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post #16 of 5001 (permalink) Old 08-27-2002, 09:40 AM
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25th August 2002
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For one who is supposed to be wasting his talent, Marat Safin has not done too badly. He is still but 22, has won a Grand Slam tournament, has appeared in the final of another, banked more than 7 million dollars in prize money, and is ranked 2nd in the world. If only he had eaten his greens and done his homework, who knows what he could have achieved by now?

The Russian thought he had cracked it two years ago. He began the year charged with "not giving his best effort" - tanking, for want of a better word - during the Australian Open. Then, with a change of coach and a new attitude, he started winning tournaments and marched on New York and the US Open with nothing to lose. He had a sneaking suspicion that he could beat anyone, given half a chance. Eventually, he overcame Pete Sampras in the final, and suddenly he was one of the big boys.

On occasion he has shown signs of rediscovering that form, but it has not lasted long. In Melbourne in Jan, the path seemed clear towards the Aust Open, but it did not happen. Confused messages from his doctor left him feeling lethargic in the semi-finals, a bevy of blondes who followed his every footstep proved a distraction, and Thomas Johansson proved too strong in the final when Safin seemed unable to hit a barn door at 10 paces.

Now he is heading back to Flushing Meadow with his confidence wearing thin, and the world whispering "wastrel" as he passes. That is his greatest problem - everyone seems to know what is best for his 6ft 4in, 14 st affable frame. They tut-tut - if only he has a regular coach.... if only he practised more.... if only he would concentrate.... And they are driving him potty.

"Im living my life" he reflects. "Im not living the life of anybody else. I know what im doing, and ive been doing it for a long time. The better I get, the more people like this I get. They advise me to get a coach, to do like this, to live like this; I should do this, I should wake up at this time or go to sleep at that time; dont eat this. If I were winning five Grand Slams and being No1 for a long time, the people will still say that I can be much better. You have to live with this, and I try not to react to that".

Not that Safin is complaining, merely explaining. He is eloquent in several languages, funny and a charmer. Unlike so many professional sportsmen, he does not take himself too seriously.

"Im doing bad things, Im doing good things, and im satisfied with that. Im like any other person in the world who wants to live his life. Of course im doing stupid things, of course im making mistakes in my life, so I dont want to be the centre of attention. Im okay with myself".

That said, he cannot help being the focus of attention - and not only to his blonde admirers. He is a big man with a big game and, on his day, he has the beating of anyone. On a bad day he smashes his racquet, apppeals to the heavens for guidance, and does not so much wear his heart on his sleeve as give it to the crowd for safe keeping. He is a celebrity whether he likes it or not, though he maintains: "A star is in the sky - and thats it".

His coaching history is rich and varied. From the early days with Rafael Mensua in Spain, he has moved through Alexei Chesnokov and Alexander Volkov, stopping briefly to take advice from Mats Wilander and Tony Pickard. At the moment he is working with Amit Noah, known in the locker room as "Armpit".

Two years ago, life was simple: happy days when he was one of the wave of young hopefuls, but a time when no-one expected anything of him. Now he goes back with a reputation to live up to; now he is supposed to be able to win. And that can be hard to live up to, especially when you have to play Nicholas Kiefer in the 1st round, and possible Gustavo Kuerten in the 2nd.

"Its a Grand Slam, you want to win a Grand Slam" he confirms. "Im counting the Grand Slams. I have one title, and one final. Its nothing, but every time I play in a Grand Slam, there is extra motivation to win it. Sometimes its difficult to play because you want is so badly that it just blocks you; you cant give your best. And also to finish No 1 in the world, that what keeps my motivated in tennis.

"But you cannot play with the pressure, you cannot play great tennis with the pressure. Its difficult. Every time you go out on the court, already you are thinking: 'I have to win this match.' Nobody has to win this match, you can lose this match - its 50-50. It depends how well you play. Thats all."

He knows that he can win, and he definitely wants to win, but whether he will reach the second week or not is anybody's guess. That is the beauty of Safin. All he insists on is the freedom to enjoy his life as he sees fit. He is young, he is talented and he is good looking - give the boy a break.

