Marat at RG: surprend nous avec ton superbe tennis et tes moments "oafique"

05-13-2004, 03:57 PM
Forget about Hamburg and focus on RG. I hope he goes there early :)

05-13-2004, 04:25 PM
Yes! Hamburg was never there! Marat forget it, but please correct your errors...

05-14-2004, 11:33 AM
:yeah: Couldn't agree more! I know it sounds stupid, but I haven't been paying that much attention to clay season tournament. Just waiting for the Big One, 'cause I know it'll be a blast! Fooooooooorwards, MARCH!!

05-14-2004, 07:20 PM
Marat get your ass of and play some tennis :)

Hopefully he will get some passion back in time.

05-15-2004, 08:54 PM
Topic for a discussion: Marat not in love with tennis (he probably never was), not interested and motivated to play, for him there are a lot MORE other things and important things


05-16-2004, 03:20 AM
haven't we already kinda known that for a while now? he's never pretended to absolutely adore it.

05-16-2004, 09:24 AM
Yeah serius, but not everybody is able to work in jobs they like, and earn as much money on the jobs they like. Marat is lucky to have the ability to earn millions in a job that he doesn't hate, and thats not a bad situation. Ofcourse, maybe he earned enough hence does not to think about money?
one thing I know: Marat wouldn't be as willing to stay in tennis as Agassi.

05-16-2004, 10:57 AM
some News from


16th May - Official News:

Marat is fine, he had a few personal problems which he has sorted out and is definitely playing Roland Garros. He will arrive on Wednesday.

That definetly explains some things. Glade he is better and will play.

05-16-2004, 11:41 AM
wonder what the problem was... i'm thinking it's got something to do with the girl... the extended rant about balls was just a distractor...

05-16-2004, 02:03 PM
yeah has probably do with Dasha. If thats, i hope they could sorted it out and didnt broke up.

05-16-2004, 04:25 PM
It was already obvious that it was something personal that bothered him and that he would definitely play RG.

05-16-2004, 09:17 PM
Thanks for the news, Andrea :)
Glad to know he's already sorted out what was troubling him.
GOOOOOO MARAT! :bounce: Good Luck in Roland Garros!

05-17-2004, 04:40 AM
He have some personal problem?urmm……I never heard that before. Thanks for the new!!
It's happy Marat is OK now and will play RG.

05-17-2004, 10:49 AM
Topic for a discussion: Marat not in love with tennis (he probably never was), not interested and motivated to play, for him there are a lot MORE other things and important things


Hi Andrea, what do you think are the things that are more important to him?
I think he takes tennis seriously enough, see preparation for this season, he has just too soft and weak character sometimes so he can't keep it up! Partying with friends can't be considered as the most important thing IMO but sometimes it just seems to get an upper hand with him. Maybe I'm wrong? Those lapses are just so frustrating. :mad:

05-17-2004, 12:04 PM
Hi Andrea, what do you think are the things that are more important to him?
I think he takes tennis seriously enough, see preparation for this season, he has just too soft and weak character sometimes so he can't keep it up! Partying with friends can't be considered as the most important thing IMO but sometimes it just seems to get an upper hand with him. Maybe I'm wrong? Those lapses are just so frustrating. :mad:

I have the feeling he is not really serious about Tennis. He always changes his mind... once he talks about beeing no 1 and doing everything and is really motivated and then again he has low confidence and is not feeling like playing and beeing on the court LOL! It really depends on his mood on the day when he plays... if he is motivated or not, if he feels like playing, if everything is perfect.... if he wants it....
And everybody knows he really really likes to enjoy life and as he said for him are a lot more things than Tennis, and it has always been like that and won`t change :)

05-18-2004, 05:00 AM
I have the feeling he is not really serious about Tennis. He always changes his mind... once he talks about beeing no 1 and doing everything and is really motivated and then again he has low confidence and is not feeling like playing and beeing on the court LOL! It really depends on his mood on the day when he plays... if he is motivated or not, if he feels like playing, if everything is perfect.... if he wants it....
And everybody knows he really really likes to enjoy life and as he said for him are a lot more things than Tennis, and it has always been like that and won`t change :)

or as we fondly term it....SCHIZOPHRENIC :lol:

05-18-2004, 06:47 AM
OK Andrea, yeah, we should tke him as he is with his moods. But I mean it's not :), it's rather :mad: at moments when HE JUST FEELS LIKE NOT PLAYING.

05-18-2004, 11:28 AM
He have some personal problem?urmm……I never heard that before. Thanks for the new!!

hmm... Don't you go to any of his sites? :eek:

05-18-2004, 03:27 PM
OK Andrea, yeah, we should tke him as he is with his moods. But I mean it's not :), it's rather :mad: at moments when HE JUST FEELS LIKE NOT PLAYING.

Yeah i know ;) Of course its very frustrating at this times but i already got used to this (i had 4 years of time ;) )... and its the way Marat is, its ALSO part of his charakter.

05-19-2004, 01:41 PM

05-20-2004, 06:17 PM
Marat is seeded 20.

Tomorrow at 11:30 am French time the draw will be made.

05-20-2004, 06:21 PM
I'll be here awaiting the draw. What about you guys?

05-20-2004, 06:53 PM
i will come home right when it will be out !!!

05-20-2004, 08:35 PM
Safin’s coming too
Despite a performance last week in Hamburg that left him so discouraged he was even contemplating pulling out of Roland Garros, Marat Safin has had a few days off and is now ready to give his all in Paris. He has already been spotted on the practice courts at Roland, as have the likes of Andre Agassi, Andy Roddick, Tim Henman, Gustavo Kuerten, Arnaud Clément, Hicham Arazi, Nicolas Escudé, Richard Gasquet and many others.


05-20-2004, 09:24 PM
Wher's this info from?

05-20-2004, 09:41 PM
from the RG site ;)

05-21-2004, 11:20 AM
full draw:

Federer, Roger (1)
Ascione, Thierry
Kiefer, Nicolas
Ramirez Hidalgo, Ruben
Elseneer, Gilles
Kuerten, Gustavo (28)

Lopez, Feliciano (23)
Lapentti, Nicolas
Karlovic, Ivo
Kucera, Karol
Patience, Olivier
Volandri, Filippo
Soderling, Robin
Schalken, Sjeng (15)

Grosjean, Sebastien (10)
Tursunov, Dmitry
Mantilla, Felix
Calleri, Agustin
Safin, Marat (20)

Ljubicic, Ivan (25)
Arazi, Hicham
Koubek, Stefan
Sanchez, David
Pless, Kristian
Gasquet, Richard
Nalbandian, David (8)


Ferrero, Juan Carlos (4)
Haas, Tommy
Vacek, Jan
Andreev, Igor
Rochus, Olivier
Ferrer, David
Benneteau, Julien
Mirnyi, Max (29)

Bjorkman, Jonas (24)
Dent, Taylor
Carlsen, Kenneth
Enqvist, Thomas
Canas, Guillermo
Gaudio, Gaston
Dupuis, Anthony
Novak, Jiri (14)

Hewitt, Lleyton (12)
Di Pasquale, Arnaud
Melzer, Jurgen
Ferreira, Wayne
Hanescu, Victor
Lisnard, Jean-Rene
Boutter, Julien
Verkerk, Martin (19)

Costa, Albert (26)
Saretta, Flavio
Rochus, Christophe
Malisse, Xavier
Schuettler, Rainer (7)


Moya, Carlos (5)
Van Lottum, John
Vicente, Fernando
Sluiter, Raemon
Ulihrach, Bohdan
Hrbaty, Dominik (31)

Robredo, Tommy (17)
Martin, Alberto
Reid, Todd
Stepanek, Radek
Massu, Nicolas (11)

Gonzalez, Fernando (16)
Arthurs, Wayne
Escude, Nicolas
Youzhny, Mikhail
van Scheppingen, Dennis
Hernandez, Oscar
Pavel, Andrei (21)

Zabaleta, Mariano (30)
Robert, Stephane
Sargsian, Sargis
Ancic, Mario
Carraz, Gregory
Bogomolv, Alex Jr
Davydenko, Nikolay
Coria, Guillermo (3)


Agassi, Andre (6)
Llodra, Michael
Popp, Alexander
Beck, Karol
Spadea, Vincent (27)

Philippoussis, Mark (18)
Horna, Luis
Blanco, Galo
Portas, Albert
Burgsmuller, Lars
Mahut, Nicolas
Saulnier, Cyril
Henman, Tim (9)

Srichaphan, Paradorn (13)
Berdych, Tomas
Corretja, Alex
Gambill, Jan-Michael
Rusedski, Greg
Verdasco, Fernando
Levy, Harel
Chela, Juan Ignacio (22)

Clement, Arnaud (32)
Santoro, Fabrice
Labadze, Irakli
Johansson, Joachim
Ginepri, Robby
Mutis, Olivier
Martin, Todd
Roddick, Andy (2)

05-21-2004, 11:34 AM
hammer draw for Marat ! what a quarter

first round Calleri, possibly- 2nd Mantilla, 3rd Grojean, 4rth Nalbandian, QF Federer, SF Ferrero

05-21-2004, 11:53 AM
That's hard! Oh blow! Well, what do you reckon, will he win against Gordo?

05-21-2004, 11:57 AM
yeah Calleri is very very though on clay. He has all those claycourters....

05-21-2004, 12:05 PM
Andrea, do you know why Calleri didn't play Rome and Hamburg? Had he an injury?
BTW, Calleri is 2-0 up H2H, some time ago though:

2002 Madrid TMS, Hard, R32
Madrid, Spain Hard R32 Calleri 7 6 7 6
2000 Kitzbuhel, Clay, R32
Austria Clay R32 Calleri 6 4 7 6

05-21-2004, 12:07 PM
Sorry, dont know it.

I also just wanted to post the Head to Head ;)

wow, Marat has never won a set against him. Time to change that.

05-21-2004, 12:14 PM
These were tight matches but I don't think it matters at the moment. It will depend on how Marat's attitude will be and in how good shape Calleri will be. If Calleri is not at his best then Marat has a chance but Calleri in top shape is HARD!!!!!!!!!!!!!

