Getting to know MARAT SAFIN : THE BIOFILE
BIOFILE: MARAT SAFIN
by: Scoop Malinowski
BORN: Jan. 27, 1980, in Moscow, Russia.
STATUS: The 2000 U.S. Open champ and world No. 1 ranked player.
CHILDHOOD HEROES: "Sampras, Kafelnikov and Medvedev...good players and nice people. It's important to be a nice person...not to be a great player who thinks he's like unbelievably great. I like a nice person."
PREMATCH FEELING: "I like to talk with people. Makes me loose. Not close my eyes and think about match. I prefer to spend that time with people...other players, my coach. Not to be very concentrated. You're already nervous before the match."
FAVORITE MOVIES: "The Godfather, Ronin, Torrente, Dumb & Dumber."
MUSICAL TASTES: "Metallica, Halloween, Enigma, Dream - the most hard, dance music [smiles]. Scooter, Mike Olfield."
EARLY TENNIS MEMORY: "My first tournament I played in Moscow, I was 7. And I make two rounds. So my first tournament I won two matches. Small tournament but very important for me."
GREATEST SPORTS MOMENT: "Winning the U.S. Open, a huge tournament (in three sets over Sampras). Also, I have the greatest memories from Roland Garros ('98). Beat two players from the top of tennis (Agassi and Kuerten, both in five sets). And in the beginning of the year I had no money to pay for the travel. Agassi - I'd lost to him one match before in Davis Cup. So that was very important because I wanted to win. To beat Agassi is very nice always. Whether he plays good or bad, just to beat Agassi any time is very nice."
TOUGHEST OPPONENTS: "Thomas Johansson. Difficult for me to play him. He plays fast, serves well, tough to return. Always play difficult matches with him. Players who serve and volley...Sampras, Rafter, Rusedski, Henman even Woodforde before he retired. Hard for me to play against them when they serve very well and make the volley all the time. Everybody is hard but they're the most hard."
FIRST CAR: '90 red VW Golf.
FAVORITE BREAKFAST CEREAL: "I prefer an omelette and pancakes."
FAVORITE ATHLETES TO WATCH: "Soccer clubs - Valencia of Spanish league, Inter Milan of Italian league, Spartak Moscow from my country. Ronaldo. Shaq. Mike Tyson - nice. Anna Kournikova. Jana Kandarr, the German - she is more like a model. Dallas Cowboys, Oakland Raiders. I like hockey - but it's too dangerous. Baseball - I don't understand [laughs]."
PEOPLE MOST ADMIRED: "I don't like the people who think they're very important. I like people who are very friendly and just nice people. Not somebody who thinks they are the best of the best, just a nice person."