"You never know what's going to happen in your life, and if you dont enjoy it now, when are you going to enjoy? When you are 30 and when you are 40, its already too late because your best years are between 20 and 40. So you have to try to have fun. Just enjoy it and do whatever you like, and just listen to the people closest to you. You cant listen to everyone. Just live, just enjoy"

In a world of one-dimensional money-makers, tennis needs the character of Safin more that Safin needs tennis. His philosophy may not win him the title in 2 weeks time, but no-one can argue with the engaging logic.

Marat: Last question: what do you think of me? Dinara: You are my god! When you play, I love
to see you. When you lose, I am even sadder than when it is me. When you are wounded, I suffer.
When you speak to me, I drink your words. When you come to see me playing, I am with the angels.
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post #17 of 5001 (permalink) Old 08-28-2002, 09:06 PM
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lord I just love him

I taped his match yesterday and watched all 4.5 hours of it twice from midnight to 8 this morning.
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post #18 of 5001 (permalink) Old 09-05-2002, 04:35 AM Thread Starter
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Originally posted by drf716
Do you know where to get a transcript of his interview in David Letterman...'cause I failed to watch it!!!
Here you go drf! Enjoy!

Marat Safin with David Letterman

11 September 2000

(Cheers and applause)

Dave: I'm mispronouncing the man's name. marat safin. marat safin. I've been saying marat safin. it's maratsafin.

Paul: oh, it' ssafin, accent on the...on the...

Dave: hope they don't take away the emmy. (laughter) yesterday at a surprise upset, our first guest defeated pete sampras to win the u.s. open tennis champion, becoming the only russian-born player ever to earn the singles championship. here's marat safin, ladies and gentlemen.

(cheers and applause)

(band playing) thank you very much for being here.

Marat: nice to be here.

Dave: quite a day, huh?

Marat: tough one. I didn't sleep even one hour.

Dave: you haven't slept one hour?

Marat: yes.

Dave: well, what's the problem? out celebrating, I guess, right?

Marat: no, I had my friends who were with me, so they wanted to...

Dave: did you go nuts? what do you do after you win a major championship like this? what happens? take us through that. they give you the trophy, then what happens?

Marat: then what happens? everything is coming to you. all the press, you have to talk. I played one hour and a half, and I met the press for already 25 hours. (laughter)

Dave: so the match only lasted 90 minutes, and you've been talking to press 25 hours.

Marat: yes.

Dave: so did you celebrate, did you have dinner, did you have a party? was it crazy, was it...

Marat: yeah, especially it was a nice dinner, really good atmosphere.

Dave: where did you have dinner?

Marat: sarafino.

Dave: oh!

Marat: yes. (laughter and applause)

Dave: and did you... now, you say it's all your friends, and did you, like, go to a club? are you drunk now? did you... (laughter) do you drink?

Marat: a little bit.

Dave: yeah. what were you drinking?

Marat: vodka.

Dave: vodka.

Paul: what do you expect?

Dave: vodka. (cheers and applause)

Paul: what do you expect?

Dave: now, as a top tennis star of the day... and now you're ranked number three in the world. is that where you are?

Marat: I didn't have a chance to look at it.

Dave:where were you ranked going into the tournament?

Marat: huh?

Dave: I say, where were you ranked going into the tournament? what was your ranking before the tournament?

Marat: seven.

Dave: seven.

Marat: and I was thinking about just staying in the top ten.

Dave: yeah, so I'll bet you did stay in the top ten. (laughter) seems unlikely that you would lose positions after winning the championship.

Marat: yeah, but now I'm looking forward to, you know, to a big opportunity to be number one in the world.

Dave: why, I think you probably could be number one. but see, now this brings us back to my point. should you be drinking as a... (laughter) you don't drink regularly, do you?

Marat: no, every day. (laughter and applause) for breakfast, for...

Dave: breakfast? (cheers and applause) every day for breakfast.

Marat: breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Dave: for breakfast you have wheaties and "wodka." (laughter)

Marat: yes. and the cookies sometimes.

Dave: and cookies. (laughter) tell us a little bit about yourself. tell us, were you born in russia? tell us where. tell us how you came to the game of tennis. tell us, you know, everything you can here.

Marat: okay. my name is marat safin.