05-21-2004, 12:21 PM
Shit. Calleri , Grosjean (looks like he was speaking literally :( in Hamburg), Ljubicic/Arazi/Sabchez...
Very tough, I would say.
Calleri is good on clay, Grosjean would certainly play well.

05-21-2004, 12:22 PM
Well, Vass, actually the 1st round is the most difficult for him! Grosjean & Co would be easy for the next rounds!

05-21-2004, 12:24 PM
wow. He has to enchant us with his best tennis indeed. Will he? Yes he will!! DAVAI

05-21-2004, 12:25 PM
But Grojean will be also though. Even if he is not playing well at the moment he is always a threat at RG, at home with all the crowd behind him.

05-21-2004, 12:33 PM
Oh, Seb has been really pathetic lately, you saw that vs Marat in Hamburg? OK, home crowd et al but anyway... Why does the 1st rd have to be so hard?

05-21-2004, 01:37 PM
:wavey: Safinettes and Safindudes. ;)

Good luck to Safin at Roland Garros, and thanks for being good sports!!

05-21-2004, 01:38 PM
Marat will already be a winner for me if he makes it past the first round.

He's got like the worst draw ever :( :sad: :mad: :fiery:

05-21-2004, 01:41 PM
Good luck to your faves too Star! :)

RG 2004 looks like the tournament from hell for many players.

05-21-2004, 01:48 PM
I always think it is the toughest tournament. The most physically demanding. But it is my favorite tournament!

05-21-2004, 01:55 PM
I also think it's the toughest and it's my fave slam aswell. Going there last year was a dream come true :)

05-21-2004, 02:51 PM
Hey girls and boys! Jazzgirl just said Calleri had an injury, so that's why he didn't play Rome & Hamburg. I thought I heard smth like that! SO we have hope, right? If Calleri is not exactly at his best and no match practice? I'm NOT happy abt Gordo's injury if you think so!

05-21-2004, 09:18 PM
If Ferrero's wish is granted, I assume the top half plays tuesday? I'll be in front of my tv! aaaah hours and hours of tennis, seeing pretty much all the matches... my favourite time of year!

05-22-2004, 01:36 AM
arrrrrgggggghhhhhhhh........... what a draw! it'll be a confidence builder though, if he gets past those.

li'l red
05-22-2004, 01:54 AM
go marat!! never mind the draw.. just go out there and do your best...

go go go!!

05-22-2004, 08:23 AM
:wavey: Welcome to the board Li'l Red!

05-22-2004, 09:50 AM
hi, everyone! I am back now for RG and sure, for you! :wavey:
I have not been online for nearly 10 days cos marat really annoyed me when he lost in hamburg! but now RG is a new start!
cos of the tough draw, I really don't have any expectation on him. I just hope he could play each match seriously! losing will not frustrate me, I just don't like his talking as "I did't feel like playing today" and so on! :mad:
I am so happy that I see you guys with the passion of tennis here again! I love you! :inlove: :inlove:

05-22-2004, 10:16 AM
junekidd, glade you are back :)

05-22-2004, 10:28 AM
I'm kinda in abad mood today, but I'm saying nice to meet you to Lil Red, and glad you're back to Junekid.

" I have also learnt to say
when I mean 'Good-riddance';
to say 'Glad to meet you',
without being glad; and to say
'it's been
nice talking to you', after being bored."
Gabriel Okara


05-22-2004, 10:42 AM
no one could be happy in every day, looking for more joy here, vass. we are happy or sad just cos of tennis, not too complicated, so take it easy. hope u can be better soon! and u don't have to say anything u don't want to. ;)
PS: welcome to join us, Li'l Red! :wavey:

05-22-2004, 10:45 AM
we don't have to fall back to superficial politeness on a messageboard, we can always say nothing. One of the many advantages of communicating without seeing each other.

a cordial :wavey: to li'l red

David Kenzie
05-22-2004, 10:50 AM
surprend nous avec ton superbe tennis et tes moments "oafique"


05-22-2004, 11:37 AM
Somebody translate please.
And I don't want this translation: those smileys mean that Gouze is laughing...

05-22-2004, 12:06 PM
maybe I will write sth in chinese when CHINA OPEN comes! it really upsets us who don't understand french...:awww:

05-22-2004, 01:34 PM
maybe I will write sth in chinese when CHINA OPEN comes! it really upsets us who don't understand french...:awww:
actaully, it's not a big deal fot me. I don't think you should be upset. Most of them know French, why can't they use it?

05-22-2004, 01:57 PM
Marat at RG: Surprise us with your superbe tennis and oafish moments ;)

05-22-2004, 01:59 PM
sure, they could use it. but maybe if I were them I would translated what I wrote too. cos here are few people know chinese. u know, it's really not a good feeling when u saw a foreign language which u don't know and even there are also some smiles accompanied...

05-22-2004, 09:09 PM
:wavey: li'l red -- i like your avatar a lot!!

05-23-2004, 12:05 AM
:wavey: li'l red -- i like your avatar a lot!!

yeah, I also like that avatar with the sunny smile!;)

05-23-2004, 12:28 PM
:wavey: li'l red!

" I have also learnt to say
when I mean 'Good-riddance';
to say 'Glad to meet you',
without being glad; and to say
'it's been
nice talking to you', after being bored."
I like this saying! Maybe that is hypocritical? IMO, people always do that. I think being a hypocrite sometimes can protect ourselves. But simultaneously we are suffer from it.

Maybe today you have a great day,vass;)

we don't have to fall back to superficial politeness on a messageboard
I totally agree with you.

05-23-2004, 02:30 PM
hey june! there's always babelfish on altavista if you don't understand the different languages being used on the board. it's not perfect, but it helps!

05-23-2004, 03:07 PM
Hey june you can ask us...they here's plenty of people here who will glady tell you the meaning of the need to worried so much. And feel free to write in chinese when Marat play in China.

Hi little red :wavey: welcome here!

05-23-2004, 04:06 PM
I love you so much! you are soooooooooo kind! :smooch:
I know u are all talent of language,but I am poor indeed, so I will ask u sure! ;)
ps: jiat, I don't catch what you said: "babelfish on altavista" is it a software of translation?

05-23-2004, 04:29 PM
The bottom half will play Monday, so Marat will play on Tuesday.

05-23-2004, 06:12 PM
I really want to know how many language you guys can speak?? two, three or more? Why can you so easy to master a language?? Most of people know French, know spanish, German maybe also?? :scratch: :scratch: I suck at ENGLISH! And that is only foreign I can speak a little.
Maybe my question is stupid :tape:
Sorry, I think I :topic: :D

Marat will play Tuesday? Maybe I can see that match on TV. :)

05-23-2004, 06:33 PM
I speak German, English, French and soon i will learn Spanish

05-23-2004, 08:11 PM
I know only Russian and English. I'm supposed to know Arabic and Frence, atleast weeakly, but I can't connect two words in those.

05-23-2004, 09:03 PM
I know Dutch, French and English; understand German and Hebrew quite well one-way and have a minor knowledge/feeling of Arabic and Spanish.

Languages are a matter of being busy with them on a regular basis on an increasingly difficult level, preferably being pushed all the time by other persons. The hard part for me is learning vocabulary 'cause it's boring if you ain't using it in speech. I absolutely love discovering a structure of a language and of course once you're able using it, but the middle part is a drag for me. I'm sure interested in languages which don't have those basic grammatical patterns I have come across like yours, alita!

05-24-2004, 12:05 AM
I love you so much! you are soooooooooo kind! :smooch:
I know u are all talent of language,but I am poor indeed, so I will ask u sure! ;)
ps: jiat, I don't catch what you said: "babelfish on altavista" is it a software of translation?
babelfish is a website where you can translate stuff :) It is pretty helpful, but it isn't perfect so be prepared for some funny translations

05-24-2004, 02:31 AM
thanks for helping me answer nicki!

and i know english and mandarin and a smattering of german, at least, as much as i can remember...haha.

05-24-2004, 05:17 AM
Ok, you are really :worship: :worship: :worship:

Lilly I want to know who is that on your avatar? The costume look like which Chinese people dressed in few hundreds years ago. (maybe in T'ang dynasty or times around)...
Ancient costume of Chinese, isn't it? Maybe you found this in a costume piece?

so interesting……:)

05-24-2004, 08:17 AM
hey alita!!! it's BJORK! an icelandic (?) singer/actress... she was in Dancer in the Dark and turned up at...can't remember which ceremony...was it CANNES? dressed in a swan costume

David Kenzie
05-24-2004, 08:39 AM
Somebody translate please.
And I don't want this translation: those smileys mean that Gouze is laughing...

I already think the word "oaf" is pretty funny, but used in a french sentence was hilarious !! :D

05-24-2004, 08:44 AM
ahhh..... the oaf thing again...... i'm wondering, who started using that name first? ahahahahaha...

05-24-2004, 10:02 AM
hey alita!!! it's BJORK! an icelandic (?) singer/actress... she was in Dancer in the Dark and turned up at...can't remember which ceremony...was it CANNES? dressed in a swan costume

hahaha…… :D It really looks like Chinese costume.

I saw that movie!! Very touching! yup! Bjork is an icelander. But that avatar……:scratch: :scratch: IS that her??

05-24-2004, 10:57 AM
It is really her. Could very well be a Chinese costume, as she dresses quite extraordinarily. (like the swan costume at the OSCARS indeed)

05-24-2004, 12:06 PM
she looks like a porcelain doll!! aww... she's got an interesting music style too!

05-24-2004, 12:24 PM
she looks like a porcelain doll!!
:haha: :haha:

05-24-2004, 12:28 PM
babelfish is a website where you can translate stuff :) It is pretty helpful, but it isn't perfect so be prepared for some funny translations

thanks, tall_one! :worship: I will try it!

05-24-2004, 12:40 PM
I know that movie and I like this avatar. especially the headgear! she looks more beautiful than she was in the movie. but in the movie she was more simple, was also pretty!

05-24-2004, 12:47 PM
she's a little pixie....and we're seriously OFF TOPIC! as usual...


