9 JANUARY 2008
PRESS CONFERENCE - MARAT SAFIN
Q. Marat, it was pretty quick out there. Did you even surprise
yourself how easy you did it?
A. Well, of course, such a long time I didn't play such great
tennis, first be surprised the way I played and the way I
started to play from the beginning, so pretty impressive
Q. Does it change your mind about the colour of the court? Do
you like it now?
A. Well, it's just, it's a little bit different for me. Like,
it's kind of weird because always, I played for ten years
here in Australia, was green, so now it's all of a sudden
blue, and it's really, like, too bright and I think they
should maybe mix up some colours. But only my opinion. It
doesn't mean I'm complaining.
Australia was always green,
but the green colour no more. Even the sides in Australian
Open are still green and the rest is blue, so it's pretty
Q. Does it actually make a difference on the court?
A. It's not as cool. Of course, we are going to get used to
it, but just - why blue?
Q. You were practising with David Nalbandian today when he
hurt his back. Did he show much discomfort when you were
hitting up with him?
A. Well, we played a couple of games and he didn't really run
a lot on the court and he didn't tell me what was going on.
I don't think players want to share their problems with
other players just in case, and then I found out afterwards
that he was stretching pretty long time in the locker room
today, and I think it was, he got hurt in the practice.
Q. Marat, you were pretty aggressive out there today?
A. Well, if I'm not aggressive I have no chance to play
against anybody and to try to beat somebody like a top 10
players guy, a guy from the top 10. I need to be
aggressive - that's my game - and to keep their, the points
pretty short; otherwise I start to run a little bit and it
starts to get complicated.
Q. You looked in very good touch, though. Are you positive
about how the next two weeks might go?
A. I've been working pretty hard and I've been one month and a
half practising hard, practising seven hours a day, so I
think it should be paying off at the end of the day, so I'm
waiting, expecting something to come.
Q. Is it a goal to get back, all the way back into the top 10
in the world?
A. I'm 60 in the world, so for me to get into the top 50 is
already a big goal, and from there I'll take the top 30,
and step by step. I don't have high expectations because
it's pressure I don't need at all. I think if I manage
myself not to break myself on the way, I think I'll be
somewhere around top 20, and from there it is easy to think
about top 10.
Q. Marat, you play Andy Roddick next game. You are three and
four against Roddick. Aside from that, how would you
describe your rivalry with him?
Q. How do you describe your rivalry with him?
A. Well, I beat him first, I think, couple of times at the
beginning of his career and - this is what you are asking?
Q. Forget the numbers but, you know, do you like playing
against him? Do you like beating him? How do you feel
playing against him?
A. Oh, he's complicated tennis player because he's just, he
serves well. So first of all he serves well, and then when
he's in the rhythym, everyone gets to try them. Then you
have to break the rhythm because then you have to play much
faster and then basically you are going all the time behind
him. So it's just break the rhythm, maybe take some time
between the serves, but just a few things you have to make
just so long, because when he's in the mood he's pretty
tough. He just serves, serves, serves, and then he builds
up the point with the forehand, and then he start to get
much more comfortable on the court, and that's what makes a
huge difference. Then he puts a lot of pressure on an
opponent's serve, starts to play without missing any balls,
everything from the backhand, and makes things complicated
for the opponent.
Q. Marat, you said you have been working very hard and you
obviously - how long is it since you felt this good? How
long, would you say?
A. How many years - long, many years. Just, I needed that,
because I've been suffering still from the, from my knee
injury. That took me quite a long time to recover. And
then also to play against good players, I was not a hundred
per cent fit. I couldn't do things to work on my legs, so
I had to be careful with that. I couldn't run for a long
time and I change completely my movements on the court, so
I was kind of struggling with my game because I lost it
completely due to my injury, so I had to develop some other
game and, of course, it went, was getting worse, worse and
worse, until I had to stop, and start to get healthy again
and build up some muscles in my legs to make sure it
doesn't, I don't break my knee, and just so I can hold on
and I can run around the court and be much faster, because
the tennis became much, much faster than the years before.
The players are very fit, and to be able to play against
them you need to be a hundred per cent, otherwise there's
no chanced to be round top 20 and to play, to be in 60 in
the world is not really my goal.
Q. I mean, when you won the Australian Open three years ago
you came from very low down in the rankings; do you feel
the same way again, or is it different?
A. First of all, just tiring to make comebacks all the time;
so first of all it was the elbow, then it was the wrist,
and then it was the knee, and all the time I had to come,
climb back from 80s in the world, 100s in the world, and
it's just kind of tiring. And there's a lot of pressure
because people expect you, and they put you on a clock:
"When you going to come back to the top 20, top 10?" So
the injury was a different story, but it's just been a pain
in the arse, to put it simply, to be in that position all
Q. Do you know?
A. No. Finally I feel pretty secure and I can wait for some
Q. You don't worry about your ranking at this stage?
A. Of course I worry about my ranking, but I have nothing to
defend. I have no points left, so I can just play my
matches, and I'm pretty sure I can't get any lower than
that - I hope.