great to see you here
i was just about posting the interview
Always, great interview
Thanks so much for translating it
I Missed Tennis
By Vincent Cognet
Translated by Catherine Rouland
Marat Safin became aware, in the last few months, that his life was also important while he is on a tennis court. Victim of a serious wound of his left wrist, Marat Safin was almost out of the circuit since spring. He will make his come back to the competition today, in Moscow, playing against Wayne Black. Yesterday afternoon, he confided himself in the player's lounge.. Always really relaxed but firm on his intentions: going back as soon as possible to the rank he really deserves.
From our special correspondent
Q: How is your wrist?
MS: Definitely better, but I still feel some discomfort. It is nothing like the pain I used to feel, before, It was like someone was stabbing my wrist. But all the discomfort I am feeling now is normal. I did not play for so long so my body needs some time to get used to effort. I did not play during six months, so everything seems to be going so fast for me. I lost some weight, I lost some muscles (he shows his biceps and his chest.) Look at that, someone would say I am a woman! (Laughter.) I tried to get back to the game in Los Angeles (at the end of July), but I had to give up after seven games. I was suffering too much. Over there, they put a plaster cast on my lower arm . I kept it for one month.
Q: Then you started rehabilitation?
MS: Yes, in Moscow, at the beginning of September. I had some acupuncture treatments, massages, etc. You see that? (he shows the innumerable puncture marks on his upper arm.) Here's what my therapy was, four hours of it every day. Then, I gradually start to train again. I will try to finish the year as well as possible to start the next one as best I can. But I have to start at the beginnig…I whish to be ready for Madrid and Bercy, just to show the others how dangerous I still am. It would be nice to finish the year in the top 50. But I hope 2004 will be MY year. I want to return to the top 10 and claim the number one spot.
Q: You never considered a operation?
MS: In Los Angeles, the doctors told me at first : `` One month out of the circuit if you rest, three months if you have the operation.`` Then, they decided to put a plaster cast on my wrist. They told me so much about this wrist that, now, I know as much as them on the subject. If you want some details on bones, ligaments, nerves and cartilages, you just have to ask me : I know everything about it! (Laughter.)
Q : What did you do during all these weeks out of the tour?
MS: After my withdrawal in Los Angeles, I spent one month in California. I had a medical exam every Wednesday. But, the rest of time I had some time off. Then my coach (Denis Golovanov) and I rented a car, bought a map and left to visit Yosemite Park. We did some camping, we fished in the river. Denis' girlfriend was with us, so in the evening, she cooked dinner for us. We cleaned the fish and she cooked it for us. We also went to Las Vegas. I spent three fantastic weeks.
Q: You also made a trip to New York?
MS: Yes, I stayed three days. I spent one day in Flushing Meadows to watch Dinara play, I also saw some friends and I went to a party organized by MTV. It was ok.
Q : Did you miss the tour?
MS: I miss Tennis. (He insists) Really. Each time I watched a tournament on T.V., I said to myself: `` You should be there, you should be the one winning this match.`` I played well at the beginning of the year, I beat Ferrero 6-4 6-4 in the semi-final of Barcelona, I was not bad at all when I arrived in Roma. But the injury messed up everything. For six months, ciao!...
Q: Morally, how do you feel?
MS: I feel an enormous motivation to return in the top.
Q: Do you have the feeling that this injury helped you to mature?
MS: I understood that I would not change my personality. I am what I am and that is it. Tennis is my life. Before the injury, I had the feeling of being stuck in a whirlwind. Everything was going so fast, everyday the same routine, matches, demande/sollicitations… You walk, and everyone is speaking around you at the same time. It is like a constant buzz. There, for six months, I did not receive one phone call. I had time to rest, to think on my situation, my objectives. To think on my life, in fact. The last time I had time to do that was three years ago, when I was losing all my matches in the first round of every tournement. I love tennis, the game gave me a lot of hapiness, but I want even more. Now, I know what I want.
Q: Did Ferrero's victory at Roland-Garros, Federer's at Wimbledon and Roddick winning the US Open contributed to increase your frustration?
MS: It is very difficult to see others players winning Grand Slams without being able to compete against them. If I lose in the first round, that is alright, because it is all my fault. But, there, I could not even compete…. From a certain point of view it hurt. I know I can play as well as them, perhaps even better than them. Of course they can beat me, but, at least, I am on the court. I understand now why certain players have so much difficulty to retire. The competition is part of our lives, we deeply need it . All this make life more exciting.