Great itw, luly
Any Spanish speakers want to render this into intelligible English for us?
Here you are
"The hardest thing is being alone"
JUAN JOSÉ MATEO - Paris - 30/05/2010
Marat Safin (Moscow, Russia, 1980), former world number one shows up on Philippe Chatrier as a magnet: the now vice-president of the Russian Federation and Olympic Committee member for his country, draws all eyes to him while talking to this daily.
Question. Who can beat Rafael Nadal at Roland Garros?
Reply. It's very complicated. Everyone knows that it is almost an impossible mission. You can only beat him in the first rounds. When he reaches the quarterfinals or semifinals it's impossible. There he is a machine. Then, well ... they have to run! To suffer! They must try at least!
Q. Are you happy to no longer be the one who runs and who suffers?
R. It's different. Now I have another kind of stress. Yes, I have time to think, to relax, to talk and to not be alone. On the court you're alone. That is the hardest part. You are away all year, with your team, but it's all the same because at the end of the day you are still alone. It's complicated.
P. You won two Grand Slams and two Davis Cups, but you left the feeling that you could have won much more. What would have happened if you had taken more care of yourself or if you had played less?
P. I was unlucky. I got injured a lot. I would play a year and then I get injured the next. I reached the number one in Miami 2001. The ATP forced me to play because if I didn't I wouldn't get the bonus (cash for entering as a top 10 in the Masters). I was 20. It was a million and a half dollars. If I don't play a Masters I lose 30%. Two and I lose 60%. Three, I get no money. For me that was a lot of money, because you never know what will happen in the future. Who reads this might say: 'What a moneysucker!'. But, no. I'm not a moneysucker at all! But I was 20, I came from having nothing and I couldn't say no. And anyone who says it is an hypocrite. 'I don't take the money because health is more important?' It's true, but put yourselves in my place and don't make that decision. I'd like to see it. You would be hypocrites.
P. How is Marat as a person?
R. People are usually very wrong about me. A lot. A person when speaking is different (from playing). It's impossible. People must not judge a book by it's cover. They make an opinion without knowing the person.
P. Female russian tennis players say your mother was very hard as a coach.
R. She demanded a lot. But all the same, that was the only way. Dementieva has a spectacular career, Myskina good, my sister (Dinara, former world number one), me ... maybe at times she was a bit too much, but it worked. She'd hit me sometimes to get me in shape, but that's normal. It's difficult to separate when you are training from when you're at home, make a division. You are together 24 hours a day, she's your coach, your mother. It's difficult. And you get tired of that person: she of me, I of her.
P. Yout friend Davydenko won the 2009 Masters Cup and said: "I will celebrate it with my wife. I'm not Safin. He'd go to bed with three women!"
R. Well, thanks for the advertising. I think he would also like to do that. We have to celebrate! Let him bring his wife!
P. "The Spaniards work. We Russians enjoy life."
R. I never said that. The boom that created what Spain is in recent years, with everything, fashion, design, tourism, construction, house buying ... now in all business sectors in the main markets there are Spaniards. They won the European Championship. Look at Telefónica (Spanish major communications company), they cover all of South America! The Spaniards have balance, they know how to work and play. We Russians have another balance, but more extreme: we work more and we enjoy more!
P. Why do the Spanish players succeed?
R. Because they are hardworkers. The coaches learned a lot in recent years, they opened to the world, they are showing themselves. Before they all played alike: they were just claycourters, and that was the end of it. They would never come to the net, and that was it. Second serve throughout the entire match. Not now! Now they dominate the sport: Nadal, Ferrero, Ferrer, Verdasco, Montanes, Lopez ... and it continues. They are hardworkers, they interact, they learn because they communicate. They like to improve.
P. Is that why you went to train in Valencia?
R. Things were very bad (in Russia). I wanted to train, to work. Now Russian kids they have no time for anything: they spend all their time in traffic, it's all very complicated for them, we must make it easier. The country is too big! You have up to nine hours in flights. You can get all the talent you want. And that's my job.
P. What did you lose trying to climb the Himalayas?
R. It was a time in my life when I wanted to stop. Things were going in some direction, but I didn't know where. It's not that I wanted to meditate, listen to Buddha and be tranquil. No. My friends were going to the Himalayas and I wanted to go with them. I told them, 'I won't bother you, I'll follow you with my backpack, and that's it'. I was there a few weeks, quietly for a change of scenery. I didn't want to go to the sea, sit myself under a palm tree. I wanted something different, a new experience. Why not? I had never been to Nepal, to Tibet. Beautiful, beautiful.
P. Did you have a hard time to replace the adrenaline of competition?
R. I don't have a problem: I already found myself. I like what I do. I love it. I can create, I do things for the children of the federation and, seriously, I like it. I was afraid to stay a long time without working when I retired. I work for the Government, let's say. It is not a position of carrying papers back and forth. I have to make decisions, which is what I like, to talk with high-level people. I have to create results. I can't go to the office without being prepared, I have to take care of me, I can't go with circles under my eyes. I have to take care of myself!
P. Federer has lost 14 of 21 matches against Nadal. With that can he be considered as the best of all time?
R. That's another level. Federer has all the qualities. One like him comes once every 100 years. It will be another 100 years until you see another Federer. You can't improve him. My mind is not enough to think of another person that could physically be able to play at the same level.
P. Do you feel that you were a wasted genius?
R. No. There are many persons who could have been better than what they were. People talk, but when you get on court it is not that easy to win. The experience that I had was amazing, the mistakes were very good to learn, I had good and bad things happening to me ... but I am here, happy with what I am. I can't say I had a bad career. If I had gotten more, maybe I would still be playing. I'm proud of what I'm doing for the sport. To me that is more interesting than playing.