05-24-2004, 01:00 PM
hahaha....I just want to ask when will the op be out! ;) I hope marat will not be the first match! :(

05-24-2004, 03:38 PM
schedule of play:

CHATRIER 11:00 Start
1. Women's Singles - 1st Rnd.
Mary Pierce (FRA)[30] v. Claudine Schaul (LUX)
followed by:
2. Men's Singles - 1st Rnd.
Sebastien Grosjean (FRA)[10] v. Kevin Kim (USA)
3. Women's Singles - 1st Rnd.
Iveta Benesova (CZE) v. Serena Williams (USA)[2]
4. Men's Singles - 1st Rnd.
Juan Carlos Ferrero (ESP)[4] v. Tommy Haas (GER)

LENGLEN 11:00 Start
1. Men's Singles - 1st Rnd.
Roger Federer (SUI)[1] v. Kristof Vliegen (BEL)
followed by:
2. Women's Singles - 1st Rnd.
Tamarine Tanasugarn (THA) v. Venus Williams (USA)[4]
3. Men's Singles - 1st Rnd.
Richard Gasquet (FRA) v. David Nalbandian (ARG)[8]
4. Women's Singles - 1st Rnd.
Jennifer Capriati (USA)[7] v. Yulia Beygelzimer (UKR)

Court 1:
1. Women's Singles - 1st Rnd.
Marion Bartoli (FRA) v. Ai Sugiyama (JPN)[12]
followed by:
2. Men's Singles - 1st Rnd.
Xavier Malisse (BEL) v. Rainer Schuettler (GER)[7]
3. Women's Singles - 1st Rnd.
Gisela Dulko (ARG) v. Martina Navratilova (USA)
4. Men's Singles - 1st Rnd.
Lleyton Hewitt (AUS)[12] v. Arnaud Di Pasquale (FRA)

Court 2 11:00 Start
1. Men's Singles - 1st Rnd.
Julien Boutter (FRA) v. Martin Verkerk (NED)[19]
followed by:
2. Women's Singles - 1st Rnd.
Nathalie Dechy (FRA)[26] v. Stephanie Foretz (FRA)
3. Men's Singles - 1st Rnd.
Agustin Calleri (ARG) v. Marat Safin (RUS)[20]
4. Women's Singles - 1st Rnd.
Anastasia Myskina (RUS)[6] v. Alicia Molik (AUS)

I did not see that one coming!

btw, Björk does often look like a porcelain doll (though from up close she has many freckles) and she is usually way more beautiful (admittingly, some quirky clothes and hairstyles) than in Dancer In The Dark. I could post some pictures, but I won't cause in here we're celebrating Marat's run to the RG crown which will start tomorrow.

Little question: any info how he feels about playing smaller courts?

05-24-2004, 03:42 PM
I could post some pictures, but I won't

Had to hold myself back there, you guys have got me started on one of my favourite subjects apart from tennis :wavey: :angel:

05-24-2004, 03:46 PM
ppfff on court 2 :(

anyway, DAVAI MARAT!!!!

05-24-2004, 04:05 PM
court 2 is just ok. I think marat may be somewhat affected by the audience.maybe there will not be too many audience, but at first he must concentrate on the match!
come on marat!!!!!!!!!!

05-24-2004, 04:29 PM
Interview with Peter about Marat :) from RG Site

Lundgren: ''Safin needs motivating''

Monday, May 24, 2004

Former player Peter Lundgren has been coaching Marat Safin these past few weeks. After taking Roger Federer under his wing for many years, the Swede is delighted to be back overseeing one of the most talented players on the circuit. Here’s a quick Q&A with Coach Lundgren.

How did you become Safin’s coach?

Peter Lundgren (PL): His agent called me when he heard I had stopped working with Roger (Federer). He asked me what I was going to do and I told him I was about to have a break. I did nothing for three and a half months. Then he called me in April and asked me whether I’d be interested in coaching Marat. That’s how it all started.

Did you start working together in Estoril?

PL: No. I went to Estoril to touch base and see how we could sort things out. We decided on a trial period from Rome through to Wimbledon. After five tournaments - Rome, Hamburg, Roland Garros, Halle, and Wimbledon - we will decide whether to continue or bring things to an end.

How’s it going?

PL: Very well. His personality is very different to that of Roger’s but he’s great. He listens to what I tell him. I really like him very much. Sometimes I wish he would be a bit more motivated. Because he has so much talent.

It has to be said you’ve coached three exceptionally gifted players so far. Three world number ones - Rios, Federer, and now Safin…

PL: Absolutely. I was only saying the same thing to myself the other day; that I had coached probably the three most talented players of their generation (laughs). It’s funny. They are different but they also have a lot of things in common. They have so much talent that they all tend towards laziness. Because tennis comes so naturally to them.

How do you see your role with Marat?

PL: It’s mainly about getting him motivated. As you have said, Marat has so much raw talent, his potential is limitless. But he sometimes finds it hard to have fun on court and tends to get bored. Then he simply doesn’t’ feel like playing.

How do you think things will go for him here at Roland Garros? He’s been handed a tricky first round opponent.

PL: The first round will be tough but I think he can do really well at this tournament. If he plays to his potential, he’ll go far. Calleri certainly isn’t an easy customer but he has been injured for a while and isn’t fully fit. It’s up to us to make the most of that.

05-24-2004, 05:33 PM
court two is the biggest outside court there is. :)

I hope get to see some of it.

05-24-2004, 11:48 PM
*crosses fingers* please marat... show them what u're capable of!!!

05-25-2004, 01:12 AM
is it the first time that peter said about marat? thanks for the interview! I hope marat really listened to him! and today they can prove their improvement by the victory!
maratski, u are so lucky! I even couldn't see the match on the TV...

li'l red
05-25-2004, 01:20 AM
:wavey: Welcome to the board Li'l Red!

:) tnx a lot evryone for the warm welcome..
(my reaction's kinda late huh? really busy the past few days.. :sad: )

and im glad some of u liked my avatar.. ;)

c'mon marat... you can do it!! :)

05-25-2004, 02:09 AM
btw, Björk does often look like a porcelain doll (though from up close she has many freckles) and she is usually way more beautiful (admittingly, some quirky clothes and hairstyles) than in Dancer In The Dark. I could post some pictures, but I won't cause in here we're celebrating Marat's run to the RG crown which will start tomorrow.

First of all, I think I'm Off Topic once again. Sorry everyone!! But I really want to know "porcelain doll" is a compliment??:scratch::scratch: I had thought "porcelain doll" is a ……a doll make of china?? Now I think I misunderstood that! :unsure: :unsure:
:scratch: :scratch: Sometimes I didn't really catch your meaning, but I try to……One more thing, people always say" LAMO" and "jiat", What's that mean?
:scratch: :scratch: Don't laugh at me:sad: I really don't know.

Sorry again! Off topic again!:tape::tape:
btw, thanks the info!

05-25-2004, 02:54 AM
a porcelain doll is a doll made of china and it is normally compliment, it means you have beautiful flawless skin
LAMO=LMAO=laughing my ass off=something that is very funny
Jiat is Sirius21's name :)

05-25-2004, 03:50 AM
:lol: :lol: thanks tall-one!
:rolleyes: Jiat is Sirius21's name :dance: :lol:

05-25-2004, 11:00 AM
:haha: you poor thing alita, getting confused by all our language. just feel free to ask us if you've got anymore questions. someone's bound to be around at any time of the day. haha... wonders of multiple time zones.

marat's playing TODAY!!!!!!!!!! AHHHHHHHH!!!! verkerk's taking a ln time to wrap up his match... ok. wait. *clock check*'s not verkerk's fault. it's roger's fault. he finished his match so quickly, it's not even 2 hours from when he started. so it makes martin slow in comparison. sorry martin...but i wouldn't mind if you'd speed things up a little.

05-25-2004, 12:11 PM
Marat`s match gonan start very soon.


05-25-2004, 01:45 PM
I hope he plays a great game today, Arnaud lost this afternoon already, I wouldn't want to have another heart break in one day!

05-25-2004, 01:45 PM
they have started!!

05-25-2004, 01:52 PM
c'mon marat!!

05-25-2004, 03:31 PM
Marat won (5-7 6-1 4-1) because Calleri retired. I`m sorry for Augustin and hope he will get well soon.

Anyway, so glade Marat is through :)

He will next face Felix Mantilla.

05-25-2004, 03:56 PM
cheer for marat's victory! but I really have a sence of loss......the winning proved nothing! I hope he could learn sth from the 1st set! so many UEs! he must go on minproving!

05-25-2004, 03:59 PM
Marat`s Stats

Safin (RUS)
1st Serve % 41 of 79 = 52 %
Aces 9
Double Faults 1
Unforced Errors29
Winning 34 of 41 = 83 %
Winning % on 2nd Serve 17 of 38 = 45 %
Winners (Including Service) 38
Receiving Points Won 37 of 77 = 48 %
Break Point Conversions 5 of 13 = 38 %
Net Approaches 10 of 16 = 63 %
Total Points Won 88
Fastest Serve 204 km/h
Average 1st Serve Speed 185 km/h
Average 2nd Serve Speed 144 km/h

05-25-2004, 06:38 PM
a bit about the match from tennischick on GM :)

only saw the first two set.s Calleri came out the way he played against Agassi when he spanked him -- he was ripping shots and playing besides himself. Safin did what Jimmy Arias (the commentator i hear on ESPN-I) called a "fake tank" in the first set. everything about his body language broadcasted that he was going to just tank the flipping match. i wanted to choke him. then next thing you know Safin settles down and starts playing beautiful tennis, big serves, lovely touches. he just got into the groove. and mainly Calleri started running out of energy. on any other surface, most of his shots would have been winners, but on clay Safin was returning like a monster. up to the point that i saw, Calleri was not injured -- just frustrated, demoralized and de-energized.

by the way Safin now sports an interesting beard-mustache combo. it makes him look hot.

05-25-2004, 06:42 PM
Safin through as Calleri retires hurt
By Christian Lacaze
Tuesday, May 25, 2004

It was here at Roland Garros, six years ago, that Marat Safin first made a name for himself. He knocked out Andre Agassi in the first round that year, before progressing to the last sixteen. He will be hoping to do at least as well this time around, having successfully negotiated a tricky first round match with Agustin Calleri (5-7 6-1 4-1 ret.). The Argentinean, who was suffering from a painful left thigh, retired hurt midway through the third set.

