I was almost there. Then I lost again. Almost get there against Kuerten, I lost 7‑6 in the third. I lost again. Then some days was terrible tournament for me.
But finally ‑ finally ‑ yes, I have big present from Lleyton today.
Q. A couple weeks ago we heard you hired Volkov as a coach. We noticed he was not here today. Can you clarify the situation.
MARAT SAFIN: Seriously, I don't know. He was supposed to come. He couldn't come for some reason. I don't know. Seriously, I don't know.
Is the end of the year. I'm tired of thinking. I'm tired of traveling. I'm just ‑‑ I need a real, long vacation, I think.
Q. Fabrice Santoro said before the match that this final was going to be the No. 1 player in the world against the best player in the world. What do you think about that?
MARAT SAFIN: Thanks, Fabrice. Thanks very much. I still love him too ‑ very much.
He's even better, he beat me six times (laughter).
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