News & Articles Part 1 - Yeti Premonitions [Archive] - Page 4 - MensTennisForums.com

News & Articles Part 1 - Yeti Premonitions

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Aurora
11-26-2004, 10:59 AM
:lol: doesn't food motivate you?

*goes to kitchen to snatch lunch*

maratski
11-26-2004, 11:07 AM
Thanks sweetie, but im over my mood, they never last long anyway. I managed to finish 2 of my 6 billion assignments so things are looking up.

If you dont mind me asking, what's stopping you from getting a job in paris?you've worked there before right?

:hug: welcome to the world of the lost and directionless, why do you think im still studying? ;)



what? :eek: :eek: :sad: I havent been on wx for ages, but that sucks, wx is worth the 12 bucks though, it's a good board.

The first two times in Paris were temporary and my father doesn't like the idea of his little girl being alone in the big city.

I considered studying, but there are no nice studies out there so I'm not going to bother studying something I don't even want to do.

Michal is still working on the new board so wel'll see if it becomes as nice as WX. Dina posts more on becca's board now.

maratski
11-26-2004, 11:09 AM
bromine? a compound of it is used in making camera film and a its used in making dyes and stuff i think.

Thanks! I need to know what it is before applying for the job so I know more now :)

chocc0
11-26-2004, 11:09 AM
:lol: doesn't food motivate you?

*goes to kitchen to snatch lunch*

Yeah it does lol i just came back from downstairs with an ice block
but i still don't want to goto a stupid wedding...ooh yes i do i'm getting my hair done! I love it when my hair is done

maratski
11-26-2004, 11:11 AM
I do- I want to be filthy rich, I just dont know how to go about it :sad:

Great minds think alike. ;)

I can always marry a rich man from the Middle East, but they're not so nice. I can always kidnap Marat and brainwash him ;)

Bibir
11-26-2004, 11:59 AM
I will never be very rich I think...I'm not very ambitious..I just want to have fun...and enough money for me, my "bat" man and our two lovely children.

I hope I can do lots of things with an art degree(not sure about the translation)...but supply has to meet demand...well, I'll see in 3 years.

Ilhame <<< don't wait too much because you'll become more and more lazy...You don't need to study anymore( BAC +4 is enough).
Ask for help at your employment agency. :wavey:

Shadow
11-26-2004, 03:20 PM
some reports about Marat (and other players) from this years China Open, found on JCF Online Fanclub.

thanks violet and Armada:

so,Roger has already arrive Thailand...that's good...wow,thinking about Andy and Carlos and Marat would come one by one is really exciting!

And I know he would seems normal,actully the deepest impression I got in this CO is every star is just human being and if u dont view them as stars,they are just some cute guys and live a life that everyone else lives...sooo many stars give me such impressions...JC,Carlos,Marat,Paradorn,Rainer..... even Serena and Maria Sharapowa...they are all so nice and so easy to get.I mean,they would all smile sweetly and say "thank u"when u did something for them,they also like to make jokes with friends and come and ask us politely "excuse me,I wonder if I can..."u will getting to like them more and more as some normal cute guys but stars.Marat's translator was once a little mas about him coz she thought he was too cool and dont wanna talk too much,but it turns out that he is really sweet,she told us Marat is just a kid,u just cant really be mad with him,and when he is leaving,he asked her to take care of his sister Safina for him...such an amazing brother!*sigh*I'm really gonna miss them...oh Serena is also really nice to everyone and she is very friendly.Maria is amazing...so pretty but also babyish...whatever to say she is still not 18 yet.(sorry I know I should post this in some other thread...but forgive me being lazy just one time.. )


I think Roger really deserves to be no.1. He is like the best player in the world at the moment but he still has a lot of friends, and all the Swiss guys seem to love him. They hang out together, playing games together, and Roger was really talkative when with friends I mean...JC is talkative when with friends, too. But Roger is louder What I like most about Roger is how he treats us with respect, not just some kind of servants.

As for Marat...now I totally understand why his fans love him so much...coz he is so kind, cute (not to mention that he is also very very hot). I thought he would be a moody, hot-tempered kind as seen from his gestures on court. Turn out...he is really kind and really patient with fans. He almost gives them anything they want. And he was very funny with staff like us. He teased us a lot and not self-conscious at all. Like he didnt know how hot he is... Once he walked into our office out of the blue. I was on the phone but a bit shocked to see him. He smiled at me mischievously. Then...instead of walking towards the counter where I was, he turned right to where my friend was standing, looking at the information board (she didnt see him. nobody saw him but me then). He bent down, grabbed her calf and barked I thought he aimed for my friend to jump and scream. But my friend is an emotionless kind so she just turned around with a very cool face. I thought he must be a bit disappointed, coz she didnt get mad and start throwing things as he expected... but my friend told me she was bit shocked to see it was Marat, coz she thought it was some other naughty players. I was so excited coz I always thought Marat would be a cool type of guy, not as playful as this He still has a lot more cute things that impressed us all.

About Andy... I really didnt want to talk about what he did here on public forum. Coz it was really really bad. But I can say one thing, the ferrero fan , that what made us change our perception of him is not his on-court behaviors at all. I mean, we all are mature enough to distinguish between on-court expressions and real life. I dont mind if he questions line calls, or if he overacts on court, coz that's understandable. And I always like his witty answers during interview. But at least I think he should treat other people better off-court, especially the staff who do everything for him and demand nothing from him. It was not just that he was not nice (I mean, C'mon...JC wasn't THAT nice last year but I still fell for him). I understand that superstars cant be nice all the time, coz they are humans too. But Andy went beyond the acceptable boundary. He was very very rude. Not just to me only. Many staff who had to deal with him directly faced the same thing, too. I still have to admit about his drive on court, and I will always admire him as a decent player. And I'm not trying to change anyone's opinion about him. But as for me and for a lot other staff here, I don't think we can ever again like him as a person.

~EMiLiTA~
11-26-2004, 03:54 PM
the one thing I really really hate in job ads is how the always ask "experience", I get rejected time and time again, how do they want me to get some experience? aaaah, I understand them, but for me it's a neverending cycle



tell me about it...that's always my problem too...talk about a catch 22

junekidd
11-26-2004, 04:08 PM
thanks a lot, andrea. it reminds me the amazing experience on CO. :angel:
but... I really cannot imagine that marat had had any free time without those stupid bodyguards. maybe I am about to be a volunteer next year for finding out those funny things. ;)

junekidd
11-26-2004, 04:24 PM
the one thing I really really hate in job ads is how the always ask "experience", I get rejected time and time again, how do they want me to get some experience? aaaah, I understand them, but for me it's a neverending cycle


that's always the problem! I hate it too. so instead, I decide to go on studying if I could pass the exams next Jan. or I will get into the searching job battle! :(

Aurora
11-26-2004, 05:29 PM
Good luck to you, June!

:kiss: thanks Andrea for digging that up! p2p reports are the best, very informative. Marat the charmer has done his job I see, lol at the dog :confused: thing! (:scratch: @ Andy btw)

Bibir
11-26-2004, 05:52 PM
Thank you 'The Shadow' :kiss:

:hug: June & Lilly & Ilhame & ....:eek: lots of people in this world...It's very difficult to find the perfect job....hope everything will be OK for you.

maratski
11-26-2004, 08:20 PM
Thanks Andrea :kiss:

PennyThePenguin
11-27-2004, 04:03 AM
danke andrea! :kiss:

Wednesday Addams
11-27-2004, 10:29 AM
Thanx a lot, Andrea! :kiss:

*Ljubica*
11-27-2004, 01:34 PM
Hi guys - apologies if this has been posted here before, but I was just looking at some of the web-sites for tournaments early next year, and seems that Marat has already committed to the Marseilles tourney between 7th-13th February. The link is http://www.open13.org/ but at the moment only the front page seems to pertain to 2005 and all the rest of the site still relates to the 2004 tournament! David is down to play too - so I will definately hope to be there for a couple of days :)

JuanChuffy007
11-27-2004, 01:37 PM
Thanks a lot for posting Shadow :D.

Hi guys - apologies if this has been posted here before, but I was just looking at some of the web-sites for tournaments early next year, and seems that Marat has already committed to the Marseilles tourney between 7th-13th February. The link is http://www.open13.org/ but at the moment only the front page seems to pertain to 2005 and all the rest of the site still relates to the 2004 tournament! David is down to play too - so I will definately hope to be there for a couple of days

Thanks for posting :D.

junekidd
11-27-2004, 01:40 PM
thanks, Rosie. :worship:
have fun if you finally could be there.

storm923
11-27-2004, 03:05 PM
Thanks Rosie for ur great news~

Armada~121
11-29-2004, 03:18 AM
some reports about Marat (and other players) from this years China Open, found on JCF Online Fanclub.

thanks violet and Armada:

Oh wow...never expect what I posted on JCF forum would be 'unearthed' here, lol. Hi, everyone. I've been a huge lurker for quite a while and never really intended to post anything until I saw this :) That Thailand Open report was mine. And from that incident, I think now u all know why I'm here in Marat's forum :P The dog thing was just so hilarious and it's still so vivid in my memories that whenever I think of it, a big smile will appear on my face :) Actually I have good memories about all the players (except.... *cough cough*) but Marat is just so special :cool:

About Duck, I've talked to some players and they said he is not a bad guy, just arrogant. Couldn't agree more. I don't think either that he's essentially bad, but he's certainly not a nice and friendly person. I kinda think he must be pretty lonely though.