Dave: all right, all right. (laughter and applause) we've covered that.

Marat: I was born 20 years ago in the small city of moscow.

Dave: when did you start playing tennis? from moscow?

Marat: yes.

Dave: do you go back there now? have you been back there now? have you been back recently?

Marat: now, I win a little bit of money, so I can pay a ticket to go to moscow. (laughter)

Dave: is your family still there?

Marat: yeah.

Dave: so now, are you, like, a big star in moscow? you must be now after this victory, right?

Marat: I don't know yet.

Dave: you don't know yet, sure.

Marat: we'll see. (laughter)

Dave: and how old were you when you started playing tennis?

Marat: I was six.

Dave: six years old.

Marat: but I didn't want to play tennis. I didn't like it. but my parents, they push me. (laughter) I wanted to be a soccer player.

Dave: right.

Marat: you know, it's a typical european game. and then my parents, they decided that I'm not going to be a good soccer player, so they decided to push for tennis.

Dave: well, it worked out, didn't it? worked out pretty well. now, your mother was your coach for a while. she was also a tennis player?

Marat: yeah, until 14 years old.

Dave: and does she still coach you? does she still have advice for your game?

Marat: not anymore in the game, but in the life senses. (laughter)

Dave: in what?

Marat: in life.

Dave: oh, in life. well, you should listen to your mother. that's great.

Marat: of course, of course.

Dave: tell mom about the "wodka." (laughter and applause) was it earlier this year you were in a tournament-- maybe it was california, I'm not sure-- and you were not doing very well in the tournament, and you actually considered giving up the game of tennis.

Marat: yeah, because I was tired. I couldn't win one set-- nothing much, one set. can you believe it? and actually, I get the fine at the beginning of this year because of tanking.

Dave: I'm sorry.

Marat: because of tanking. you know tanking?

Dave: tanking?

Marat: yes. not trying, not trying. (laughter)

Dave: oh, tanking a match, tanking a match.

Marat: yes.

Dave: oh, they said you weren't trying to win. now, were you? you were trying to win, of course.

Marat: of course, of course.

Dave: but they said you were tanking. oh, my god. so how do you go from that situation-- which was just a matter of months ago, right?-- how do you go from that, to now winning the u.s. open? and not only winning the u.s. open, defeating pete sampras in straight sets. how do you make that journey? and I'm guessing it's mostly mental, not so much physical, right?

Marat: no, just get tired of winning two games each time against other guys, and I decide to ... just to change something.

Dave: now, what did you change?

Marat: I start to fight. you know, I've start to win one set, after I start to win a match, and suddenly I win a tournament.

Dave: now I've noticed... (applause) I've noticed that you've broken equipment in the past. is that right? you've actually broken rackets?

Marat: yes.

Dave: yes. (laughter)

Marat: I used to do this.

Dave: does that help you as a player? does that help focus you? or does that actually dissipate your energy and concentration?

Marat: just...the problem is that you have to pay after you break the racket. (laughter) you have to pay a fine.

Dave: oh, they fine you for that.

Marat: no, no, they say thank you, you are doing well. (cheers and applause)

Dave: and after you have an episode like that, does that help your game, or are you... does it take a while to recover from an episode like that?

Marat: during five months, it was...I broke, like, 15 rackets.

Dave: 15.

Marat: yes, in four months.

Dave: yeah.

Marat: so it didn't help me at all.

Dave: didn't help you at all. (laughter)

Marat: and now I break, like, 20 more in 6 months, and start to help sometimes. (laughter and applause)

Dave: here's an example I think we can all relate to that may be similar to what you go through. when you're driving on the freeway and somebody cuts you off, you get road rage. and suddenly it's not safe for you to be driving, because you're full of the road rage. (laughter) you know what I mean?

Marat: again, again, with the hands... yeah, yeah. (laughter)

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"Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans." ~ John Lennon
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post #19 of 5001 (permalink) Old 09-05-2002, 04:36 AM Thread Starter
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Dave: so then, what I always do, and I think what the Triple A suggest you do, is pull over until the road rage passes. but if you continue to drive under the influence of road rage, you might cause an accident. now, that's similar to your position in tennis, isn't it?

