This topic I see is actively discussed in Marat’s Forum but I think it won’t be useless to post it here too. Moreover there are still posts on that issue in this and Lyon’s threads.
So the story about Marat had been touched again after an interview in a Russian newspaper called “Novye Izvestia”. Answering the question about Lyon/St. Petersburg Marat said: “We all live in the material world. And you’d better ask the director [of SPb Open tournament] about the sum. Let him call it. The money he offered me… I don’t even know what to compare it to. Well, I even won’t get up of the chair for such money. That’s a pity they send me such offers from Petersburg after I won there twice. I’ve decided not to deal with them anymore. If they don’t value Russian players but foreigners only – for God’s sake, let them sell the tickets for their matches.”
The director of the tournament has immediately reacted on Marat’s words on the official website of St. Petersburg Open. Some extracts. “I was sincerely surprised to read that interview about ridiculous sum we offered Marat for participating at our tournament. I have to say we deeply respect all the athletes but we don’t sell tickets “for somebody’s matches”. The visitors of the tournament want, first of all, to see tennis of the highest class and the greatest masters of this game. Marat Safin plays without any doubts brilliant tennis and he is a favorite of millions tennis fans for that. So he was almost the first player we began our negotiations with. He says it right about our material world – and that’s why the price of a player appears not from the air but from material parts like victories, ranking etc. We haven’t ever had any disagreements with Marat before so I was so much choked after his so emotional refuse. As for the sum we offered him, I can say it was 6-digital.”
I think there is an important point that negotiations between Marat and the tournament’s director were conducted in August. Safin didn’t play his usual brilliant tennis that time and it’s obviously that he wasn’t offered so great money as if he was in Top10. He is not the only great Russian player and even not the only twice winner of this tournament.
But sure Marat has his unique personality and it is not a secret that there is a lot of people who visit tournaments where Safin takes a part specially to see him. Also it’s a bit unfair that last year organizers of St. Petersburg Open so actively used his face on their posters and his name in their adverts despite the fact he withdrew due to his injury.
Also there are pretty special relations between Marat and local crowd whose biggest favorite is Misha Youzhny.
So in general I think Marat behaved himself pretty egoistic way and the tournament’s director had to make more efforts organizing his politics and change something with it (best of all is try to change somehow the dates of the tournament). As for the present moment, the tournament somewhere in the north-west of Russia in the end of the year and between two Masters in Madrid and Paris is interesting for Russian, Swedish and a few other East European players mostly – or for those whose rankings are not high enough to be sure in direct entrance to the main draw of Lyon or Basel. Lose Marat in such conditions is the death alike.
There is a soon end of existence of St. Petersburg Open or what?..