The crowds packed the galleries of Court No2 this afternoon for the much-awaited Safin (No20) v Calleri clash.

Calleri was a finalist this year in Salvador, Brazil, where he lost to Kuerten, and boasts an excellent clay court record. Yet he had been beaten in the first round here the past two years.

Safin missed last year’s French Open with the painful wrist that troubled him all year. After a series of listless performances following his semi final loss to Guillermo Coria in Monte Carlo earlier this season, the former world number one had even contemplated scratching the French Open from his calendar.

The Russian started the stronger, earning and losing two break points in the early games. But it was Calleri who broke first, courtesy of a sweet backhand drive. The Argentinean held onto his lead until he served for the set, at which point Safin raised his game and broke back. Surprisingly, Safin then proceeded to play a poor service game, which he lost, and conceded the first set in the next game (7-5 in 51 minutes).

Visibly peeked, Safin pulled himself together at the start of the second. He had never lost in the first round in Paris and clearly didn’t intend to today. He raced to a 3-0 lead and cruised to 6-1 in 29 minutes.

Down 1-2 in the third, Calleri called in the physio, but the magic sponge obviously failed to work miracles and at 4-1 the Argentinean called it a day.

So that makes it three first round exits in a row for the unfortunate Calleri, and nine first round defeats in his last 12 Grand Slams. Safin will be relieved to have escaped this one without needing to dig too deep. The US Open 2000 winner might even take his opponent’s retirement as a sign that this could be his year. In any case, his second round match with Felix Mantilla of Spain (against whom he boasts a 2-1 record) should provide further clues as to his state of mind, and his chances of going all the way at this year’s French Open.

Court 2 - Men's Singles - 1st Round 1 2 3 4 5
Agustin Calleri ARG 7 1 1
Marat Safin RUS (20) 5 6 4

Safin made his Grand Slam debut at 1998 Roland Garros as a qualifier, upsetting Andre Agassi in the first round and defending champ Gustavo Kuerten in the second.
Safin has 11 career singles titles; Calleri has one title.
Safin’s win-loss record at Roland Garros is 18-5.
Calleri’s win-loss record at Roland Garros is 4-6.
The last two years, Calleri has lost in the first round at Roland Garros, both times to fellow Argentines.
Calleri has beaten Safin in straight sets on their two previous meetings.
In 2003, Safin finished outside of the top 50 for the first time since 1997 (due to injury).
In 2000 Safin became the youngest player to finish No2 since 19-year-old Boris Becker in 1986.

05-25-2004, 09:03 PM
I only saw the first set. Enough oafish stuff there, but he apparently pulled out the superb form after that. Sadly for him, Calleri couldn't give Marat the real tough cookie he was supposed to be. I'm not sure how I feel about. Relieved I guess.

Onwards now ... DAVAI!

05-25-2004, 10:42 PM
Sorry for Calleri.
Very glad for Marat! :D
Thanks for all reports! :kiss:

05-26-2004, 03:18 PM
Is Mantilla tougher than Calleri?

05-26-2004, 03:48 PM
it's hard to say which is tougher, I think. those spanish are always intractable, but as to mantilla, if marat could insist on the match, he must be the winner! at least mantilla is poor on physical force if the match has to be played 5 sets.

05-26-2004, 05:11 PM

Marat Safin was tipped for a massive future when he demolished the great Pete Sampras to lift his first Grand Slam title at Flushing Meadows in 2000.

Safin was a 6ft 4in giant with enough raw talent and power to usurp Sampras as the world's number one.

But four years on the 24-year-old is surprisingly still searching for his second major title.

A younger generation headed by Roger Federer and Andy Roddick had begun to seize control and inconsistent form and injuries threatened to ensure Safin's skills never realised the glory they deserved.

Finally at this year's Australian Open he began to break through again when, freed from the left wrist injury which plagued him throughout 2003, he reached his second Grand Slam final.

But even those closest to him are now accepting that injuries apart, the Russian needs to buck his ideas up before he grabs greatness.

In an encouraging sign of his continued desire to reach such peaks, Safin recently employed Swedish coach Peter Lundgren, who had previously worked with Marcelo Rios and was also the man behind Roger Federer's 2003 Wimbledon success.

And Safin can be sure that Lundgren will not wheel out the excuses for many more below-par displays.

"I really like him but sometimes I wish he would be more motivated because he has so much talent," Lundgren said in a revealingly honest interview with the official French Open website this week.

"They [Safin, Rios and Federer] are different but they also have a lot of things in common.

"They have so much talent that they all tend towards laziness - because tennis comes so naturally to them.

"Marat has so much raw talent that his potential is limitless. But he sometimes finds it hard to have fun on court and gets bored, and then he simply doesn't feel like playing."

Knowing Safin, he will not have been too bullish about his chances of success on the Roland Garros clay this fortnight.

But he will be even less inclined to encourage potential backers in the build-up to Wimbledon where his best display remains a quarter-final place in 2001.

"I don't like grass and I can't play on it," Safin insisted during a pre-Wimbledon tournament in Liverpool two years ago which, ironically, he won.

So far it is his attitude rather than his talent which has garnered the most notice.

America's People magazine named Safin one of the 'Most Intriguing People' in 2000 but the true all-time great lists remain out of reach.

Lundgren has got a major task on his hands to improve Safin's fortunes and turn him into a player with the truly top-drawer pedigree he has it within him to achieve.

05-26-2004, 05:13 PM
Thursday Order of Play

Court 1 11:00 Start
1. Women's Singles - 2nd Rnd.
Francesca Schiavone (ITA)[17] v. Virginie Razzano (FRA)
followed by:
2. Men's Singles - 2nd Rnd.
David Ferrer (ESP) v. Julien Benneteau (FRA)
3. Women's Singles - 2nd Rnd.
Anastasia Myskina (RUS)[6] v. Barbora Strycova (CZE)
4. Men's Singles - 2nd Rnd.
Felix Mantilla (ESP) v. Marat Safin (RUS)[20]

05-26-2004, 05:13 PM
Is Mantilla tougher than Calleri?
i think so, Mantilla won a tennis masters series (rome) on clay last year beating Nalbandian, Costa and Federer along the way. Having said that, he hasn't had much of a year in 2004.

05-26-2004, 08:43 PM
*sigh* court 1 last match, probably not gonna see much of that again, that alone is a reason to go through, Marat: make it to Chatrier or Lenglen. Mantilla has been quite invisible this year for me, but I'm remaining confident.

*praying to see at least 1 set*

05-27-2004, 01:30 AM
marat.....pleaseeeeeee........ i don't want to see that ridiculous theory of mine come true.....

05-27-2004, 02:47 AM

05-27-2004, 03:14 AM
Siruis! Marat'll never let you down.;)
hahaha~~~I'll go home to watch that match!! :bounce: :bounce:

05-27-2004, 10:52 AM
he better not... hehe... hopefully i'll get to see it. the fft world coverage jumps between all courts, but marat's scheduled to play at the same time serena's on court as well as juanqui, so the odds are pretty slim.

05-27-2004, 05:21 PM
Jiat!(now I know what it mean:lol: ;))
The score now is 6-4.2-6.6-2.2-0.
Marat you will not lose in that way,right? I hope when I wake up tomorrow, I will see the winner is MARAT SAFIN!...I must go now, cann't know the rest of match!

05-28-2004, 12:11 AM has been suspended due to bad light at 7-7 in the 5th. how long were they playing? i'm hoping marat will be refreshed and will get started quickly and end the match quickly, as the victor of course.

so...MR SAFIN... hope you heard that...pretty please....and cut down on those UEs. stop giving ppl free points. they really don't need it you know.

PS: would someone kindly explain to me what provoked him to pull down his pants? :devil: *honestly, marat!* :angel:

05-28-2004, 03:44 AM
i think the match had lasted 4 hours and 15 minutes give or take a little

From my understanding, his shorts were already sliding down so after making a really awesome shot he just helped them down a little more for a quick laugh :)

05-28-2004, 05:46 AM
He was pulling them down as a joke after an unbelievable shot he made ... the crowd was laughing, Mantilla was laughing, Marat was laughing, everybody was laughing and the fucking umpire fined him and drew him a point.

05-28-2004, 07:46 AM
:haha: play an unbelievable shot and then give it away ... he's definitely trying to keep the suberb tennis and oafish stuff on the same level!

05-28-2004, 11:48 AM
he needs a brain scan after this tournament. haha..... but gee...what's with the umpire? it's not as if he was doing the full monty! and players do it all the time...though they don't do it on the court itself, the sidelines are just as bad... hehe... if it were wimbledon i mihgt have understood the penalty, but it's RG...!!

05-28-2004, 01:42 PM
I can't express the excitement now! it's really a difficult but a great win! maybe marat didi't play very well. maybe he need to check his head after the match. but the wining is always the wining! cheering for him!!!

05-28-2004, 01:55 PM
gosh... once again, i'm reminded of why i love this guy's game... went through an entire gamut of emotions and it was only 20 minutes. can't imagine the state i'd be in if i had watched the entire match.

:woohoo: :worship: :banana: :yippee: :dance: :woohoo:

05-28-2004, 02:02 PM
I'm so glad he won :D I think that if they would had played longer yesteday that marat would have lost he wasn't playing good.
but it was real fun to see

05-28-2004, 02:07 PM
MArat deserved to win. he was playing with a computer-controlled movable wall out there. He was winning purely because of winners and losing only because of his own errors.

05-28-2004, 02:38 PM
I think Lundgren factor may be the key in Marat's uncharacteristic victory :). today , from the match, we can tell that he was quite composed even at key moments where score was 30-30 .