But although I don't think Andy is a bad guy, his manager...Ken something (who would care to remember his lastname?) is totally unpleasant. In the semi-final match with Marat, I sat in front of him (unfortunately). And I lost count how many times he did the grandstanding, how many times he yelled "incredible tennis, buddy!" He talked to Duck on court. And he was incredibly loud and often talked Marat down. :( Really no manners. I felt just like I was in Houston and sat in front of Mattress Mac.

PennyThePenguin
11-29-2004, 07:14 AM
ewww..that sounds awful armada...and HIIII!!! welcome to marat-land!

merle
11-29-2004, 07:29 AM
Oh WOW Armada!!!!! Great experiences you have had!!!!! And welcome here!!!! :wavey:
:lol: @ the Ken - Mattress Mac comparison!

Shadow
11-29-2004, 12:51 PM
Hi armada! nice to see u here and its nice to read about your experiences :wavey:

Wednesday Addams
11-29-2004, 03:53 PM
Glad U decided to post, Armada! Hi and welcome!!! :wavey:
Thanx for the great report, BTW!

Armada~121
11-29-2004, 04:23 PM
Hi everyone :) thanks for the warm welcome

Well, actually there are more stories (yep I memorized every little details) But it's kinda pathetic of me to keep talking about something trivial :P Marat is such a kid though, besides the dog thing. I remembered him playing with cellphone almost all the time if he was not eating. (And those were mostly the only two things I saw him do :P ) And when he went out at night and came back late ... he told the girls at the hotel tournament desk who all looked on the verge of sleep to go take a rest. How sweet :) :) :)

Oh, btw, when we went down to watch Marat played against Duck in the box. The Ken (who knew us really well coz he made us buy starbucks for Duck everyday ...oh well, Starbucks and Duck...that kinda rhymes :P ) was all over us, thinking that we went down there to support Duck. He was like "oh, my girls are here!!!" You can imagine what our faces would be like -_-" I could stand Andy. But the Ken was just beyond bearable. One of my friends did tell him to get lost tho :P well, not a good thing to do as a staff, but I think she spoke what's on everybody's mind. :rolleyes:

Wednesday Addams
11-29-2004, 04:25 PM
Awwww, really? :kiss:
DO tell us more! :D ;)

Aurora
11-29-2004, 06:27 PM
thanks for the stories, Armada! It's fun to hear such details, it's the little stuff that makes us all human imo.

PennyThePenguin
11-30-2004, 01:17 AM
Hi everyone :) thanks for the warm welcome

Well, actually there are more stories (yep I memorized every little details) But it's kinda pathetic of me to keep talking about something trivial :P Marat is such a kid though, besides the dog thing. I remembered him playing with cellphone almost all the time if he was not eating. (And those were mostly the only two things I saw him do :P ) And when he went out at night and came back late ... he told the girls at the hotel tournament desk who all looked on the verge of sleep to go take a rest. How sweet :) :) :)

Oh, btw, when we went down to watch Marat played against Duck in the box. The Ken (who knew us really well coz he made us buy starbucks for Duck everyday ...oh well, Starbucks and Duck...that kinda rhymes :P ) was all over us, thinking that we went down there to support Duck. He was like "oh, my girls are here!!!" You can imagine what our faces would be like -_-" I could stand Andy. But the Ken was just beyond bearable. One of my friends did tell him to get lost tho :P well, not a good thing to do as a staff, but I think she spoke what's on everybody's mind. :rolleyes:

:haha: :haha: that's sooo cool. and marat either eating or playing with the phone.. gee... typical marat. haha. thanks armada!!!!!

merle
11-30-2004, 07:22 AM
And when he went out at night and came back late ... he told the girls at the hotel tournament desk who all looked on the verge of sleep to go take a rest. How sweet :) :) :)



Yeah Jiat, we know about him eating and playing with his cellphone all the time, don't we... But this is just soooooooo sweet of him indeed! :kiss: :kiss: That's why I looooove him so much! He's the sweetest! :kiss: :kiss:

Shadow
11-30-2004, 12:51 PM
thanks armada again!

thats just so sweet :) Marat, like we know him :kiss:

Shadow
12-02-2004, 12:28 PM
http://www.atptennis.com/en/newsandscores/news/2004/best_2004.asp

vote for the best match of the year :wavey: (including marat-agassi autralien open, and marat-federer masters cup)

Armada~121
12-02-2004, 03:15 PM
Thanks so much Andrea for the news :) It's so cool to see that Marat's matches are twos of the best there, showing that his game is such a class :)

ataptc
12-02-2004, 05:36 PM
hi armada :wavey: interesting stories you have there! tell us more! :)

thelma
12-02-2004, 06:11 PM
Great history, Armada~121 :wavey: :cool:

-SaFiinsBabY-
12-13-2004, 03:28 PM
Thursday (16th December) 10.05 pm --> TW1 (Austrian channel ... some Germans could get it) ... Marat Safin Story ... =)

Denise
12-13-2004, 04:04 PM
Amazing story Armada! thx for share with us :kiss: pls, tell us more about it!

Jessi
12-13-2004, 11:35 PM
Rumour has it Marat is in NYC with Dasha doing a lil xmas shopping... but how sad and pathetic is it that some ppl refuse to believe Marat and Dasha are still together :retard:

Aurora
12-13-2004, 11:46 PM
Thursday (16th December) 10.05 pm --> TW1 (Austrian channel ... some Germans could get it) ... Marat Safin Story ... =)
this channel has a streaming http://www.tw1.at/, the ATP Magazine seems to be broadcasted every thursday evening at 22u

Bibir
12-13-2004, 11:52 PM
I thought he was training in Valencia?...He prefers shopping with Dasha....mmm...I see ;)

Bibir
12-14-2004, 12:15 AM
ok...I know what you mean...I just came back from safinator forum...I like anonymous posters...rumors...rumors :p

http://www.loc.gov/exhibits/mead/images/mm0238b.jpg

maratski
12-14-2004, 12:01 PM
I read it yesterday and couldn't stop laughing. It's his business what he chooses to do in his free time. Too bad some people can't take that.

PennyThePenguin
12-14-2004, 01:03 PM
oooh fun... shopping..hope he gets something for US then ;)

Kiara
12-15-2004, 06:50 AM
Rumour has it Marat is in NYC with Dasha doing a lil xmas shopping... but how sad and pathetic is it that some ppl refuse to believe Marat and Dasha are still together :retard:

maybe dasha posted it :lol: ;)

Wednesday Addams
12-15-2004, 08:24 AM
maybe dasha posted it :lol: ;)
:lol:

Kiara
12-15-2004, 03:46 PM
new article on TGFR, nothing we havent heard before but it's still good :D

Denise
12-15-2004, 10:57 PM
Rumour has it Marat is in NYC with Dasha doing a lil xmas shopping... but how sad and pathetic is it that some ppl refuse to believe Marat and Dasha are still together :retard:

haha :lol: those pple are indeed :retard:

Denise
12-15-2004, 10:58 PM
maybe dasha posted it :lol: ;)

or her sister (if she has) or even her mamma :lol:

brazuca5copas
12-16-2004, 07:02 PM
Special Edition ATP Insider: Tennis Masters Cup
->> – NO TENNIS WHITES ALLOWED …GUILLERMO CORIA, CALROS MOYA and MARAT SAFIN headed out on the town on Tuesday to attend the Metallica concert at Toyota Center. The legendary metal band was is touring with Godsmack.
http://www.atptennis.com/en/newsandscores/news/2004/Insider_nov15.asp

*Ljubica*
12-16-2004, 07:05 PM
Hi guys :wavey: - haven't been here for a while, but thought you might like to know that Marat has committed to play in a grass court exhibition event here in England the week before Wimbledon, so hopefully this means he is going to be taking the grass court season seriously this year - he could WIN Wimbledon if he put his mind to it I'm sure. The exhibition is called the Stoke Park Exhibition - it's held at my local club which is how I know about it already :) Andy Roddick and David Nalbandian are also definately playing (they both played last year), so you can imagine how excited I am to have Marat and David both together about 10 minutes' walk away from my house :p Should I kidnap them? I know it's early, but if you wanted to look at their web-site, it's http://www.theboodles.com

merle
12-16-2004, 07:14 PM
Thanks heaps Rosie! :kiss: :smooch: :kiss: Awww, Marat baby taking Wimby prep seriously. He was just sooooooo disappointed this year after that awful loss so he said things he didn't mean.

Bibir
12-16-2004, 08:07 PM
grass court exhibition?...nice idea...no points to defend...no pressure :cool:

maratski
12-16-2004, 08:31 PM
Thanks for the news Rosie :kiss:

The exhibition is in the same week as Rosmalen, which was supposed to be on his "schedule". I'd love for him to come to Holland, but an exhibition on grass is better for him :)

foul_dwimmerlaik
12-16-2004, 08:35 PM
hopefully this means he is going to be taking the grass court season seriously this year - he could WIN Wimbledon if he put his mind to it I'm sure.
Hello!

I'm just hoping that he won't bomb out in the first round like this year. Gotta have some dignity.

Still - Marat! And Andy! And David - all in one fun bundle! Lucky you.

-SaFiinsBabY-
12-16-2004, 08:45 PM
Thank you Rosie ... =)

*Ljubica*
12-16-2004, 09:14 PM
Hello!

