Marat and the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World
"It's all in the mind ..."
Хорошая история про Марата! Зацените!
A lot of people I speak to at tournaments think that Marat Safin is boring, surly and bad-tempered. I happen to think that he is one of the most interesting people playing tennis!
Just to watch him interact with his opponent at the net after a match - win or lose - is to know what a 'nice guy' he really is!
I also hear commentators and others who are 'tennis experts' talk about how stupid he is. I was taking pictures of him practising at the China Open last September (after half an hour of trying to persuade a growing crowd of 'officials' - obsessed with protecting the top players - that photographer credentials meant being able to take pictures of players playing).
Mid way through the practice, he stopped returning volleys at the net and wondered aloud what were the 'other' Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. He came up with three of them - the Pyramids at Giza, the Colossus of Rhodes and the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, I think.
Justin Gimelstob, his practice partner, looked bemused but, finally deciding that practice was not going to resume until Marat was satisfied, suggested Niagara Falls. Marat looked at Peter Lundgren his coach who shrugged and wanted to talk about Marat's footwork at the net.
Marat looked at me. I gave him three more. Play resumed when we couldn't come up with the last one.
Now I am sure that there are many people who would regard wondering about Ancient Wonders in the middle of an important practice session before a big match as pretty strange. I am equally sure it would infuriate most coaches.
But boring and stupid? I don't think so! I happen to think it demonstrates an unsuspected complexity and depth of this interesting man.
I would love to know exactly what goes on in his head during a real match...