05-28-2004, 03:36 PM
just glade he got through that :woohoo:

05-28-2004, 03:55 PM
CHATRIER 11:00 Start
1. Women's Singles - 3rd Rnd.
Jennifer Capriati (USA)[7] v. Elena Bovina (RUS)[25]
followed by:
2. Men's Singles - 3rd Rnd.
Roger Federer (SUI)[1] v. Gustavo Kuerten (BRA)[28]
3. Women's Singles - 3rd Rnd.
Mary Pierce (FRA)[30] v. Venus Williams (USA)[4]
4. Men's Singles - 3rd Rnd.
Potito Starace (ITA) v. Marat Safin (RUS)[20]

05-28-2004, 11:52 PM
He was pulling them down as a joke after an unbelievable shot he made ... the crowd was laughing, Mantilla was laughing, Marat was laughing, everybody was laughing and the fucking umpire fined him and drew him a point.

:haha: Marat! Saw a pic, but I'd love to see this on tv. :angel:
unpire :rolleyes:

05-29-2004, 08:03 AM
*praying that the first three matches go real fast*

05-29-2004, 12:01 PM
Safin Drops Shorts, Wins at French Open

PARIS - Marat Safin celebrated a particularly nifty shot at the French Open by mooning the crowd, which raised the question: What will he do if he wins the tournament? The mercurial Russian advanced to the third round Friday by winning a two-day marathon against Felix Mantilla, 6-4, 2-6, 6-2, 6-7 (4), 11-9.

The match was suspended Thursday because of darkness at 7-all in the fifth set and ended 24 minutes after it resumed when Mantilla sailed a backhand long.

Afterward, Safin was still annoyed about being penalized a point for dropping his shorts early in the fifth set Thursday.

"I felt it was a great point for me," the former U.S. Open champion said. "I felt like pulling my pants down. What's bad about it?"

To celebrate a drop shot he hit for a winner, Safin grabbed his shorts, pulled them down to his thighs and leaned over. It appeared he wore underwear that remained in place, partially obscured by his long shirt.

The crowd cheered and laughed.

"Nobody complained," Safin said. "Everybody was OK. It wasn't like really bad."

He hitched up his pants with a smile, but it disappeared when chair umpire Carlos Bernardes Jr. penalized Safin a point. The Russian argued in vain with Bernardes and ITF supervisor Mike Morrissey, then applauded the ruling facetiously before play resumed.

Safin said tennis officials discourage making the sport fun.

"They tried to destroy the match," he said. "All of the people who run the sport, they have no clue. It's a pity that the tennis is really going down the drain. Every year it's getting worse and worse and worse. There has to be a radical change, and I hope it will be really soon."

A possible fine for Safin will be discussed Saturday, the International Tennis Federation said.

Top women's player Lindsay Davenport, long a paragon of tennis etiquette, agreed with Safin that penalizing him a point was an overreaction.

"I thought it was a little uncalled for," she said. "He definitely wasn't doing it in a fit of anger. They're always telling us to lighten up anyway."

05-29-2004, 12:02 PM
Safin offers Roland Garros brilliance and bungling
By Francois Thomazeau

PARIS, May 28 (Reuters) - Marat Safin, with his new beard and flowing locks, doubled as a latter day musketeer at Roland Garros on Friday.

But as artful D'Artagnan or a dizzy, clumsy Portos? The Paris crowd could never be quite sure.

At times, the capricious Russian took the breath away as he racked up 125 winners in a marathon 6-4 2-6 6-2 6-7 11-9 win over Felix Mantilla.

But just as often, it seemed, he drew gasps of dismay with a tally of 101 unforced errors over four hours and 38 minutes of switchback fortunes which straddled two days.

Safin must surely be every bookmaker's nightmare. Just how do you set odds on such a mixture of brilliance and bungling?

It was, to misquote Charles dickens, the best of performances -- and the worst.

His serving stats sum up his day. He only directed 51 percent of his first serves into play but of those, 18 were dazzling aces.


With respect to Mantilla, the match depended almost entirely on Safin for its high and low points with the Spaniard playing the straight guy, only allowed to steal the odd scene with a shot of inspiration himself.

The script was often cheap, though. Safin received a point's penalty in the heat of the fifth set when he pulled down his shorts to celebrate a great point at the net.

"I felt this way. I felt like pulling my pants down. You try to make this fun," he said afterwards, puzzled that the court officials hadn't seen the gag.

"They do everything they can to take the entertainment away.

"It's a joke," he added in English having also employed Russian and Spanish during the match itself, not to mention profane.

But it was not all pantomime. There were also moments of pure grace when Safin proved that far from circus clown, he is a tennis player of often unmatched flair and imagination.

When Safin rushed to the net to save Mantilla's only match point he flicked his racket like a foil, chopping the ball away.

Countering Mantilla's measured, looping groundstrokes with perfect timing he powered the ball into the corners for winners past one of the best retrievers in tennis.

In sum, then, Safin remains a threat for anyone left in the draw. As long as he leaves Portos back home...

05-29-2004, 12:04 PM
Dostoevsky's man on the tennis court
By Simon Kuper
Published: May 28 2004 18:06 | Last Updated: May 28 2004 18:06

Marat Safin, probably the world's most talented tennis player, smacks an easy ball into the net and pretends to cry. Then he extends a hand and lets it tremble. The Russian is always happy to make his internal state external, even in front of thousands of people. The scoreboard says he is playing the Spanish journeyman Felix Mantilla in the second round of the French Open, but the truth is that for three hours Safin has been playing against himself.

It is 8.30pm on Thursday, a chilly night is descending over Paris, and Safin's volley has stopped functioning. He keeps coming to the net as if sucked there, but keeps missing. Sometimes he strokes the volleys in slow-motion, like a beginner practising, but still they miss. He loses the tiebreak of the fourth set by netting a ball that a Sunday player would have put away. After yet another error, he cries: "So burned out! So fucking burned out!" He says it in English, but Safin is as fluent berating himself in Spanish.

In the endless final set, he flies across court to catch a Mantilla drop-shot, and miraculously puts it away for a winner. While the Spaniard stares at him aghast, Safin, inspired, pulls down his shorts. The crowd cheers - female fans love the goateed 6ft 5in Russian bear - but the umpire penalises him a point. A journalist in the press stand mutters: "He's mad, a nutter." This is how the sports pages normally characterise Safin. In fact, in a sport that produces few Dostoevskian characters, Safin is one.

His background is unremarkable - at least for his generation of tennis players. His mother, Rausa Islanova, was a tennis coach in Moscow. When her son was a toddler, and uninterested in the game, she put him on court. When he was 13, she shipped him off to a tennis academy in Valencia. Mrs Safin remains a presence, sometimes interrupting her boy's press conferences with calls to his mobile. Safin considers himself lucky to have escaped the fate of his sister Dinara Safina, now the 36th-ranked women's player, who was kept at home and coached by their mother.

Yet Mrs Safin's plan worked. Her son became the complete tennis player. Aged only 20 he hammered Pete Sampras in the 2000 US Open final, playing what Sampras called "the tennis of the future". And that was it. Safin has never won another grand-slam title. "Probably it was a mistake to win that tournament," he reflected in Paris this week. "If I had not won the US Open, I would probably have won more grand slams."

Everyone finds it infuriating. Safin on form blasts every shot to the corners of the court, except for his drop-shot, which he could land on an ant without disturbing it. Mats Wilander, one of Safin's many former coaches, says he has the most complete arsenal of strokes of any player ever. Russia's Davis Cup captain Shamil Tarpischev sighs: "He could be as dominant as Michael Jordan was or Michael Schumacher, Tiger Woods. Unfortunately, he has the talent but not the desire to be the world number one."

In fact, Safin seems to wrestle with the question of desire. When I asked whether he had considered quitting tennis, he replied: "Everybody does. Many times in his life. Because the game is so hard, because there is a lot of pressure, because it's a tough job." This, incidentally, demonstrates the cruelty of the tennis tour. You never hear young basketball or soccer players musing about retirement. So why did he return, after a few happy months off last year with a wrist injury? "I could give you a thousand reasons. Because tennis is my job, because I have no life if I don't play tennis, because I am 24 years old and one of the best."

on Friday afternoon he finally disposed of Mantilla, taking the fifth set 11-9, and in today's third round he faces the Italian upstart Potito Starace. For most top players, this would be a routine victory. But Safin won't be playing Starace. He'll be playing himself, a much tougher opponent.

His frequent meltdowns are, he believes, the flipside of his thrilling style. "I'm not consistent because I'm not waiting for mistakes and playing from the baseline and running from side to side," he says. "My tennis, actually, is 90 per cent about risk. And when you have no confidence, it's difficult to push down the line on important points."

Or indeed, on Thursday's evidence, to hit the ball over the net at all. What Safin doesn't add is that tennis is hardest when you think - as he does - about every ball you hit. The great champions, notably Bjorn Borg, inhabit the so-called "zone", where the body seems to do everything on autopilot. Safin is too reflective for that.

"If I don't win in Paris," he said months ago, "in that city that's so special to me, later I won't be able to look back contented on my tennis years." He probably won't win it this time. But the rest of us can enjoy watching his torment.

05-29-2004, 12:10 PM
Tennis bares it's lack of humor

By Karen Crouse, Palm Beach Post Staff Writer
Saturday, May 29, 2004

PARIS -- Marat Safin was chasing down Felix Mantilla's drop shot at the end of a dramatic, drawn-out rally when he suffered a wardrobe malfunction.

His shorts slipped off his narrow hips and started inching south.

Safin managed to get his racket on the ball and put it back on Mantilla's side for an improbable winner.

The point was the epitome of their second-round match at the French Open. Safin and Mantilla had been on the court for nearly three hours, playing to a virtual draw. The exhausted Russian was so exultant when his shot fell fair and was unreturned, he pushed his shorts down the rest of the way to reveal his tighty-whities.

So the Roland Garros gathering got a brief look at Safin's briefs. Big deal.

It wasn't a purposeful, petulant act, like Ilie Nastase's mooning Manhattan at the U.S. Open. It wasn't a peevish, puerile act, like Jeff Tarango's dropping his pants and waddling off the court with his shorts around his ankles after losing a game against Michael Chang in Tokyo.

"I think he did it (to be) funny, not with a bad intention," Mantilla said. Indeed, in terms of intent, what Safin did was much closer to defensive back Jason Sehorn stepping out of his pants as he sprinted after Detroit receiver Johnnie Morton in a game during the 2000 NFL season.