Marat: yes, I was very close to it. yes. (laughter) actually, I felt the same situation yesterday.

Dave: now, how do you... you've beaten pete sampras before?

Marat: I don't know how. I can't remember. I don't know, but I beat him in toronto.

Dave: you beat him in toronto.

Marat: yeah, he gave me a present.

Dave: now, before the game started yesterday, and you're in the locker room getting ready, do you know you can beat him? do you think, oh, maybe I won't beat him? what is your level of confidence? what is your frame of mind before you meet the number one player in the world? what is that? what are you thinking?

Marat: in the locker room, I was so nervous. I was walking around. I didn't know what to do. I had to talk with everybody. and I thought, maybe I will have a chance. but at least I need to win one set, to show to people that I'm a player. (laughter)

Dave: right, right. and is the key to pete sampras being able to return his serve, so that he doesn't score as many aces? and if so, how do you deal with a 130-mile-an-hour serve?

Marat: you know very good tennis, you know?

Dave: I do?

Marat: yes, because it is right. you said right.

Dave: thank you very much. (cheers and applause) we've won awards. (laughter) so yesterday... (applause) how did it happen yesterday? you were able to return his serve, and you defeated him in straight sets. you broke his serve. how?

Marat: how? you want me to explain now? (laughter) it's difficult to explain, because sometimes you have to hit the ball with, you know, closed eyes. (laughter) which I did yesterday, sometimes. (laughter) it works.

Dave: pete sampras afterward said that you were the future of tennis. that's a very nice compliment, isn't it?

Marat: oh, thank you very much, thanks (applause) but it's only words, so I have to prove this.

Dave: that's right, yeah.

Marat: but because I respect a lot pete sampras, so I have to show to the people that he was right.

Dave: well, I think this is an excellent way to start, you know, winning this tournament. (laughter)

Marat: you think so?

Dave: yeah. do you know anna kournikova?

Marat: yeah, I know. (applause)

Dave: she's a countryman of yours, right?

Marat: I start play with her tennis almost in the same group

Dave: are you friends with her? are you friendly?

Marat: yes, yes.

Dave: do you see her all the time?

Marat: yeah, we came here for the first time ten years ago. she was nine, I was ten. we came here to see the indianapolis tournament. it was... she was already in the same way like she is now. (laughter and applause)

Dave: now, did she win a tournament this year?

Marat: where? (laughter)

Dave: I thought for sure she was going to win.

Marat: she has a chance. it's four months left.

Dave: do you think she'll ever win a major tournament.

Marat: If I'll be her coach, probably yes. (applause)

Dave: are you going to play in the olympics?

Marat: definitely.

Dave: that will be exciting, won't it? are you looking forward to going there?

Marat: yes. it's a long flight.

Dave: it's a very long flight, and it's just like a week or so away. will you rest up? will you play before you go down there?

Marat: yeah, of course.

Dave: you're playing before you go down? where are you playing?

Marat: I'm leaving in ten minutes, I have to leave.

Dave: to play where?

Marat: to play uzbekistan. you know where is it?

Dave: you're playing uzbekistan?

Marat: yes.

Dave: so you're going all the way back to europe, and then you've got to go to australia to play?

Marat: yes. it's on the way. it's close, very close. (laughter)

Dave: wow. well, that's... well, take along some hot towels. (laughter and applause)

Marat: it's broken. (Referring to the Trophy lid)

Dave: it's what?

Marat: it's broken.

Dave: it is broken. I didn't break that. there you are. congratulations. nice meeting you, marat. (cheers and applause)

Marat: thank you.

Dave: congratulations on being the u.s. open champion. Marat Safin, ladies and gentlemen. we'll be right back.

Dave: how about that...marat safin?

Paul: he was great!

Dave: that was it.

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post #20 of 5001 (permalink) Old 09-18-2002, 10:38 PM Thread Starter
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An article fromm BBC Sport:

Safin ready to step up

Safin made an early exit from the US Open

Marat Safin is looking for an improvement in his own form as he prepares to lead Russia against Argentina in the Davis Cup semi-finals.

Gaudio expects stern test
Safin and Yevgeny Kafelnikov will be favourites to beat the Argentines on the fast carpet surface in Moscow's 13,000 capacity Luzhniki Sports Palace.