I'm just hoping that he won't bomb out in the first round like this year. Gotta have some dignity.

Still - Marat! And Andy! And David - all in one fun bundle! Lucky you.

Yes - I am really looking forward to it. It's a very small place and a very intimate atmosphere -the practice courts are totally accessible and the players just wander about and chat to people - there is no segregation at all :) They have a local jazz band that plays most of the evening (a friend of mine is the drummer in the band!), and the food is great.You can even get endless supplies of free wine and champagne if you're lucky!!!! David loves it so much this will be his 3rd consective year there,- and Andy must have liked it to be coming back again. Oh - I forgot to mention that Mardy Fish is also confirmed to play in 2005 and Goran Ivanisevic will be there playing some kind of special one-off match too. I'm sure Marat will love it - it really is a special atmosphere - very relaxed and friendly kind of place!

foul_dwimmerlaik
12-16-2004, 10:09 PM
My, this sounds fabulous! This year, I went to the Belarus-Russia DC matches in Minsk, and that was just frustrating (apart from Russia loss). Security, security, security and overpriced sandwiches.

tall_one
12-16-2004, 10:25 PM
Should I kidnap them?
lol, you can go ahead and kidnap Andy any day you want to :lol: but please leave Marat :angel:

PennyThePenguin
12-17-2004, 03:53 AM
psssttt nicki...i think she means kidnapping marat for us...;)

*Ljubica*
12-17-2004, 01:24 PM
psssttt nicki...i think she means kidnapping marat for us...;)

Yes - that's what I meant Penny :) I have absolutely no wish to kidnap Andy - so I'll keep David for myself ;) and you guys can share Marat (as long as I can "borrow" him back sometimes!!!!)

merle
12-17-2004, 10:16 PM
Yes - I am really looking forward to it. It's a very small place and a very intimate atmosphere -the practice courts are totally accessible and the players just wander about and chat to people - there is no segregation at all :) They have a local jazz band that plays most of the evening (a friend of mine is the drummer in the band!), and the food is great.You can even get endless supplies of free wine and champagne if you're lucky!!!! David loves it so much this will be his 3rd consective year there,- and Andy must have liked it to be coming back again. Oh - I forgot to mention that Mardy Fish is also confirmed to play in 2005 and Goran Ivanisevic will be there playing some kind of special one-off match too. I'm sure Marat will love it - it really is a special atmosphere - very relaxed and friendly kind of place!


Aaah Rosie, I wish I could come there some year! Sounds really great! Oh well, a girl can dream..... :sad:

tall_one
12-18-2004, 12:02 AM
psssttt nicki...i think she means kidnapping marat for us...;)
lol, i don't think i'd want him after 305,847,069,857,597 other safinettes had him :o

CassL
12-18-2004, 01:27 AM
Hey, guys, I have a question. After reading about the new fragrance with Andy that's coming out, I'm just wondering does Marat do any endorsements? Or is he not into that kind of stuff?

Liberty
12-18-2004, 03:25 AM
Can someone please tell me about Marat and the dog. It seems so funny to you guys but I don't know what is it all about.

foul_dwimmerlaik
12-18-2004, 09:22 AM
*blink*

What dog?

Liberty
12-18-2004, 10:04 AM
I don't know. That's why I'm asking. I read about a dog and it has something to do with Marat. It was posted by Armada and she said it was one of the most hilarious thing Marat did. Or was it the MOST HILARIOUS???

Shadow
12-18-2004, 11:42 AM
I don't know. That's why I'm asking. I read about a dog and it has something to do with Marat. It was posted by Armada and she said it was one of the most hilarious thing Marat did. Or was it the MOST HILARIOUS???

LOL, ah that thing. it seemed indeed very funny. :rolls:


Once he walked into our office out of the blue. I was on the phone but a bit shocked to see him. He smiled at me mischievously. Then...instead of walking towards the counter where I was, he turned right to where my friend was standing, looking at the information board (she didnt see him. nobody saw him but me then). He bent down, grabbed her calf and barked I thought he aimed for my friend to jump and scream. But my friend is an emotionless kind so she just turned around with a very cool face. I thought he must be a bit disappointed, coz she didnt get mad and start throwing things as he expected... but my friend told me she was bit shocked to see it was Marat, coz she thought it was some other naughty players. I was so excited coz I always thought Marat would be a cool type of guy, not as playful as this He still has a lot more cute things that impressed us all.

= barked LIKE A DOG

Liberty
12-18-2004, 02:06 PM
Oh! okay.....Silly me! Thanks for telling me, Shadow. Read that one before but didn't realize the barking part. I can't imagine Marat Safin of all people, barking like a DOG! What a mischief! That guy can really come up with heaps of jokes and pranks.

Liberty
12-18-2004, 02:07 PM
I really wish Armada has a lot more stories about Marat's mischiefs to tell us. We can't never get enough of him, can we?

Chachou
12-19-2004, 07:24 PM
Hi guys :wavey: - haven't been here for a while, but thought you might like to know that Marat has committed to play in a grass court exhibition event here in England the week before Wimbledon, so hopefully this means he is going to be taking the grass court season seriously this year - he could WIN Wimbledon if he put his mind to it I'm sure. The exhibition is called the Stoke Park Exhibition - it's held at my local club which is how I know about it already :) Andy Roddick and David Nalbandian are also definately playing (they both played last year), so you can imagine how excited I am to have Marat and David both together about 10 minutes' walk away from my house :p Should I kidnap them? I know it's early, but if you wanted to look at their web-site, it's http://www.theboodles.com
Thanks for this news Rosie :)

*Ljubica*
12-20-2004, 09:13 PM
Aaah Rosie, I wish I could come there some year! Sounds really great! Oh well, a girl can dream..... :sad:

You would always be welcome here Merle :) In the meantime I promise to have a glass of champagne and drink a toast to you :)

merle
12-21-2004, 08:12 AM
You would always be welcome here Merle :) In the meantime I promise to have a glass of champagne and drink a toast to you :)


Oh thanks Rosie! :kiss: And cheers! :) I'm in a festive mood too! And well, who knows, maybe some year... well, at least never say never, right?
Have fun and enjoy the holidays everyone! :wavey:

chocc0
12-21-2004, 08:25 AM
You too Merle!!!! Ahh i can't wait till xmas i'll be eating seafood at watsons bay! Yummo!

chocc0
12-21-2004, 08:26 AM
Rosie in ur avatar is that ur cat coz if it is it's really cute.

merle
12-21-2004, 10:40 AM
Well Sarah, I can't say for sure but I guess that might be one of Rosie's cute ginger cats. A great pic, Rosie! :yeah:

Bibir
12-21-2004, 11:10 AM
yeah! it's Sasha "Rosie's cat'...so cute pic :hug:

Wednesday Addams
12-21-2004, 11:13 AM
Cute! I adore cats! :cat: :hearts: :kiss:

merle
12-21-2004, 11:21 AM
Look where we got at Marat news and article thread! :lol: Wonder how we got to cats! :lol: I hope Marat likes cats too.

Bibir
12-21-2004, 11:48 AM
Do you remember Tolstoï (a white and black cat)?:cat: Marat's gift for Dinara.

merle
12-21-2004, 01:53 PM
Erm...no. I guess I'm not that die-hard fan as you! :o

chocc0
12-22-2004, 02:08 AM
ahahaha lol sorry for turing this into the cat thread but i just love cats
i'll have to post a pic of my cat

Wednesday Addams
12-22-2004, 04:01 PM
Do you remember Tolstoï (a white and black cat)?:cat: Marat's gift for Dinara.
I remember Tolstoi! :cat: :kiss:
Apparently he's living with Marat's dad in Moscow...... :D ;)

PennyThePenguin
12-23-2004, 01:02 AM
yeah he is....misha and the cat hehe....

Bibir
12-23-2004, 03:20 PM
Safin regains dominant form
By Scott Riley, Tennis Editor

Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - Roger Federer might be in a league of his own right now, but Russian star Marat Safin appears to have regained the form that delivered him a U.S. Open championship four years ago.

The mighty Safin is freshly poured steel hot, having just won his second Tennis Masters shield in a three-week span this past weekend in Paris. Just two weeks earlier he captured the Madrid Masters by beating legendary American Andre Agassi in the semis and fierce Argentine David Nalbandian in the final at Rockodromo.

Safin's lucrative win in Paris came when he overwhelmed Czech qualifier Radek Stepanek in the title match, but his week also featured a key victory over his fellow former world No. 1 Lleyton Hewitt in the quarters. He also cooled off hot Argentine Guillermo Canas in his round-of-four matchup before exacting a bit of revenge on Stepanek, who stunned the powerful Russian in his native Moscow just three weeks earlier.

Safin's popular Parisian run gave him career title number 14, pushed his '04 on-court earnings to just under $2 million and sent his career prize money over the $10.5 million mark. He also joined the legendary Boris Becker as the only other three-time winner of the Paris Masters.

The 6-foot-4 Safin also titled in Beijing in September, which means he's won three of his last six events and improved to 3-2 in his quintet of '04 finals.

The up-and-down Safin overcame a dismal stretch during the summer portion of the season, when he dropped four straight matches at one point, including three straight opening-round setbacks, one of which came at the hands of fellow Russian Dmitry Tursunov at Wimbledon. He would go on to suffer a second-round loss at the Athens Games and a first-round stunner against seemingly-washed up Swede Thomas Enqvist at the U.S. Open.