Or former Chicago White Sox player Steve Lyons dropping his pants at first base to dust off his skivvies.

The, ahem, bottom line was Safin didn't reveal any more than Serena Williams in her fuchsia hot pants.

You would have to be a humorless prig to have been offended by Safin's spontaneous way of putting a pivotal point behind him.

So it was absolutely no surprise that Safin was promptly assessed a point penalty by the chair umpire, Carlos Bernardes. His ruling was corroborated by the court supervisor, Mike Morissey.

The players would squeeze in only eight more games Thursday night before their match was suspended by darkness with the score at 7-7 in the deciding fifth set. Safin would come back Friday and on a slow day on the clay courts give tennis some more unwanted exposure.

Of course he would. The player who can be as volatile as the Detroit Pistons' Rasheed Wallace -- or Italy's Mount Vesuvius -- had had an entire night to smolder.

He is a cloudburst in perpetual search of a parade and tennis' pompous suits always make an easy target.

After rebuffing Mantilla 6-4, 2-6, 6-2, 6-7 (4), 11-9, Safin bared all, albeit this time only metaphorically.

"I don't know why," Safin said when asked why he dropped his shorts. "I just did it. It just happened. I felt it was a great point for me. I felt like pulling down my pants. What's bad about it? It's like the entertaining business. You try to make it fun.

"You know, I'm working my (butt) off on the court, it was a full crowd, a full stadium. We did a great job, I think. It was great tennis for four hours."

It was such scintillating tennis, even the grand pooh-bahs of the sport couldn't spoil it. Safin said shame on them for trying. The point penalty "was a terrible thing to do," he said. "They just basically tried to destroy the match... show that they're above the tennis players. All of the people who run the sport, they have no clue. It's really a pity. It's a pity that tennis is going down the drain."

Safin was just getting going. He is famous for speaking off the cuff but what he said next sounded less like a riff than a rallying cry.

"They do everything possible to to take away the entertainment," said the eighth-year pro. "You're not allowed to do that. You're not allowed to do this. You're not allowed to do many things. It's just a joke. It's really a joke.

"Every year it's getting worse, worse and worse. I don't know where we're going to end up like this. It has to be a radical change, and I hope it will be really soon."

Bless Safin for his outspokenness. Tennis does need an extreme makeover, not among the minions but at the very top. Seriously, how do you warm to a climate where Williams can play in a catsuit but Tommy Haas is hassled for wearing a muscle shirt?

Where white remains the preferred color, and not just for clothes? Where sex appeal continually is confused with personality?

Where passion is considered dirtier than Roland Garros' clay?

"We're slowing moving away from (tennis' conservative roots), but there's still something that's pulling us back," said American Lindsay Davenport. "We get criticized for not showing any personality and then get penalized when we do."

Davenport, who is as conservative as beige, said, "I watched what Marat did and I didn't think it was worth a point penalty. He did it in great humor. I think that's where the umpire should use maybe better judgment."

Safin complains because he cares. That's why people should hear him roar.

"I got everything from the sport, everything I have," the 24-year-old said. "And I give everything that I have."

Somebody gave Safin a soft lob to put away. He didn't disappoint. Do you think sometimes the officials in tennis are trying to be bigger than the players? he was asked.

"Yes," Safin said. "Definitely."

One of those officials naturally took umbrage with Safin's comments. Bill Babcock, the administrator of the Grand Slam committee, said the chair umpire made the correct call in Safin's case. "When it steps past passion, either to obscenity or unsportsmanlike conduct, the rules have to make a stand," he said.

Funny, isn't it, how tennis wasn't blushing when Anna Kournikova appeared on billboards wearing a bra and a smile. Nobody dared make Williams change out of her hot pants before playing Maria Kirilenko but Martina Navratilova couldn't play her first-round match until she covered up a WTA logo on her baseball cap.

The double standard: In tennis, it's not just a reference to Todd Woodbridge and Mark Woodforde anymore.

05-29-2004, 07:41 PM
yeay! Marat won! 7-5 in the 5th set! :woo-hoo:

05-29-2004, 08:02 PM
I even cannot breathe when the italian got the MP! now I have not been so exciting as yesterday! I have exhausted all of my energy! I want to kill him now!
but... it's really another great wining for him! and I will always cheer for him!!!

05-29-2004, 08:06 PM
Marat, you almost killed me today! What a match!

Next, Nalbandian. Saw his terrible match vs Koubek. If fat Dave plays like he did today, Marat has good chances. But with Marat we never know what will happen.

05-29-2004, 08:58 PM
Since I can't post this on Christine's forum:

I saw the end of the 4th set. Marat indeed did have blisters on his hand, but his time out was obviously to regroup. The crowd didn't appreciate it at all. After saving a mp it was if I recall correctly. He just walked up to the umpire and talked to him. When Starace figured that it would take some time he walked up to the net and Marat showed him his hand.

Marat also questioned line calls in unfortunate moments for Starace and the crowd was really against him.

I saw the end of the fifth and indeed they were booing. He did wave to the crowd for a few seconds, but walked back to his chair when he figured it was him that they were booing.

This Starace has power and good placement and made Marat run for his money. I mean great groundstrokes varied with dropshots and he really let Marat go from corner to corner.

I did get the impression though that he's becoming more of a thinker on court. He seems to have a strategy. He was VERY confident on one of Starace's matchpoints and hit an amazing passing shot. I almost had a heart attack.

I wonder whether he doesn't want to peak early or simply sucks. I hope it's not the latter.

05-30-2004, 05:30 AM
I am glad to see that he is confident. but I think he needs more ability to shorten the match!
his next opponent is david, who is the fav. player of my friend... god bless him! make the match shorter!

05-30-2004, 05:32 AM
I did get the impression though that he's becoming more of a thinker on court. He seems to have a strategy. He was VERY confident on one of Starace's matchpoints and hit an amazing passing shot. I almost had a heart attack.

sounds like a nice change. hope this strategist mentality continues with positive results.

05-30-2004, 05:58 PM
WARNING: Please, not word on what's going on in the GM, in here...

Tennis Fool
05-31-2004, 03:33 AM

05-31-2004, 07:49 AM
Safin Goes From Earth to the Moon

Published: May 31, 2004


WELL-DESERVED raves were directed at Marat Safin after his dare-to-bare moment at Roland Garros on Thursday revealed a spontaneous character among the Stepford guys in the second round, but was this just one of his moon phases?

"I felt like pulling my pants down,'' Safin, the Chippendale Russian, said Friday. "What's bad about it?

"It's like, what, entertaining business. You try to make it fun.''

Then on Saturday, an entranced French Open crowd was thrilled to harass Safin when he called a Band-Aid break for blisters that happened to burst like Jiffy Pop at a tense point in his next match. But can Safin, the social smoker on the club scene, sustain the intrigue he has whipped up?

"You have to wake up and you have to run if you want to survive,'' said Safin, dripping drama after his five-set victory over Potito Starace.

The network that brought the world the soft-lens, sepia-toned Olympics was so tied to the Williams sisters' canned escapades that it couldn't provide more than a brief clip of Safin's matches, but should NBC become emotionally invested in a swinger with commitment issues?

Devotion to Marat Safin is truly complicated. Safin is an irascible, Technicolor talent who has the ability to polarize tennis crowds desperate for a male player who will prod their sense of right and wrong.

Imagine what a perfect foe the self-involved Safin would be for the valiant Andy Roddick, who was last seen pulling a Dudley Doo-Right as he rescued hotel guests from a burning building in Rome. Imagine what a wonderful foil the temperamental Safin would be for the earnest Roger Federer, whose posse includes a pet cow named Juliette but neither an agent nor a coach on his current perch at No. 1.

Meanwhile, Safin is on his seventh coach and fifth entourage in the four years since he won the United States Open at age 20. After he prowled the Manhattan vodka circuit to celebrate his first, and only, major title, Safin ended as the No. 2-ranked player in 2000, fell to No. 11 in 2001, popped up to No. 3 in 2002, then plunged to No. 77 last year.

It's the progress chart for a bucket of crabs - scramble up, fall down, repeat. Over the past week, Safin has, once again, discovered resiliency in his adventures at the French Open.

"If he wants to be a champion again like he was,'' his latest coach, Peter Lundgren, said, "he has to have that even though he says to himself: 'I hate this game. I hate this and this and this.' "

The volatility of Safin ignites and defeats him while also fueling and fooling observers. The latest display of Safin's passion has prompted discussion of how amazing he is for the game, how quickly he could reach the kind of trans-Atlantic pop status of a Boris Becker or a Goran Ivanisevic.

It's not often you can say Pete Sampras was prophetic, but in 2000, he was the soothsayer who outlined Safin's future after Safin unleashed a string of backhand returns at his feet during the United States Open final.

"Safin could be No. 1 if he wants to do it,'' Sampras said at the time. "It's a decision you have to make about your life. You have to decide how much you want to be at the top of the game and deal with the pressures."

Safin can't make up his frazzled mind. That's the trouble with his crowd-pleasing unpredictability and the intrigue of his wild moods swings: it gives rise to his early-round exits.

How can he be good for the Tour when he isn't a regular part of it? Certainly, injuries have sabotaged his attempts at smoothing out the lurches in his career, but his uneven head has done more to harm his potential to be the Tour savior. Safin cannot be a rival for the Roddicks and Federers of the Tour if he doesn't advance far enough to meet them.

The bold act of Safin is only a peep show when he doesn't stick around long enough for an encore. His unabashed style cannot build a following when he doesn't have the legs to extend himself in a major.

This past week, fans have received a delicious taste of what life with Safin could be like. One day, he left them loving him for his moon shot. A match later, they were loathing him during Blistergate.

"You know I had to take time,'' said Safin, who gladly displayed his range of blisters after defeating Starace. "So why do I have to suffer to waste away the three hours that I've been running on the court and can't hit the backhand anymore? Why I cannot take the doctor?

"It was really sad for me that the people, they couldn't understand this simple things.''

It is never simple with Safin - a fact that makes him compelling and confounding and impossible to commit to.

05-31-2004, 04:20 PM

05-31-2004, 04:28 PM
not the end but a new start!