But world number four Safin has suffered a dramatic slump in form in the second half of the year and knows he must rediscover his touch by Friday.
"I'm trying to improve," he said. "I have a new coach and I think I'll be good. I'll be OK."

The pressure is on the home side, who have never won the Davis Cup, and Kafelnikov has made the event the sole focus for the rest of his career.

Kafelnikov may retire if Russia win the Davis Cup

But Safin refuses to understimate Argentina, despite their preference for claycout tennis.

"I think they have a good team," he said.

"Two of them are in the top 20 and (David) Nalbandian was in the finals of Wimbeldon, so he knows how to play on fast courts and I think it's going to be really tough.

"But we have our surface and we have our spectators and I think we are the favourites.

"It's going to be difficult but I think we will win"

Mikhail Youzhny and Andrei Stoliarov complete the Russian line-up.

Beaten finalists in 1994 and '95, Russia will be playing their third consecutive home tie but their first on carpet.

France and the United States will meet in the other semi-final in Paris on the clay courts at Roland Garros.

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post #21 of 5001 (permalink) Old 09-19-2002, 02:27 PM
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Just wrote it in the DC forum but I'll post it here too. Just read an article where Tarpishev said that Marat's new BMW was stolen last night (it cost 90 000 $) and Marat is very upset about it
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post #22 of 5001 (permalink) Old 09-20-2002, 02:40 AM Thread Starter
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thanx Nina. Just read about it on

what bad luck. Poor Marat. I hope it won't affect his play tomorrow..

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post #23 of 5001 (permalink) Old 10-16-2002, 07:56 AM Thread Starter
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Here is an article about Marat's loss to Calleri.

Safin Implodes in Stunning Loss to Calleri

Showing the irrepressible passion, violent anger, and wild inconsistency that makes him at once fascinating and frustrating to tennis fans, No. 3-seeded Russian Marat Safin suffered a stunning loss to Argentinian qualifier Agustin Calleri, 7-6(6), 7-5(5), in the second round of the Tennis Masters Madrid on Tuesday.

In a match that stretched well past 1:00AM Wednesday morning, Safin's unforced errors outpaced his winners by a 27-18 margin, causing him to frequently smash his racket against the purple hardcourt surface. He also vehemently protested a number of line calls.

After the match, Safin was visibly saddened, as he clearly realizes that his early-round upset may cost him more than the price of replacing his broken rackets. While he stands at No. 3 in the ATP Champions Race, he leads 10th-place Andy Roddick by just 85 points, a slim margin that makes him anything but a lock to qualify for next month's Tennis Masters Cup in Shanghai.

"I'm very disappointed because I really want to go to Shanghai," he said. "It is a shame I lost in my first match because I really thought that I would do much better, but Calleri didn't give me a chance."

However, Safin stressed that he is not prepared to give up on his year, during which he has failed to capture a title. He will play next week in St. Petersburg, and then at the BNP Paribas Masters in Paris, and said, "If I go to Shanghai, I will go to win. Not just to get the money and lose all my matches."

Calleri, whose best results of 2002 are semifinal showings in Mallorca and Bastad, next faces a third-round encounter with the winner of tomorrow's Swedish showdown between Magnus Norman and No. 15 seed Thomas Johansson.

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post #24 of 5001 (permalink) Old 10-16-2002, 08:40 PM Thread Starter
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another article...very sad

Safin's Loss To Calleri Jeopardizes Place In Masters Cup

Marat Safin By Richard Pagliaro

It was shortly before last call in Madrid when a drained Marat Safin came up empty in his quest for another successful shot. Argentine qualifier Agustin Calleri shocked the third-seeded Safin 7-6 (8-6), 7-6 (7-5) in a match that ended at about 1:30 a.m. local time at the Tennis Masters Series-Madrid last night.

The defeat was particularly disappointing for the 2000 U.S. Open champion, who entered the match third in the ATP Champions Race, but now finds himself facing the pressure of producing significant results in his next two tournaments — at St. Petersburg and Paris — in order to qualify for the season-ending Tennis Masters Cup, which will be staged in Shanghai, China November 11-17th. The top seven players in the Champions Race standings and the Grand Slam champion holding the highest place in the Champions Race qualify for the season-ending event.