But following the loss to Enqvist in New York, Safin roared back to rattle off nine straight wins, including his title in Beijing, before succumbing to Andy Roddick in Bangkok. And since that "Big Apple" loss against Enqvist, the formidable Russian is 22-3, including all three of his '04 crowns.

The 24-year-old Safin will be seeded fourth at next week's season-ending Tennis Masters Cup event in Houston, where he'll carry in a five-match winning streak and a 12-1 record over his last 13 outings.

Safin stamped his place on the tennis map four years ago when he pasted American great Pete Sampras in the final at the 2000 U.S. Open. It appeared as though the sky was the limit for the big Russian, but he's struggled with injuries and immaturity over the past few years and failed to live up to the lofty expectations brought on by his wealth of tennis talent. He, of course, is no stranger to an occasional smashing of the racquet and an argument with a chair umpire.

But 2004 has marked a resurgence for the charismatic star, who's piled up a 50-21 record and a trio of titles this season, his best one in two years -- but one that's still a far cry from his brilliant breakout campaign in 2000, when he went 73-27 and led the ATP with seven titles on his way to finishing No. 2 in the world.

After dropping all the way to No. 77 by the end of last season (12-11 with nary a title), Safin has since climbed to No. 4 in the entry rankings, trailing only Federer, Roddick and Hewitt.

Since his run at the 2000 U.S. Open, Safin has failed to nail down a Grand Slam title, corralling a pair of runner-up finishes at the Australian Open in 2002 and earlier this year. But he seems to have regained that form that can produce a major title result, if he can get past Federer, who whipped the Russian in January's Aussie Open finale. Federer is a dominant 5-1 lifetime against Safin, including a perfect 2-0 versus the Russian this year.

Is Safin closing the gap between himself and Federer? Maybe we'll find out next week in Houston, where the exclusive eight-player Masters Cup field will also feature the Wimbledon runner-up Roddick, the U.S. Open runner-up Hewitt, Carlos Moya, French Open runner-up Guillermo Coria, Tim Henman and Roland Garros titlist Gaston Gaudio. The remarkable Federer is the reigning Masters Cup champ and gathered three quarters of this year's Grand Slam hardware (Aussie Open, Wimbledon and U.S. Open).

In all fairness to Yevgeny Kafelnikov, Safin is probably the best Russian player we've ever seen, he just needs to add to his Grand Slam trophy case, where he still only holds one piece of hardware (2000 U.S. Open) to Kafelnikov's two (1996 French Open and 1999 Aussie Open). Kafelnikov, for what it's worth, also secured an Olympic gold medal in 2000.

Safin went a respectable 9-4 at the Slams this year, but ended on a sour note by incurring losses in his last two outings, at Wimbledon and the U.S. Open.

It's hard to get inside Safin's mind, but my guess is he's looking forward to a strong 2005 season, with the first major of the year coming in Melbourne in just two months. :angel:

foul_dwimmerlaik
12-24-2004, 01:40 AM
I had a bout of insomnia tonight and went on a prowl through tennis sites. And lookie wht I found!

source: atptennis.com
Fans Pick Safin, Roddick and Agassi To Challenge For No. 1

© Getty Images


We wanted to know which players you thought would be able to challenge World No. 1 Roger Federer's dominance throughout the coming 2005 season.

Here is a selection of new responses we received from around the world:

It is hard to challenge Federer because unlike Connors or Wilander, he
has no obvious weakness. He does everything well, which means he has a huge range of tactical options, which means he's bound to find a way to beat you - and once he's done that, he'll keep beating you until you change your game. To challenge Federer, Roddick will have to volley better, Hewitt will have to hit more winners, Agassi, Nalbandian, & Henman (who used to have Federer beaten) would have to become different players - all easier said than done. I suspect only Safin has the talent to improve his game enough to present a fresh challenge, but he lacks the temperament to do this consistently. Nadal may be a threat on clay, Ancic on grass, but they too will be beaten in time unless they keep mixing it up.
-Hadrian Wise, United Kingdom .

The only person who can really beat Roger Federer in 2005 is Roger Federer, even though I don't see it happening. Even saying he's too far ahead of the pack is an understatement, even though it's a bold statement - but for proof, just look at the INDESIT ATP 2004 Race. When last has a number one finished 500 points or so clear of the number two? When last has the number one spot been sealed with two Masters series events to go? If I had to pick someone to beat him, I'd have to go with Safin. The marathon tie-break between these two was the closest anyone came to beating him. So can he dethrone Federer in number one - I don't think so, unless he blows more hot than cold.
-Byron, South Africa

I believe that Agassi can still challenge for the #1 ranking. Yes, he did lose to the likes of Safin and Federer at the Open but they had to play their absolute best to beat him while he played at a medium level. Agassi also beat Moya, Roddick and Hewitt this year making them look scared at his talent and fitness level. He also has the experience in those types of situations and don't think that he is not studying them while losing to any of the youngens so that he can get them next time. He has been and remains my idol and favorite player no matter how many phenoms come up. What separates him from them is that they might have a good season or season and a half but he has been the most consistent player for the last 5-6 years and at age 34 his play resembles that of a twenty- something...thanks.
-Derrick Scott Webb , Springfield, IL

I am interested in the performance of Rafael Nadal, as I believe him to be the strongest potential threat to Federer's dominance. He has consistently displayed the capability to defeat the world's top players (having conquered Federer and Roddick in 2004), and possesses an all round game which is arguably more suitable to victory against Federer than that of Roddick or Henman. Undoubtedly, Nadal is yet to prove his maturity and commitment, yet his natural talent influences me to believe that he may well be the greatest challenge to Roger Federer .
-D.H., Scotland

Guillermo Coria has what it takes to challenge Federer next year. He has a pair of the fastest feet on the circuit, and stunner shots which were enough to frustrate Feds in the Hamburg final. It is not often you see Feds throw his racket. Guillermo has recovered from his injury(s), and has been working for the last few months on building his body up, with the help of Gil Reyes, Agassi's trainer. He is mentally stronger, with the help of a psychiatrist, so that what happened in the finals of Roland Garros and Hamburg won't be happening again. He has learned to enjoy himself on court a lot more, and through the troubles he's faced he is prepared to fight to the last. 2005 and onward are the years of el Mago! VAMOS MAGO!!!
-Nico, Australia

Out of the top 10 pros, only Andy Roddick and Marat Safin have the firepower and skills to match Federer's game. But please note, only 'to match' the world number one's game.

Roddick has a more powerful serve and an awesome forehand, but his backhand is not as intimidating. Roddick can beat Federer given that the Swiss is a little 'off'. But under normal circumstances, the Swiss will beat Roddick, even though it means going down the wire. Federer has a better all-round game than the American. The Swiss clearly has a better net game than the American. So Roddick can come close to matching the Swiss, but he still needs a lot of luck to beat him.

As for Safin, it is even a closer contest against the world number one than for Roddick. Safin is also an extremely talented a tennis player. Safin has all the weapons to beat the Swiss, but his problems are his consistency and temper. IF the Russian is unhappy about a line call, he can be upset and his game can go 'off'. The Russian's game suffers from a lack of consistency, which always hurts his chances against not just Federer, but any other player on the tour. Safin is the best challenger there is for Federer. He can beat the Swiss on a good day. But he needs to be way more consistent to beat the world number one.
-Christopher S. O. Chao , Hong Kong

My gut feeling is that Safin will prove to be the dominant player next year, and that Nicolas Kiefer and Tommy Haas may make a break into the stratosphere of Grand Slam champions.
-Crispin Caldicott, New Zealand

Joachim Johansson is a major force to reckon with in 2005 and Federer needs to watch out for this young man's brutal forehand (that took Roddick out of the US Open). He is improving by the match and also has a good all round game, yet I think Federer will prevail through the course of the year. The only way Hewitt, Safin or Roddick can beat Federer is when they play their A plus game and Federer plays his C minus game. Anything beyond that will be a massacre on Federer's part.
-Ram Praveen

Stopping Roger Federer, the most dominant and complete player on the men's tour, is a daunting task. He had a perfect record against top ten players last year, and 2005 will probably bring more of the same. It seems that Federer is most vulnerable against lower ranked players with lots of game that can surprise him. The player with the most talent ranked below the top ten is Tomas Berdych. He already proved he can beat Federer, who says he can't do it again? Within the group of elite players, look for a mentally tough Safin, a net-rushing Roddick, and an in-form Moya (probably on clay) to even make a dent in Federer's game.
-Caitlin Cairncross

If Roddick could just get a handle on his mental game, he would be unstoppable. When his psychology is in order and he is confident, as he was for most of 2003, he could take Federer out give fuel to the fire for the much awaited rivalry.
-Dave, Los Angeles

To my opinion, Marat Safin is the only player who can really compete with Roger Federer. The other players are really good players but they don't have both skills and strength. For me, Marat has the skills and the power to outplay Roger, but mentally, Roger is too strong for any players, the way he looks calm and concentrated, it's really impressive.
-Fatah Bensadi

I don't have to mention I have been overwhelmed by Federer's performance this year. Frankly speaking and his health permitting, I might see the kind of rivalry McEnroe and Connors used to have for some time. Both of them were playing best tennis, however every time they met McEnroe was simply too good. My guess is Hewitt and Roddick meeting Roger many times, mostly in the finals, with Roger inevitably coming on top. The reason for that is that you cannot wear him down by simply pounding aces or running him around the place. You require power plus a touch of genius for that and I believe Safin is the one to have a chance, or a super groundstroke and that is Moya's forehand. But beside all that, I would love Roger to make the greatest dominancy in the history of tennis, making perhaps a clean sweep in 2005.
-Pawel, Wroclaw, Poland