05-31-2004, 06:08 PM
:sad: :sad: :sad:

but all kudos for Marat, who fought amazingly today and tried everything despite these nasty blisters and all the pain. I don`t know if everyone would have played in these conditions. Painfully to look even at his hands.


Rest your hands well Marat.

05-31-2004, 06:53 PM
I really suffered,” Safin said.

“I was frustrated. I couldn’t play. It was a great opportunity to fight for another title. It’s a pity. I don’t know why it happened. I never had this problem before. I’m getting old,” he added.

The 2000 US Open champion said the blisters - five on his right hand, six on the left - precluded him from bringing out his ‘A’ game.

Asked if thought about throwing the towel in, Safin responded: “This thought (of retiring) was present ever since the first point,” he said. “I couldn’t concentrate. I was looking at my hands and this one was opening, the other hurting. It takes too much energy from you. You want to win but you can’t.”

“In the last four games, I couldn’t hit a forehand.”

05-31-2004, 07:06 PM
I hope one and a half week would be enough...

06-01-2004, 12:10 AM
Just saw the end of the match. Painful to watch! Fat Dave was really focused and played very well, but Marat fought a lot, I was very impressed with his volleys. Maybe he can be a nice surprise in Wimbly. Hope his hands can be ok for grass court season.

I'll have to wait to watch my fave rivalry, Marat vs Guga. It's not easy to watch, but always fantastic matches. :worship:

06-01-2004, 03:11 AM
:worship:I couldn't believe you can continue the match with 11 blisters hands.. Although lost to Nalby,whatever you are awesome~
Get well soon..
And you are not old.

06-01-2004, 04:41 AM
I think he was somewhat frustrated by the loss and those blisters, so he said he is old. now I think more of his talk as the emotional one!
I am waiting for his wimbledon open!

06-01-2004, 07:47 AM
I hope he gets a decent draw in Winbledon! And please no 5-setters with no-names any more, just pretty please OK!!!!!!!!! :kiss:

06-01-2004, 09:30 AM
It's getting weirder and weirder to watch the Marat-story unfold...
I'm feeling really mixed about this RG, but just plain gutted by the end.

onwards to London, oh brave musketeer!

06-01-2004, 02:32 PM
He played well with those blisters, must have hurt like hell.

06-02-2004, 12:12 PM
Nalbandian drops in, makes Safin drop out
By Bud Collins, Globe Correspondent | June 1, 2004

PARIS -- Drop shorts or drop shots?

Was this the choice of the 15,109 tennis devotees who filled the big, dirt-floored room at Roland Garros for another Russian drama beneath a suitably grim, gray sky? Where did their rooting loyalties lie?

No contest. Their hearts -- except those of the few Argentine flag-flappers in the upper deck -- belonged to the mischievous Muscovite, Marat Safin, who was officially chastised the other day for lowering his shorts while winning a tense five-set match against Felix Mantilla.

Nevertheless, the victory that led to the French Open quarterfinals yesterday belonged to Argentine David Nalbandian, the eighth seed. What he dropped were deceptively launched, delicately spun, maddeningly elusive shots barely over the net that frustrated an already depressed Safin and tilted the enthralling 3-hour-23-minute struggle Nalbandian's way, 7-5, 6-4, 6-7 (5-7), 6-3.

"I thought he'd be a little tired after all the long matches he's played, and drop shots would be a good idea," said Nalbandian, whose spectacular puffball performance reaped 13 points on 17 attempts, outright winners or set-ups for winners.

But Safin had more on his hands than Nalbandian; painful blisters required repatching by a trainer five times during the match.

With a mournful smile, the gritty Safin held up his bandaged hands to reporters.

"I had some new ones after the third set," he said. "You want to count them? I will for you. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 on the left. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 on the right. That's 11.

"I don't know where they came from. Never had them before."

His many admirers probably considered them stigmata, and kept chanting his name in an attempt to raise him to the quarters that he had occupied in 2000 and '02. They leaped up to create The Wave after Safin startlingly won the third set that Nalbandian was serving for at 5-4 in the tiebreaker. But all that did was summon the real thing: water, in the form of rain, though not intrusive enough to curtail play.

Earlier, there also had been plenty of (encouraging) name-calling because the multitude got a double feature involving the tournament's matinee idols, the other being the three-time champ, Brazilian Gustavo "Guga" Kuerten.

Kuerten constantly had his court-sharer, a lefthanded Spaniard named Feliciano Lopez, going the wrong way. It amounted to a 6-3, 7-5, 6-4, victorious samba, and entry to the quarters for the first time since he won it all in 2001.

As he had in eliminating No. 1 Roger Federer, the tight-fisted Kuerten permitted the opponent a look at one -- count 'em -- one break point.

"My motivation, my enthusiasm are much higher than at the beginning of the tournament," said Kuerten. "I think the match got much more excited after I lost the serve at 5-4 in the second set. It creates more adrenaline. And I think at the end was probably the same happiness and feelings when I closed out the match."

No happy ending for the morose Safin. Could he have gone five, as he did against Spaniard Mantilla and Italian Potito Starace (saving two match points in each)?

"Fifth set? I wasn't able."

Safin, in his Musketeerish mustache and goatee, paced the court disconsolately, wearily. He muttered, thrust his hands upward in despair, shook his head, pitched the racket a couple of times, all in his repertory of stagecraft. But he didn't indulge in a specialty: racket destroying.

He came closer than it might seem: a set point in the first at 4-5, liquidated by Nalbandian's high-kicker serve and drop shot; and two points on serve to lead, 5-4, in the second.

"I had my chances," conceded No. 20 Safin. "I was missing by a little bit, or he would play well. Nalbandian can do everything -- baseline, volley, great hands with those drop shots. I couldn't be there 100 percent, maybe trying to go for a little too much."

Still, there was much brilliant shotmaking from both. Nalbandian sagely took the sting out of the big guy's mammoth serve by receiving 3-4 yards behind the baseline. He was speedy enough to get right into the point.

"It was not easy for him, but I play too good for him today," said Nalbandian, exhilarated by the win and the prospect of an unprecedented all-Argentine semifinal round. Compatriots Guillermo Coria (against Charlie Moya), Juan Ignacio Chela (against Tim Henman), and Gaston Gaudio (against Lleyton Hewitt) also have a shot at the final four.

Nalbandian felt the blisters didn't lessen his opponent's power. But Safin said, "Too many things in my head. I thought all the time maybe I can't go on. It took too much concentration and energy. It was another big opportunity for me to fight for a title. Just to waste this opportunity this way, it's a pity."

His faithful sadly witnessed the departure of this unpredictable 6-foot-4-inch chunk who wears his emotions out front. Why was he a drawers-dropper in the second round? Auditioning for a Calvin Klein commercial?

"I don't know why," he said. "I was happy for a good shot. That's who I am. That's me."

Why didn't he try a golf or batting glove to counter the blisters?

"Next life," he shrugged.

Many of the same crowd booed Safin fiercely Saturday when he unsportingly took an injury timeout at 4-5, deuce, in the 10th game of the fifth set against Starace. Having just ducked two match points, he let a furious Starace stew for three minutes. Down rained the whistles and boos.

"They're allowed to do anything they want," he said. "That's why they're paying the tickets."

06-02-2004, 12:12 PM
Blistering play costly for Safin

By Karen Crouse, Palm Beach Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, June 1, 2004

PARIS -- Marat Safin's hands were so raw, they looked like the French's interpretation of a steak cooked medium well.

If Josh Beckett isn't fit to pitch with one blister, there's no way Safin should have been playing at the French Open with legions of them.

Safin's hands were Polaroid pictures of pain, with new sores developing right in front of his eyes. He started his fourth-round match against David Nalbandian with nine blisters. Three-and-a-half hours later, he had 11.

There were six on his left hand and five on his right hand. Forget the match. It must have been pure agony to shake Nalbandian's hand at the net after the Argentine's 7-5, 6-4, 6-7(5), 6-3 victory.

It was torture watching Safin grip his racket. We can't imagine how it felt to be him on this raw, slate-gray day at Roland Garros.

"It was quite painful," a sulky Safin said.

The Russian is a roulette of emotions in the best of times. So it was something less than a news flash when an ATP official was overheard after Safin's match speaking by walkie-talkie to a colleague in the locker room and saying, "Yeah, Marat gets like that. Try to keep him calm until (his news conference)."

Monday was a bank holiday here and Safin tried to give the fans at Court Philippe Chatrier their money's worth. They repaid his gallant effort with an ambivalence bordering on antipathy.

Their boos, like their aversion to all things American, were sadly misguided.

The fans reacted the way they did because they still had their handkerchiefs in a twist over how Safin handled his boo-boos in a third-round match against Portito Starace.

In that contest, the blisters were in full bloom by the fourth set. After saving a match point at 4-5, Safin called for an injury timeout to have the open sores on his left hand treated and taped.

That he was well within the rules to do so held no sway over all the paleoliths who persist in seeing tennis as all gentility and lace. Tennis purists came out of their box seats to decry Safin's bad form.

How dare he interrupt the poor Italian's service! How dare he try to steal Starace's momentum!

There was no question Safin's hands were pulp by then. There also was no doubt Safin was killing two objectives with one timeout: He was alleviating his pain and practicing a little gamesmanship.

To which we say: So what?

Athletics at the highest level is as much a psychological battle as it is a physical test. May the best mind win and all that.

You didn't have to be standing across the net from Starace to see that serving for the match made him very, very nervous. Starace was a qualifier and his Grand Slam inexperience became one more weakness for Safin to exploit.

Breaking an opponent's concentration, breaking his serve; all's fair in love and love. As Safin said after schooling Starace 6-7 (4), 6-4, 3-6, 7-5, 7-5, "We're not playing junior tournaments. It's like a professional tour."

That's where Safin's wrong. Even juniors know the score. We've seen 16-year-olds take a timeout to change their shirts in the third set of a close match. Then there are the 14-year-olds who untie their sneakers just so they can stop and retie them and make their opponents chill a little.