During the summer, the fourth-ranked Safin spoke of seizing the top spot in the rankings by the end of the year, but now he finds himself fighting to secure a spot in the Tennis Masters Cup. Currently third in the Race with 468 points, Safin is being closely chased by Juan Carlos Ferrero (425), Tim Henman (420), Carlos Moya (406), Roger Federer (398), Albert Costa (393), Tommy Haas (388) and Andy Roddick (383) in the Champions Race and realizes the magnitude of every match.

"It now all depends on my two tournaments to come in St. Petersburg and Paris," Safin said. "Everyone is bunched together in the standings so my place is going to depend in part on what the others do. All the players around me are playing well at the moment so I know it's going to be tough. I don't have many chances left."

While Safin struggles to find his form, he can take solace in the fact that he has played well in both St. Petersburg and Paris in the past. Safin is the two-time defending champion in St. Petersburg and won the Paris championship two years ago after his runner-up finish to Andre Agassi in 1999.

It appeared Safin was in position to pull out the first set tiebreak when he took a 4-0 lead only to see Calleri rally and seize the first set with a sizzling backhand winner down the line.

This was one of my best matches ever," Calleri said. "I wanted to win this one badly. But in the beginning of the year I also played well, especially when I beat Guga in Buenos Aires."

A frustrated Safin erupted in an explosion of emotion as he smashed his racquet to the court in disgust after one unforced error. The racquet broke and by the end of the match, Safin was reduced to trying to pick up the pieces of a shattered psyche as he makes the final push toward a place in Shanghai.

"Every week I suffer these small disappointments," Safin said. "It's getting on my nerves. I want to get to Shanghai, but not for the money. My goal is to win it."

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post #25 of 5001 (permalink) Old 10-25-2002, 02:45 AM
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There's a 6 page feature of Marat in the new Ace Magazine (from LTA), titled "The Safin Files"
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post #26 of 5001 (permalink) Old 10-26-2002, 02:55 AM
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Hi Marat fans,

I am not a fan of Marat but I come across an article in Chinese that Marat fans may be interested and I don't know whether someone translate it before.

The picture with the article is from a newspaper in Hong Kong but I am not sure whether it is from this or last year's Salem Open. In the picture (I don't know how to attach the picture but it is in page 11, funny pictures, general messages), Marat drew a picture with a house, a tree and a stick man for pychoanalysis (or something like that). Base on the drawing, he is full of energy and hope (because the tree is prosperous), but he does not understand himself very much (because there are no eyes, ears, nose, etc on the stick man). He wants others understanding but he cannot provide a way (there is no handle on the door of the house). The number of windows shows how many children he want and that is 2. According to the article, Marat said the analysis was quite accurate and 2 is the exact number of children he wants.
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post #27 of 5001 (permalink) Old 11-07-2002, 09:20 PM Thread Starter
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Here is a great article about Marat's Paris win..

Majestic Safin turns back the clock to flatten Hewitt

By John Roberts in Paris
04 November 2002
The roaring Paris crowd provided music for Marat Safin's ears yesterday as the Muscovite powered to his first title of the year, outplaying Lleyton Hewitt, 7-6, 6-0, 6-4, thereby denying the Australian a bigger lead over Andre Agassi in the race to be World No 1.

Record attendances for the Paris Masters reflected the general buzz of excitement as the city prepares for France's Davis Cup final against Russia here at the Palais Omnisports de Bercy in three weeks' time, and spectators were rewarded with some splendid matches. Safin was wise to rejoice at the chanting of his name. When he returns to the arena, the court will have changed from blue, medium-pace carpet to slow, red clay and the boisterous crowd will have changed its tune. The Marseillaise is likely to be the least of it.

Whatever the outcome of the Davis Cup final, preceded by the Masters Cup in Shanghai, Safin demonstrated here that his awe-inspiring talent, which blew away Pete Sampras in the final of the 2000 United States Open, has merely being lying dormant. His display of consistent serving, punishing ground-strokes and all-round confidence was too much for Hewitt.