That's all. Off to bed now!

junekidd
12-24-2004, 08:36 AM
here are so many cute cats! :inlove:
and thx for the articles! :worship:

Carolinita
12-24-2004, 01:31 PM
ahahaha lol sorry for turing this into the cat thread but i just love cats
i'll have to post a pic of my cat
I love cats too...in fact my cat is in my avatar...her name is Bolocco :D

ataptc
12-24-2004, 03:17 PM
wow almost everyone is a cat-lover here! :)

Jessi
12-25-2004, 12:18 AM
Hi guys :wavey: - haven't been here for a while, but thought you might like to know that Marat has committed to play in a grass court exhibition event here in England the week before Wimbledon, so hopefully this means he is going to be taking the grass court season seriously this year - he could WIN Wimbledon if he put his mind to it I'm sure. The exhibition is called the Stoke Park Exhibition - it's held at my local club which is how I know about it already :) Andy Roddick and David Nalbandian are also definately playing (they both played last year), so you can imagine how excited I am to have Marat and David both together about 10 minutes' walk away from my house :p Should I kidnap them? I know it's early, but if you wanted to look at their web-site, it's http://www.theboodles.com


thanks so much for the news, Rosie :kiss: Sounds like a fun tournament.. i'm sure Marat will love it!!

junekidd
12-26-2004, 09:14 AM
I think of my experience in CO just now. but I do not know if it is proper to say it here. excuse me if it is not. :worship:

it happened after Marat's match with Lu Hao. we were waiting for Marat out of the central court. it had been nearly 19:00. and we waited quite a long time. finally, I even did not know why I was waiting! I was chatting with my friends and paid no attention to anything else. and then, after 40min waiting, suddenly a person with a white T-shirt and shorts appeared at the exit. it is too sudden that I did not get back from the chat. when I noticed it is Marat came out, only did I do is screaming...u know, it was not very ablare then... but my scream scared some people yet. the most important thing is it scared Marat... :awww: he saw me for abt 2 seconds... also with a sweet smile...(but I supposed he was saying this in the heart: that stupid girl!) I have to say he has such a perfect audition! :o I was more embarrassed than excited. I think it was not polite. and I did it unconsciously. :armed: luckily, there were many bodyguards that clustering round him to go to the player lounge.
but now, when I remember that scene, I am excited. marat's eyes are so gorgeous! :hearts:

Kiara
12-26-2004, 12:05 PM
ick Stoke Poges...I hope he enjoys the garden party :rolleyes:

PennyThePenguin
12-26-2004, 12:38 PM
I think of my experience in CO just now. but I do not know if it is proper to say it here. excuse me if it is not. :worship:

it happened after Marat's match with Lu Hao. we were waiting for Marat out of the central court. it had been nearly 19:00. and we waited quite a long time. finally, I even did not know why I was waiting! I was chatting with my friends and paid no attention to anything else. and then, after 40min waiting, suddenly a person with a white T-shirt and shorts appeared at the exit. it is too sudden that I did not get back from the chat. when I noticed it is Marat came out, only did I do is screaming...u know, it was not very ablare then... but my scream scared some people yet. the most important thing is it scared Marat... :awww: he saw me for abt 2 seconds... also with a sweet smile...(but I supposed he was saying this in the heart: that stupid girl!) I have to say he has such a perfect audition! :o I was more embarrassed than excited. I think it was not polite. and I did it unconsciously. :armed: luckily, there were many bodyguards that clustering round him to go to the player lounge.
but now, when I remember that scene, I am excited. marat's eyes are so gorgeous! :hearts:


mwahahahahahaha.... 笑死我了。。。。你真得那么做吗???下次要保持镇定不要像个疯婆似的要好好保握机会。。。。 ;)

junekidd
12-26-2004, 12:55 PM
u know, jiat... we waited too long. and I had distracted. as a result, he came out suddenly……I had no preparation for his appearance and then shouted out subconsciously……确实丢人…… :retard:

PennyThePenguin
12-26-2004, 01:15 PM
丢脸死了。。。。
哈哈哈哈哈哈哈哈哈哈。。。

foul_dwimmerlaik
12-26-2004, 01:19 PM
I think of my experience in CO just now. but I do not know if it is proper to say it here. excuse me if it is not. :worship:

it happened after Marat's match with Lu Hao. we were waiting for Marat out of the central court. it had been nearly 19:00. and we waited quite a long time. finally, I even did not know why I was waiting! I was chatting with my friends and paid no attention to anything else. and then, after 40min waiting, suddenly a person with a white T-shirt and shorts appeared at the exit. it is too sudden that I did not get back from the chat. when I noticed it is Marat came out, only did I do is screaming...u know, it was not very ablare then... but my scream scared some people yet. the most important thing is it scared Marat... :awww: he saw me for abt 2 seconds... also with a sweet smile...(but I supposed he was saying this in the heart: that stupid girl!) I have to say he has such a perfect audition! :o I was more embarrassed than excited. I think it was not polite. and I did it unconsciously. :armed: luckily, there were many bodyguards that clustering round him to go to the player lounge.
but now, when I remember that scene, I am excited. marat's eyes are so gorgeous! :hearts:That was cool.

junekidd
12-26-2004, 01:25 PM
I think another reason why I shouted is I shouted too much when I saw the match... anyway, it is a good lesson for me. I will find another method to attract his attention next time. in a more gracious way... ;)

junekidd
12-26-2004, 01:34 PM
That was cool.

thanks. :)
it is cool now but not then. ;)

Shadow
01-02-2005, 09:31 PM
i found this report on a tenniswebsite, could someone who is french translate it pls? (my french sucks :o):

J'aperçois Marat Safin qui discute avec un gars. Tiens, ça c'est un joueur que je n'ai jamais eu l'occasion d'approcher. Je cherche une photo de lui à Monte Carlo et mon marqueur. Ca y est, il a fini de discuter, c'est le moment. Il m'accueille extrêmement gentiment. (vraiment!). Mais, oops, problème, j'arrive pas à ouvrir mon marqueur. La honte... il tente le coup aussi. Il n'y arrive pas plus que moi. Rires... ah, finalement il y arrive... mais la mine est restée dans le bouchon. Bon, bein tant pis, ravie d'avoir fait ta connaissance Marat... (tu veux pas me le graver avec les dents ton autographe??). Ce garçon étant plein de ressource, j'ai la surprise de le voir se baisser et farfouiller dans son sac pour chercher de quoi écrire. C'est sympa! Beaucoup m'aurait laissé en plein désespoir, seule avec ma photo et mon marqueur japonais (muji - 9f)... bon, il cherche, il cherche, mais apparemment, il ne trouve rien. Moi, je veux pas l'ennuyer, et je veux lui dire que "c'est pas grave." Mais problème... comment on dit ça en anglais?? Super scène: Marat à genoux, le nez dans son sac, moi qui cherche à abréger sa souffrance sans trouver les mots... Mais il n'a pas l'air d'être pressé, j'ai moins de remords... Finalement, on va être sauvés par une dame qui a aussi reconnu Marat et qui voudrait un autographe... et qui a un stylo!! Ah, tout est bien qui finit bien!
Il est sympa ce russe. A part qu'il a l'air carbonisé du visage. Il devrait se faire un emplâtre à la Pat Rafter...

Bibir
01-02-2005, 10:03 PM
Who is french here? ;)
I'll try...even if my english sucks. :o :o

Jennay
01-02-2005, 10:18 PM
:eek: Bea! What are you talking about? Your English is very good! :D :hug:

Bibir
01-03-2005, 12:22 AM
:hug:Jen.

OK Andrea...here we go...approximatively

I see Marat discussing with a guy. I never had the opportunity to come close to this player. I search for a pic of him from Monte carlo and a pen...OK, that's the moment..he welcomes me...he's extremly kind (really!).
But shame..the pen doesn't work and even Marat fails (He was trying to fix the pen)...laugh...Too bad...But this guy is very resourceful and much to my surprise he bends down and searches for something in his bag (another pen)..That's very kind...He didn't let me in despair.. alone with my pic and my japanese pen.
He searches in his bag(in vain) and doesn't find anything...Me, I don't want to bother him...I want to tell him it's not important but how to explain it in english?
Super scene: Marat on knees, the nose in his bag and me trying to find the words to stop him...But he's not in a hurry so I don't show remorse. Finally a woman who knows Marat and wants an autograph (and has a pen) will save us.
This russian is nice. All's well that ends well! ...But his face is burnt to death, he should put it in a plaster a la Pat Rafter.

junekidd
01-03-2005, 02:34 AM
many thanks, andrea and bea. :worship:
it seems all the fans' experiences are gorgeous! :cool: we must thank Marat. ;)

PennyThePenguin
01-03-2005, 01:00 PM
OUUUUUFFF!!! that's hilarious bea!!! thanks andrea and thanks bea!!! ahahaha...... marat has EVERYTHING in his bag...like mary poppins...'cept that mary poppins is more efficient in FINDING her things lol

Kiara
01-03-2005, 06:12 PM
:hug:Jen.

