Re: Marat "Guga" Safin out to win French Open 05
Safin fully focused for French Open
Sun May 22, 2005 3:19 PM BST
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By Ossian Shine
PARIS, May 22 (Reuters) - Australian Open champion Marat Safin is raring to launch his French Open campaign and his form is improving daily, his coach said on the eve of the claycourt grand slam.
"We've been in Paris since Monday and Marat's game has been getting better every day," Swede Peter Lundgren said on Sunday.
"He's becoming more and more aggressive, and stepping into the court more. He appears ready for a big fortnight. I think his first two matches will be important because they are often the hardest for him."
Third seed Safin, who practised with Steffi Graf and Justine Henin-Hardenne, faces Dutchman Raemon Sluiter on Tuesday.
Lundgren, former mentor to world number one Roger Federer, says Roland Garros is Safin's favourite tournament and expects the Russian to do well.
"The conditions here suit him very well because the surfaces are faster than the other clay tournaments and he likes that.
"The quality of the courts is far superior to the other events and that helps him to settle. He likes clay, but he needs the courts to be in great condition. Here, more than at Hamburg, Rome or Barcelona, he will be able to play freely."
Lundgren said winning the Australian Open in January had taken a lot out of Safin but that the Russian was now focused once more.
"He was worn out in fact, and found it hard to focus," Lundgren said. "But since Rome, I feel his attitude has changed, and that he's ready to put his mind to playing to his full potential. We'll see."
Q. When you've played as few matches as you have over the last two, three months, did you ever lack motivation to go out and practice?
ANDY RODDICK: Motivation? No. I enjoy what I do. I enjoy what I do. You know, I've never been one to, you know, blow off practice or, you know, do anything like that.
You know, I'd be lying if I said I'm looking forward to practicing the next two days as opposed to playing here. That part is gonna suck...(2010 Aegon Championships)