The Australian Wimbledon champion was magnanimous in defeat. Though disappointed that he did not finish the week with a victory that would have put him 118 points clear of Agassi instead of 88, he knows that he cannot be caught by the American if he advances to the final in Shanghai a week next Sunday.

The only time Safin looked vulnerable yesterday was on the occasions when he tempted Hewitt with drop-shots. While this may be a good ploy against the majority of players, the Australian's speedy footwork is renowned. The Russian was fortunate that Hewitt did not capitalise on the pick-up more often and, in one sense, Safin must be congratulated for instigating some of the most exhilarating points of the match.

It was clear from the start that Safin was in formidable form, but Hewitt did not allow himself to be intimidated. Broken for 1-3 in the opening set, he recovered to 4-4 and held a break point for 5-4 which Safin swept away with an unreturnable serve. Safin then dominated the tie-break, 7-4.

The second set would not have been a rout had Hewitt been able to convert any of three break points in the second game. Safin's forehand rescued the first, Hewitt netted a backhand on the second, and Safin volleyed away the third before going on to become the first opponent to take a love set off Hewitt since Sweden's Magnus Norman at the 2000 Italian Open.

In the third set, Hewitt hung on as best he could, sometimes desperately, sometimes brilliantly enough to win over many in the crowd who at times voiced a degree of undue hostility towards him, as though warming up for Safin in the Davis Cup. Hewitt managed to save two break points in the opening game and in the third game, only for Safin to crack his serve for 3-2 with a crisp forehand volley.

After playing his part in some thrilling rallies in the next three games, Hewitt received cheers of admiration for saving three match points when serving at 3-5, 0-40. Safin seemed edgy for the first time when serving for the match at 5-4, recalling, perhaps, the finals he lost to Thomas Johansson at the Australian Open and to Roger Federer in Hamburg. He proceeded to slip to 0-30 before winning the concluding four points, Hewitt missing with a cross-court return on the fourth match point.

Safin, who previously won the Paris-Bercy title in 2000, said he had begun to despair of winning a championship this year. "It's wonderful to win here," he reflected. "I had so much confidence, I couldn't miss, and the second set was just perfect tennis for me. He didn't expect that, because normally, after 7-6, you get an early break by Hewitt."

Hewitt, who has suffered from a virus infection in recent weeks, said he was pleased to have reached the final. "I'm just not match tough at the moment," he added, "and Marat's a tough player when he's confident and swinging out like he did today."

* Cedric Pioline, the 32-year-old 1997 Wimbledon runner-up, was in tears on the court at Paris-Bercy yesterday when he announced to the crowd that he had decided to retire.

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~Good Luck Marat in 2005!~
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"Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans." ~ John Lennon
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post #28 of 5001 (permalink) Old 11-09-2002, 08:28 PM Thread Starter
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Resurgent Safin Sets Sail for Shanghai

One of the game's most talented and charismatic players, Marat Safin can take another giant leap toward greatness at the Tennis Masters Cup Shanghai. Coming off a dominant week at the BNP Paribas Masters, where he swept to his first title of 2002, he has all the momentum on his side.

Shanghai Preview:
Marat Safin

Blessed with extraordinary talent, immense physical gifts and an abundance of charisma, Marat Safin has the potential to become one of the most successful and popular stars the game has ever seen. Now, entering the Tennis Masters Cup, it appears that he is gaining the one element that has thus far held him back - consistency - which could indeed portend a frightening future for his rivals on the ATP circuit.

Age: 22
Birthplace: Moscow, Russia
Residence: Monte Carlo, Monaco
Height: 6'4" (1.93m)
Weight: 195 (88kg)
Turned Pro: 1997

Career Titles: 11
2002 Titles: 1
2002 Win/Loss: 54-23
Career Win/Loss: 228-128

The 22-year-old Russian is coming off a sizzling performance at last week's BNP Paribas Masters, where he dominated the field to seize his first title of 2002. Disposing of Carlos Moya and Lleyton Hewitt in straight sets - foes he will face in round robin play this week in Shanghai - Safin's powerful, aggressive attacking game was nearly flawless. Perhaps more importantly, Safin managed to calm his notoriously volatile temperament en route to his Paris triumph.