OK Andrea...here we go...approximatively

I see Marat discussing with a guy. I never had the opportunity to come close to this player. I search for a pic of him from Monte carlo and a pen...OK, that's the moment..he welcomes me...he's extremly kind (really!).
But shame..the pen doesn't work and even Marat fails (He was trying to fix the pen)...laugh...Too bad...But this guy is very resourceful and much to my surprise he bends down and searches for something in his bag (another pen)..That's very kind...He didn't let me in despair.. alone with my pic and my japanese pen.
He searches in his bag(in vain) and doesn't find anything...Me, I don't want to bother him...I want to tell him it's not important but how to explain it in english?
Super scene: Marat on knees, the nose in his bag and me trying to find the words to stop him...But he's not in a hurry so I don't show remorse. Finally a woman who knows Marat and wants an autograph (and has a pen) will save us.
This russian is nice. All's well that ends well! ...But his face is burnt to death, he should put it in a plaster a la Pat Rafter.

:lol: thats so cute lol! lol at the rafter comment

chrissiej
01-03-2005, 07:08 PM
OUUUUUFFF!!! that's hilarious bea!!! thanks andrea and thanks bea!!! ahahaha...... marat has EVERYTHING in his bag...like mary poppins...'cept that mary poppins is more efficient in FINDING her things lol

mwhahahahhaha jiat ;) :D :cool:

Vass
01-03-2005, 07:38 PM
Marat seems to be always prepared to fix stuff or use his own pens for autographs. In Dubai after a practice settion a woman with a kid came around with some small piece of papre and asked for an autograph for her son. Marat asked if she had a pen, and the woman shrugged and said "no". Marat reached out for the pocket of his bag, but I gave him a marker before he had time to do look for his own pen. (that was right before my most embarassing conversation witha tennis player)
And about fixing stuff: I heared somewhere before that he trioed to fix someone's camera when it refused to work. Don't remember where and when it happend though.

-SaFiinsBabY-
01-03-2005, 10:07 PM
Thanks too ... :hug:

Shadow
01-03-2005, 10:48 PM
Marat seems to be always prepared to fix stuff or use his own pens for autographs. In Dubai after a practice settion a woman with a kid came around with some small piece of papre and asked for an autograph for her son. Marat asked if she had a pen, and the woman shrugged and said "no". Marat reached out for the pocket of his bag, but I gave him a marker before he had time to do look for his own pen. (that was right before my most embarassing conversation witha tennis player)
And about fixing stuff: I heared somewhere before that he trioed to fix someone's camera when it refused to work. Don't remember where and when it happend though.

thats very nice of him!! :)

Bibir
01-03-2005, 10:56 PM
Former world number two Haas, who is slowly returning to his best form after major shoulder surgery in December 2002 which sidelined him for 15 months, had set up the German victory with a win over Safin.

"He was too good today -- I made him a lot of presents for Christmas," Safin, who made 42 unforced errors, joked.

"He is playing really good tennis and I hope he can keep it up this year -- all the best because he was injured for a long time."

But Safin, who only arrived in Perth 24 hours earlier after receiving an award in Moscow on New Year's eve, was clearly jaded in the third set.

"It's a good excuse actually," he laughed.

"I tried my best but he was much stronger than me. I almost fell down a couple of times, I had no power but I was fighting."

Haas, now ranked 17 in the world, said he had lost concentration in the second set and began to struggle as Safin's big serve kicked in.

"I played a few loose points and he came up with some big points ... he served pretty damned good," he said.

Bibir
01-03-2005, 10:59 PM
Safin slips up in Hopman Cup
Sportal



Marat Safin has made a poor start to his 2005 with a singles defeat by Tommy Haas costing Russia victory over Germany in the Hopman Cup in Perth.

Safin made several crucial errors during the match, allowing Hass to grab the opening set before the former world number one levelled at a set apiece. But Safin's bad habit returned in the third set, which the German won 6-1 to level the tie and force a live doubles rubber.

Safin admitted he was struggling with jetlag but his opponent was too good.

"It's a good excuse actually," he said. "I tried my best but he was much stronger than me. I almost fell down a couple of times, I had no power but I was fighting."

PennyThePenguin
01-04-2005, 08:30 AM
Marat seems to be always prepared to fix stuff or use his own pens for autographs. In Dubai after a practice settion a woman with a kid came around with some small piece of papre and asked for an autograph for her son. Marat asked if she had a pen, and the woman shrugged and said "no". Marat reached out for the pocket of his bag, but I gave him a marker before he had time to do look for his own pen. (that was right before my most embarassing conversation witha tennis player)
And about fixing stuff: I heared somewhere before that he trioed to fix someone's camera when it refused to work. Don't remember where and when it happend though.

that's sweet. and nice of you to be on hand with markers vass ;)

Wednesday Addams
01-04-2005, 08:38 AM
:lol: Marat the Handyman.

Bibir
01-04-2005, 10:09 AM
No, no...Denis was the Handyman.

Wednesday Addams
01-04-2005, 10:46 AM
He's out of order. ;)

Bibir
01-04-2005, 10:48 AM
He's out of order. ;)
:bowdown:

BelgianWaffle
01-04-2005, 11:16 AM
He's out of order. ;)

:lol:

PennyThePenguin
01-04-2005, 03:05 PM
so who's going to fix the out of order handyman?

Wednesday Addams
01-04-2005, 04:13 PM
DON'T go there! I have a pervy mind.....:o

maratski
01-04-2005, 07:28 PM
Nothing wrong with a pervy mind Dora :o

you, Kiara and I can play the three pervy musketeers :angel:

PennyThePenguin
01-05-2005, 01:11 AM
:haha: :haha:

Seles3
01-05-2005, 05:12 AM
i wonder what he has to say after his pathetic loss to Coria.

Wednesday Addams
01-05-2005, 10:44 AM
you, Kiara and I can play the three pervy musketeers :angel:
En garde! :angel:

maratski
01-05-2005, 11:41 AM
je suis prête :angel:

BelgianWaffle
01-05-2005, 12:15 PM
lol ilhame!

three women for 1 guy.. that might be too much, even for marat :angel:

Wednesday Addams
01-05-2005, 12:24 PM
No, no, no....... we're not fighting between ourselves........ we protect and defend....... we're musketeers....... pervy musketeers....... :devil: All for one and one for all! :devil: ;)

Liberty
01-05-2005, 01:10 PM
Do you think Marat has a peverted mind too??? I mean, he's a guy after all, right? Three is not too many. In fact, I don't think it's enough for him! LOL

tall_one
01-05-2005, 01:16 PM
all men have preverted minds :lol:

Aurora
01-05-2005, 01:30 PM
oh yeah, and we women are just :angel:, right? :lol: if I examine my mind, those of my girlfriends and the glimpses I see of all yours, my conclusion would be perverted minds are a natural quality of all humans....

tall_one
01-05-2005, 01:38 PM
well i know that i am perverted, but i'm not about to say all of your are :lol:

PennyThePenguin
01-05-2005, 01:39 PM
i'm sure we're all pervy in our own special way...*grin*

Bibir
01-05-2005, 04:16 PM
Russia crash out of contention
Scott Coghlan
January 06, 2005

GUILLERMO CORIA showed signs he is regaining the form that took him to the final of the French Open last year when he thrashed Marat Safin at the Hopman Cup in Perth yesterday.

The world No.7 upset last year's Australian Open runner-up in their men's singles, then combined with teenager Gisela Dulko to claim the deciding mixed doubles and seal a 2-1 win for Argentina.

Since arriving in Perth, the signs have been promising. Coria opened his Hopman Cup campaign with a comfortable win over Italian Davide Sanguinetti on Sunday. And he went up another level in his 7-6 (7-4) 6-1 win against the fourth-ranked Safin, who looked to be paying the price for a late arrival in Perth.

Coria was too steady for Safin, who just wasn't on his game.

"Marat didn't play his best tennis," Coria said.

"I didn't play so well in the first set, but then I played better in the second set and it was good win."

Safin only flew into Western Australia on Sunday and looked to tire noticeably when the Russians were beaten by Germany on Monday and looked jaded again yesterday against Coria.

The first set was closely fought, with Coria breaking in the seventh game and the big Russian breaking back in the following game.

The pair went to a tiebreak, but Coria seized the initiative when Safin made three errors in quick succession and a missed volley gave the Argentine the first set.

Safin's game started to falter and he soon coughed up a break in the second set as the clinical Coria opened up a 3-0 lead.

Coria kept pushing the ball around and Safin continued to spray his groundstrokes, the match ending when the Russian dumped a forehand volley into the net.

Safin's body language betrayed his frustration as he repeatedly gestured to himself and looked to the heavens.

But he said the slow start to the year was no cause for panic and could be traced to a lack of match fitness.

"It is normal," Safin said. "It is difficult to continue to play at the same level because I had some time off, the legs are not really ready for the game and it is going to take me a while to get back, maybe a week. :o

"I'm hitting the ball well and I don't believe I am in trouble. I'll be all right for the Australian Open." :worship:

Meanwhile, Lleyton Hewitt's constant demands for a faster Australian Open surface were given little credence by Safin and Coria.

Safin said the Rebound Ace in Melbourne was a fair surface and every player simply had to cope with whatever court was provided.

Bibir
01-05-2005, 04:22 PM
Tired Safin on Open full alert
By Karen Lyon
Perth
January 6, 2005

Marat reached his second Australian Open final in two years in 2004 and was stopped only by the juggernaut that is Roger Federer.

He again found a way to win. And to Safin it is all about winning. Only winning, he says, can change your fortunes.