Honestly, the idea that gamesmanship is something only poor sports do is laughable. If you're the Dolphins and you have a timeout, is it wrong for you to use it when Adam Vinatieri is lining up for the Patriots to kick the game-winning field goal?

Was it wrong for the Phillies to have St. Louis reliever Julian Tavarez's cap inspected during a game this season? Is it a blight on baseball that Cardinals manager Tony La Russa retaliated by having Philadelphia outfielder Pat Burrell's bat confiscated and inspected for cork?

That's sports. Sometimes you're the arrow and sometimes you're the bull's-eye.

It's funny how the fans at Roland Garros didn't turn on Nalbandian when he pecked away at Safin's backhand -- the side that brought both blistered hands in play -- or when he exacerbated Safin's discomfort with a medley of drop shots.

Nalbandian exploited Safin's weakness as unashamedly as Safin had exploited Starace's. Of course he did. He's a competitor.

"I couldn't take my chances, couldn't concentrate and really get into the match," Safin said. "I couldn't be there 100 percent. There were too many things in my head. Every time the tape (on his hands) was opening, it was quite painful."

Safin was asked if there was a point in the match when he thought to himself: "I can't go on."

"This thought was present the whole time, from the first point of the match," Safin said. "Just because you cannot focus just on him and trying to beat him. I was really hitting the ball well. But every time I looked, (one blister) is opening, another one is starting to hurt me and I have to tell the chair umpire, 'Please call the doctor again.' It takes too much concentration from you and too much energy... You want to win, but you cannot."

Safin gave it his best shot under trying conditions. Ultimately, isn't that the mark of a true sportsman?

06-02-2004, 12:13 PM
Nalbandian ousts Safin

An outbreak of blisters and the finesse shots of David Nalbandian were too much for Marat Safin in the French Open's round of 16.


PARIS - Marat Safin swabbed his raw wounds with medicine and bandaged his fingers. He tried to ignore the pain of gripping a racket.

During changeovers he studied his bloody hands despairingly and wondered if it was worth it to keep playing.

In the end he could overcome neither an inopportune breakout of blisters nor the drop shots of David Nalbandian, who wore down the tired and tortured Safin in four sets, 7-5, 6-4, 6-7 (7-5), 6-3.

Safin won applause Monday from the empathetic Roland Garros fans, but it was Nalbandian who earned his first quarterfinal berth in the French Open. He is the top seed among four Argentines in the final eight.

''I really suffered,'' Safin said. 'I was really hitting well the ball, but every time I looked, this one is opening, another one is starting to hurt me. To chair umpire I say, `Please call the doctor again.' It takes too much concentration from you and too much energy.''

Gustavo Kuerten suffered, too, but not quite as acutely as he has grown accustomed to chronic hip pain the past two years. For the third straight match he played with brutal efficiency and managed to protect his ailing hip by getting off the court in less than two hours with a 6-3, 7-5, 6-4 win over Spain's Feliciano Lopez.

Brazil's Kuerten played brilliant clay-court tennis, faced only one break point and connected on 80 percent of his first serves.

Four points from closing out the match, he lunged, fell, rolled on his back and found himself covered with the orange dirt he has mastered three times for French Open titles. He smiled as a ball boy helped him towel off.

Kuerten will play Nalbandian on Wednesday in an all-South American quarterfinal.


''Nothing's going to be easy for me, but I think everything that I'm facing now, it can become a kind of motivation and raise my game even higher,'' Kuerten said. ``I have to deal with all the circumstances physically that I didn't have in the past. That can be difficult for me sometimes, and sometimes maybe it can help me to get as concentrated on the court as I am right now.''

In the other men's singles matches, Australia's Lleyton Hewitt eliminated Belgium's Xavier Malisse as Hewitt's Belgian fiancée, Kim Clijsters, watched from the stands. Unseeded Gaston Gaudio of Argentina beat Russia's Igor Andreev and joined countrymen Nalbandian, Guillermo Coria and Juan Ignacio Chela in the quarterfinals.

Safin's French Open adventures continued on a chilly, damp day. On Thursday night he had dropped his shorts to celebrate a winning shot and was penalized a point. On Saturday, he took an injury timeout to have his blistered hands patched just when qualifier Potito Starace was on the verge of an upset. And on Monday, he played gamely but said he was constantly distracted by the 11 blisters on his ravaged hands. Five times he sought help changing the tape on his fingers and palms or had the blisters treated with antiseptic or Tough Skin spray.

Safin had a chance to break Nalbandian at 5-4 and win the first set, but Nalbandian won three straight points. Nalbandian controlled the second set but wasted opportunities to close out in the third when he led 6-5 but lost his serve, then led 5-2 in the tiebreaker.


After Safin hit three tiebreaker winners to tighten the match, he seemed to lose momentum while Nalbandian turned up his resolve. Nalbandian, the No. 8 seed, won the first three games of the fourth set before ending the match with an ace. He kept Safin -- who had survived two five-setters in a row -- scrambling with feathery drop shots.

''I tried to move him a little bit more because he maybe was a little tired,'' Nalbandian said.

Russia's Safin, known for his temperamental behavior, was aiming to get to his second straight Grand Slam final after losing to Roger Federer in the Australian Open.

But it will be Nalbandian trying to end another inspired run by Kuerten, who has dominated his matches with a strong serve, judicious trips to the net and a slashing backhand.

Although he twice needed changeover massage on his sore right thigh and hip, Kuerten showed he can still move well when he dashed for a forehand in the corner and passed Lopez with a cross-court winner for a break en route to winning the second set 7-5. Altogether he had 29 winners to only 26 unforced errors.

''Of course, you never underestimate Guga,'' Nalbandian said of Kuerten. ``He's a very dangerous player. He'll have the crowd on his side. I'm really impatient to go back on the court and play that match.''

06-02-2004, 12:14 PM
No. 8 Nalbandian increases Safin's pain

By Charles Bricker
Staff Writer
Posted June 1 2004

PARIS • Marat Safin leaned forward in an interview chair just far enough to get his face near a microphone, moving his lips languidly above a dashing goatee that made him look a bit like a very tired and very beaten Porthos, the largest and most foreboding of Les Trois Mousquetaires.

There's no question about the number of wounds, which pained him throughout a 7-5, 6-4, 6-7 (5), 6-3 loss to slick stroking, drop-shotting Argentine David Nalbandian. He counted them for a room filled with reporters.

Six on the left hand, five on the right. Not quite sushi grade, but raw enough to leave a few viewers cringing.

"The hands I don't care about actually anymore because I'm just a little bit frustrated. It was another opportunity for me to fight for a title. Just to waste this opportunity this way, it's a pity," Safin said with resignation.

It wasn't a good day for Russians, but it was another splendid day for the Argentines -- Nalbandian, the No. 8 seed, and unseeded Gaston Gaudio, who ran through Safin's countryman, Igor Andreev, to reach the quarterfinals of the French Open.

The two victories kept alive the best sports saga in South America right now, that four Argentines could fill the four slots in the semifinals. Tournament favorite Guillermo Coria and Juan Ignacio Chela ascended to the quarters Sunday.

And so today Coria, seeded third, will play the last Spaniard in the draw, No. 5 Carlos Moya, for one of those semifinal spots while Chela takes on No. 9 Tim Henman of Britain, the first serve-and-volleyer to get this far since Patrick Rafter in 1997.

Nalbandian will get his opportunity to make the final four on Wednesday against three-time French winner Gustavo Kuerten, who defeated Feliciano Lopez 6-3, 7-5, 6-4. And Gaudio faces Lleyton Hewitt, the 12th seed, who gave Xavier Malisse a tennis lesson Monday 7-5, 6-2, 7-6 (6).

Safin, the 2000 U.S. Open champion, is one of the most antic figures in men's tennis, and he reinforced his reputation last week by dropping his shorts after putting the finishing touch on a brilliantly played point against Felix Mantilla.

He was anything but humorous after this match, in which he was visited six times by the trainer, who alternately sprayed a "second skin" on his hands and wrapped his fingers in tape. Neither was a permanent solution.

"I couldn't hit forehand. I couldn't do many things. Every time, I had to change the tape," Safin said.

He had his moments in this match and Nalbandian insisted Safin was smacking the ball every bit as hard as he did in their previous four matches, all of which Safin had won.

Looking doleful, Safin said he was thinking the entire match that he could not finish. "I was really hitting the ball well, but every time I had to look at my hands, this blister was opening or another one is starting to hurt me. It takes too much concentration from you and too much energy."

Nalbandian was hardly brilliant, until the fourth set, but he was ecstatic that he and Gaudio had pulled to within one round of reaching the semis. "It's incredible," he said of the prospect of a quartet of Argentines in the final four.

It would be the first time in a French Open that four from the same country accomplished this feat, and the fourth time in Grand Slams.

At the 1995 Australian Open, Americans Pete Sampras, Michael Chang, Andre Agassi and Aaron Krickstein made it to the semis.

In 1979 at the U.S. Open, Vitas Gerulaitis, Roscoe Tanner, John McEnroe and Jimmy Connors of the United States made it.

And in 1976, at the Australian Open, it was four Aussies -- Mark Edmondson, Ken Rosewall, Ray Ruffels and John Newcombe.

Hewitt's victory was a personal watershed, sending him into the quarters of the French for the first time by mastering Malisse, who looked spectac-ular the day before in turning back Albert Costa.

Hewitt got on Malisse's backhand and stayed on it, engineering long crosscourt rallies in hopes of keeping Malisse from getting a good solid forehand, which is his most potent shot.

"His forehand's obviously his biggest weapon, but especially toward the end of the first set, when I was able to turn the match around from 3-5 down, his forehand was the shot that was starting to make more mistakes," Hewitt said.

He was exactly right. Well into the second set, Malisse was missing his crosscourt forehands into the net, suggesting he was a tad in front of the ball, and curling his forehands down the line inches out.

After using it to subdue Costa, he couldn't get it to click in until the third set, and by then it was too late. Meanwhile, Hewitt played spectacular defensive tennis, showing more patience on the French clay than he ever has.

Kuerten continued his resurrection with an easy win over Lopez, and his service has been the key factor. In his last 30 service games, going back to the second game of the third-round win over Roger Federer, Kuerten has faced only one break point.