While Paris marked the 2000 US Open champion's first title of the year, Safin could confidently say that he has had a successful season overall, as evidenced by his 54 match wins and strong No. 3 standing in the 2002 Champions Race. His year began at the Australian Open, where he downed Pete Sampras and Tommy Haas en route to the final, where he had a golden opportunity to capture his second Grand Slam title against surprising Swede Thomas Johansson. However, unable to meet the great expectations, he surrendered to Johansson in four sets.

Safin racked up a pair of impressive results on clay during the spring. He reached the final at the Tennis Masters Hamburg, crushing Hewitt in the quarterfinals, before losing to Roger Federer. At Roland Garros he made a run to the semifinals, where he succumbed to Juan Carlos Ferrero.

His drive to qualify for Shanghai was evident, as he played for six straight weeks during the fall indoor season, with his best result prior to his win in Paris being a semifinal showing in his birthplace of Moscow (l. to Kuerten). Also this season, he reached the quarterfinals in three more Tennis Masters Series events (Miami, Monte Carlo, Toronto) and three other ATP tournaments.

Perhaps the accomplishment that Safin would be most proud of this year is his 6-2 record in Davis Cup in singles and doubles (teamed with Yevgeny Kafelnikov). He has led Russia to the Davis Cup final against France, set for later this month in Paris.

Safin must vividly recollect his only prior Tennis Masters Cup appearance. In 2000, the year that he won the US Open among his circuit-leading seven titles, he went into the inaugural Masters Cup in Lisbon with a 75-point lead over Gustavo Kuerten, and was twice within one victory of clinching the year-end World No. 1 ranking. But his round robin loss to Pete Sampras and semifinal loss to Andre Agassi opened the door for the Brazilian to steal away the No. 1 ranking. Thus Safin will surely be seeking some Masters Cup redemption this week in Shanghai.

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~Good Luck Marat in 2005!~
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"Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans." ~ John Lennon

Last edited by Jessi; 11-09-2002 at 11:28 PM.
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post #29 of 5001 (permalink) Old 01-02-2003, 08:08 AM Thread Starter
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In a poll, Marat was voted the sexiest sportman of the year! Damn straight he is! David Beckham came in second.

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post #30 of 5001 (permalink) Old 01-05-2003, 01:38 AM Thread Starter
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Arrow Sydney preview


SYDNEY: Marat Safin played great tennis in the final of the Davis Cup against France. It was because of him that Russia was able to win the coveted trophy for the first time. The 22 year old won both his singles matches by producing some awesome power; the second one leveling the final that kept Russia’s hopes alive.

Safin will now take a break from tennis and recharge his batteries for the adidas International, 5 to 11 January. The big Russian spearheads a tremendous field that will take to the courts at the Sydney International Tennis Centre at Sydney Olympic Park.

"The year is finished and I was waiting for that so badly but I also wanted to finish the year with a good match and I played it," said Safin. "Now I can go for vacations, watch television and be relaxed for a couple of weeks. Then I will get ready for next year. It was important to finish the year with good wins to give a good feeling for next year."

Safin is regarded as one of the most colourful players in men's tennis and his numerous responses in media conferences won him the "ASAP Most Quotable Player Award" by the International Tennis Writers Association last year. He is a winner of eleven career titles, the most recent one being the BNP Paribas Masters at Bercy in Paris, the same venue that hosted the Davis Cup final. In 2002 he was also a finalist at the Australian Open and a semifinalist at the French Open.

At 1.93m, he is one of the tallest players on the tour and his incredible reach makes it very difficult to pass him.

He speaks fluent Russian, English and Spanish having grown up in Spain where he developed his tennis skills. Marat was named after Jean Paul Marat the French revolutionary who died in 1793.

Safin will end the 2002 season ranked three in the world.

The Moscovite who resides in Monte Carlo, will be joined at the adidas International by four other players who qualified for the recent season-ending Tennis Masters Cup - Roger Federer the defending adidas champion, Carlos Moya, French Open winner Albert Costa and Juan Carlos Ferrero, who was runner-up in Shanghai. Also in the line-up will be James Blake, Andy Roddick and Juan Ignacio Chela, finalist at the 2002 adidas.

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~Good Luck Marat in 2005!~
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"Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans." ~ John Lennon
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