"Just winning matches is the only thing that makes you play good and feel court on the court, just winning matches, that was what I was looking for," Safin said yesterday.

Unfortunately for the Russian, he was not able to savour victory in the Hopman Cup, losing to Guillermo Coria and then in the mixed doubles with Anastasia Myskina as the tournament favourites and top seeds lost to Argentina 2-1.

Safin was forced to delay his trip to Perth until after the start of the tournament because on New Year's Eve his career was honoured in Moscow.

Three days after his arrival, the 25-year-old star still looked jet-lagged and fatigued from the trip and followed defeat against Germany's Tommy Haas in his opening singles encounter with another against Coria. But he is confident his form will return in time for the Australian Open.

"I have just finished my year and it's difficult to continue to play at the same level because I have had some time off and I was working a little bit on my fitness," he said. "It is going to take me a while to get back, about a week, and hopefully I will be OK for the Australian Open.

"I am playing well; I am not complaining, I am playing well, I am hitting the ball well, I am purely satisfied with the way that I am playing."

Last year he won the Masters tournaments in both Madrid and Paris and by the end of a satisfying 12 months, he was back to No. 4 in the world.

"I did go a little bit downhill in the middle of the season but then I caught up by winning a tournament in Beijing and then from there I just started to play well, and winning matches and by the end of the year I was playing great, probably one of my best - I was in my best shape," he said.

Safin believes the return to form came in Australia because he is comfortable at the Open. Unlike Australia's No. 1 player Lleyton Hewitt, he could not be happier with the chosen surface for the first grand slam event of the year at Melbourne Park.

"I like the surface because it is not really fast, and it bounces very high and for some reason, I am feeling very comfortable playing here," he said.

It does not surprise him that Hewitt would disagree with his sentiments. "We have two completely different games. The way he plays, it's just completely opposite to what I am doing."

Argentinian world No. 7 Coria echoed Safin's support for the Rebound Ace surface. Both believe the surface is fair for all players and support the concept of different surfaces for different grand slams, even if the Russian's dislike for Wimbledon is now famous.

Bibir
01-05-2005, 05:41 PM
Safin says Open needs own identity
The Age

Former world No.1 Marat Safin disagrees with Lleyton Hewitt's calls for a faster court surface at the Australian Open, believing it's important the year's first grand slam retains its own identity.

Hewitt has teed off at Australian Open organisers and particularly tournament director Paul McNamee over the Melbourne Park surface, saying it should be faster to suit Australian players.

Hewitt's coach Roger Rasheed also joined the debate, stating the Australian Open courts weren't fit to host a grand slam tournament.

But Safin feels the surface at all four majors needs to be different and speeding up the Rebound Ace courts in Melbourne would make the event too similar to the hard courts at Flushing Meadow, where the US Open is played.

Safin cited the French Open as an example, when clay-court specialists such as 2004 winner Gaston Gaudio performed well but struggled at the remaining majors.

The big Russian, who has made two Australian Open finals, had no doubt the court surface was fair.

"Yeah I think so. I mean what they have here is a little bit slower, the bounce is very high," he said.

"Then you have the French which is clay, Wimbledon is fast and low and then the US Open is a fast hardcourt.

"So basically you have all different types of courts.

"If you don't like the Australian Open you must like the US Open because it's a little bit faster and the ball bounces a little bit lower.

"But if you really want it to be fast you can go to Wimbledon or if you want it really slow you can go to the French Open - so (there's something) for everybody."

Hewitt won the 2001 US Open and lost last year's final to Roger Federer, but has never progressed beyond the fourth round in his home grand slam.

Safin feels the Rebound Ace surface suits his game, while Hewitt's style holds up better on the hard courts of the US Open.

The Russian added the ATP tournament in his native Moscow is played on carpet - which he doesn't like.

"(Lleyton and I) have a completely different game," Safin said.

"For me I like it when it bounces high, when it's not so fast. It suits me.

"He likes probably for it to be a bit faster.

"It's 50-50. Fifty players they would love and 50 players would not like this surface.

"But at the end of the day they produce a surface that you have to play and the same thing would happen in Russia.

"They produce a surface that I don't find comfortable to play on, but I have to."

Aurora
01-05-2005, 06:32 PM
thanks Bea! :kiss:

Damita
01-05-2005, 06:41 PM
"It is normal," Safin said. "It is difficult to continue to play at the same level because I had some time off, the legs are not really ready for the game and it is going to take me a while to get back, maybe a week. :o
hopefully no more than a week...cuz that's all you have dear, one week :rolleyes:

Thanks for all those articles Bea :)

Shadow
01-05-2005, 06:42 PM
Marat Safin on Russia's embarrassing early exit from the Hopman Cup exhibition, with Safin and Anastasia Myskina losing 6-2, 6-0 in the mixed doubles decider to Argentines Guillermo "El Fragile" Coria and Gisela "Sgt." Dulko: "Gisela was even returning my serve very well which was kind of embarrassing but I'll have to live with that and get better for the Australian Open. (Coria) played really well, was always running, always biting, not literally, but he was too good." Safin also took the opportunity to compliment the Aussie Open surface, and compare Lleyton Hewitt's problems in Melbourne to his own poor efforts at Wimbledon: "You would probably have 50 players who like it, and 50 players who don't, but that's normal. I like the surface. The ball bounces a bit higher, it's not too fast and the courts suit my game, but (Hewitt) is completely different. We have completely different games. He is the complete opposite of what I'm doing. Everyone is different. Here (Melbourne) is a little slower, the French Open is on clay, Wimbledon is fast and with a low bounce and the US Open is fast hardcourts. Some players can't adjust, I can't adjust to Wimbledon, it seems. Maybe I'm not good enough. It really doesn't matter how many hours, days, weeks or years of practice you put in on the court, it either suits you or it doesn't. I really feel like Wimbledon doesn't suit me, but I have to play, and who knows, if I get (a good draw) then I could find myself in the quarterfinals."

Bibir
01-07-2005, 11:09 AM
Thanks Andrea. :)

I was pretty confident (because Marat seemed confident) until this article. :sad: :sad:

Safin needs luck
By James Dampney
January 7, 2005

MARAT Safin admits he needs plenty of luck at this month's centenary Australian Open after a woeful performance at the Hopman Cup in Perth.

The big Russian enjoyed tournament favouritism and top seeding alongside French Open champion Anastasia Myskina at the mixed teams round-robin event at the Burswood Dome.

Safin was coming off an outstanding finish to 2004, when he won the Madrid and Paris Masters Series tournaments and lost a Masters Cup semi-final to Roger Federer, ending the season ranked No.4.

He had a late arrival in Perth after receiving an award for his tennis exploits from the Russian government.

But the 24-year-old has struggled to shake-off the jet-lag all week.

In Russia's first tie against unseeded Germany, he suffered a sluggish three-set loss to Tommy Haas.

That performance was excused as he had only arrived the day before, but little had changed two days later when he was rolled by Argentine Guillermo Coria in straight sets.

He completed his disappointing week with a three-set loss to Italian journeyman Davide Sanguinetti, including a 7-0 loss in the opening set tiebreak.

Safin and Myskina also lost all three of their mixed doubles rubbers.

Safin was at a loss to explain where his best form had gone this week.

"Somewhere, but definitely not here," he said.

"I could say it can't get any worse, it can only get better.

"I can find a lot of excuses actually, it depends which one you want.

"I have a lot of them."

The two-time Australian Open finalist garnered little support from Myskina, who comfortably won her three singles matches this week.

Asked about her partner's form this week, Myskina could only laugh and say "no comment".

"My singles has been pretty good," she added.

"Mixed we didn't win a match since last year, so hopefully next year we'll have more chances."

Safin will need to find some form in a hurry if he is to again have a good run at the year's opening grand slam tournament.

Wished good luck for the Australian Open, Safin said: "Thank you. I will need some luck for sure."

:sad: :sad: :sad:

Wednesday Addams
01-07-2005, 11:23 AM
Don't worry, Bea, I don't think he's as negative as his words sound.... :hug:

Damita
01-07-2005, 11:26 AM
Thanks Bea :)


"I could say it can't get any worse, it can only get better. i guess he's right :o


"I can find a lot of excuses actually, it depends which one you want.

"I have a lot of them."I trust him on that


Wished good luck for the Australian Open, Safin said: "Thank you. I will need some luck for sure."
And he's talking about luck again........:smash:

BelgianWaffle
01-07-2005, 11:33 AM
"I can find a lot of excuses actually, it depends which one you want.

"I have a lot of them."

Something about this quote makes me :sad:

Wednesday Addams
01-07-2005, 11:35 AM
And he's talking about luck again........:smash:
Yeah. I'm immune to that now. Whenever Marat talks about luck, tiebreaks and confidence all I hear is "blah, blah.......blah, blah....... blah, blah......." :mad: :rolleyes:

Wednesday Addams
01-07-2005, 11:36 AM
Something about this quote makes me :sad:
I think he was just trying to be funny..... :)

junekidd
01-07-2005, 12:04 PM
thanks, bea. :worship:
no words on his home truth, even his self-mockery. :o
though I do not like him to lie, I prefer hear the positive words... that is the only thing can comfort me after he lost... :awww:

PennyThePenguin
01-07-2005, 12:26 PM
Yeah. I'm immune to that now. Whenever Marat talks about luck, tiebreaks and confidence all I hear is "blah, blah.......blah, blah....... blah, blah......." :mad: :rolleyes:



:haha: :haha: :haha: :haha:

Shadow
01-07-2005, 12:44 PM
thanks for the article :kiss:


I was pretty confident (because Marat seemed confident)

I hope u weren`t seriously thinking he was confident, just because he said he was. Of course he wasnt, when playing like this. He just says this sometimes to try to stay postive and stuff. And he talks a lot when the day is long.

Shadow
01-07-2005, 01:16 PM
Safin was at a loss to explain where his best form had gone this week.

"Somewhere, but definitely not here," he said.

:rolls:

Aurora
01-07-2005, 01:40 PM
I hope u weren`t seriously thinking he was confident, just because he said he was. Of course he wasnt, when playing like this. He just says this sometimes to try to stay postive and stuff. And he talks a lot when the day is long.Sure, just fulfulling his press conference duties with some smooth, soothing words to avoid further questions.

Luck ... it's needed in life for many things, but you can't wait around for it to happen. To quote a certain Icelandic singer (:shrug: can't remember which :p):If you leave it alone
it might just happen
anyway

It's not up to you - well, it never really was...

I can decide what I give
but it's not up to me
what I get given

Wednesday Addams
01-07-2005, 01:52 PM
Subtle! :D ;) (nice quote, tho!)

Wednesday Addams
01-07-2005, 01:58 PM
Sure, just fulfulling his press conference duties with some smooth, soothing words to avoid further questions.

Exactly!

Shadow
01-07-2005, 02:02 PM
Sure, just fulfulling his press conference duties with some smooth, soothing words to avoid further questions.


Yes and for him its VERY difficult to actually be confident, even when he won the last 20 matches. Although he says he is confident, but on the court he is almost never confident in himself, his game, expect when everything is working perfectly.

BelgianWaffle
01-07-2005, 03:25 PM
so true andrea :)

Bibir
01-07-2005, 03:46 PM
thanks for the article :kiss:


[/SIZE]

I hope u weren`t seriously thinking he was confident, just because he said he was. Of course he wasnt, when playing like this. He just says this sometimes to try to stay postive and stuff. And he talks a lot when the day is long.

Yes. I believed him when he said he was confident :sad:
Usually I don't take him too seriously...but after his incredible end of year...I thought he would practice hard with Peter...that's why I believed him :sad:

Concerning his poor performance at Hopman Cup I blamed jet lag and the fact that he didn't really care...I was blind obviously...stupid me. :silly:

Inside I hope...I hope...he'll be number 1 again. :awww:

I don't want to wait until indoors tournaments like last year...I want him to be ready at the begining of the year. :(

I don't know how to translate it in english : "je me suis fait avoir" :o

Wednesday Addams
01-07-2005, 04:21 PM
Bea :hug:

Bibir
01-09-2005, 04:23 PM
Safin takes time to ease his way into Open
By Stathi Paxinos
January 10, 2005

World No.4 Marat Safin, still feeling the effects of an arduous 2004 when he lifted his world ranking more than 70 spots, said yesterday he would use this week to tweak his game before the Australian Open rather than pushing himself through the rigours of leadup tournaments.

Safin, who yesterday played a practice match with Britain's Tim Henman, said he had a poor Hopman Cup last week, where he was beaten in Russia's three preliminary matches by Tommy Haas, Davide Sanguinetti and Guillermo Coria.

But last year's Australian Open runner-up, who unlike many top contenders will not be competing this week, said he felt he had been hitting the ball well and just needed some practice time for his game to gel.

Safin, who started last year ranked 77 after an injury riddled 2003, said he had not been enjoying his start to the year.

"I can't say that it's been really good. My playing has been there, but the results are not there," Safin said. "But that's OK because we had a long year last year, so that's normal.

"I've been working hard, so I need some time for my body to adjust to the work that I have done.

Advertisement
Advertisement"I played a lot of tournaments last year, so I've taken a little bit of . . . time to rest and be hungry again for the big tournament. We came here not for the tournaments before because I played too much already."

Safin and Henman yesterday practised for more than an hour on Margaret Court Arena in an exchange that included several bouts of light-hearted banter.

Safin berated himself several times for building the confidence of an "old man" when Henman won easy points. The 30-year-old Briton fired back when he blasted a forehand winner off a Safin first serve that his sister could have won the point just as easily.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v223/bibir/AA.jpg


I hope Marat is practising hard. :(

MisterQ
01-10-2005, 05:48 AM
came across this old 1998 article. This was a painful memory for me as an Andre fan, but it was the beginning of big things for Marat.

French Open: Agassi falls in five sets to ferocity of teenager
By John Parsons in Paris


Details


ANDRE AGASSI'S belief that he was ready to make a spectacular comeback to the big time at the French Open suffered a humiliating blow at Roland Garros here yesterday when he was beaten in the first round by an 18-year-old Russian qualifier, Marat Safin, who was making his first appearance in a Grand Slam event.

Not that the 5-7, 7-5, 6-2, 3-6, 6-2 upset came as a total shock to some of the more astute players and coaches on the men's circuit. For some time, they have been touting the enormous potential of this 6 ft 4 in teenager with a ferocious serve and even more explosive forehand, who showed so much extravagant talent when he was 14 that a Swiss bank thought it worth their while to sponsor him.

The bank, who will not be too pleased to learn that he cannot remember their name - "they just paid money" - decided to send Safin, who was originally coached by his mother, Louisa Islanova, a junior girls' semi-finalist in Paris and former top-10 Russian player, to live in Spain.

There he is coached by Rafael Mensua, in Valencia, honing the effective resistance and powerful counter-hitting from the baseline, which time after time enabled him to win points which the more experienced, but erratic Agassi thought would be his.

Safin, who began to climb the ranking ladder on satellite and then by qualifying in Challenger tournaments in Spain and Portugal, has soared from 441 at the end of 1996 to 116, but that is not high enough to gain him direct entry to Wimbledon, where his almost embarrassing reluctance to volley might still be a problem.

That apart, though, he presents by far the most exciting raw talent this year in the men's game and although he says he is so tired he does not expect to recover in time to make the same sort of impact against defending champion Gustavo Kuerten tomorrow, he is certainly on his way.

Agassi appeared in the interview room with his right arm in a sling but it would be wrong to imply that this was a fundamental factor in the defeat of the American, ranked 20 after slipping last year to 141.

He beat the newcomer in straight sets when the Russian made his Davis Cup debut in Atlanta in April and claimed that the reason he failed to put the ball away when he had Safin stretched "maybe three, sometimes five times in a point" was that "something happened about 4-5 in the first set [after which he won three consecutive games to win it], which meant I was struggling with anything above my shoulder".

Maybe, but he does not believe the problem is serious and is thinking of seeking a wild card into either the Stella Artois tournament or Halle to make up the extra pre-Wimbledon match practice he had been expecting here.

Far more relevant was the way his sturdily built, long-legged opponent, who said he had "never run so much in my life", retrieved as brilliantly as almost any native Spaniard and even when he was cramping in the closing stages, went for even more big winners to preserve the little energy he had left.

Agassi, though, who has faded more than once after a bright start during his comeback, had not played for three weeks and was not too bothered after losing the opening set in 59 minutes, found that Safin's sustained hitting proved decisive in the second and third sets.

The key was the opening game of the fifth set when Agassi, who was not happy when the umpire, like the linesman, approved another backhand return which enabled Safin to save a game point, was then broken on the fourth break point.

Safin, who broke again for 3-0, was almost too weary to celebrate after completing victory in 3 hr 11 min on his third match point. It was only his fifth match on the senior tour and for Agassi, 200 years after Marat Sade, it must have seemed like a mini French revolution.

Patrick Rafter, the fourth seed, who had recovered from two sets down to be level when bad light stopped play overnight, completed a 6-7, 3-6, 6-1, 6-3, 6-2 defeat of Sebastian Lareau.

In terms of rankings, an even bigger upset than Agassi's defeat came when second-seeded Petr Korda was beaten 6-0, 6-2, 3-6, 4-6, 6-3 by Argentinian qualifier Mariano Zabaleta, ranked No 213. Korda, whose form has been variable since he won the Australian Open, was out-lasted by his opponent, who was junior world champion two years ago.



http://www.telegraph.co.uk/htmlContent.jhtml?html=/archive/1998/05/27/stpars27.html

maratski
01-10-2005, 07:42 AM
Thanks Q!

Louisa Islanova :haha:

Wednesday Addams
01-10-2005, 07:45 AM
Louisa Islanova :haha:
'98..... what can we expect.... :rolleyes:
It's a wonder they got the last name right......

BTW, thanx for the article, MisterQ! :kiss:

foul_dwimmerlaik
01-10-2005, 08:33 AM
Thanks for the article MisterQ!

~EMiLiTA~
01-10-2005, 11:52 AM
oh boy...I like that topless pic of Marat!

PennyThePenguin
01-10-2005, 12:42 PM
MATT! :hug: thanks for the article!! ahh..

so marat didn't think he'd recover in time to face guga eh? well...guess he was proven wrong. ;) poor guga though :sad:

~EMiLiTA~
01-10-2005, 02:01 PM
how times have changed since that article!

Damita
01-10-2005, 10:53 PM
he had "never run so much in my life"
how times have changed since that article!yeah...he's been running a lot on court since then :rolls: ...more than we expected (with all those five-setters :rolleyes: )

Kiara
01-11-2005, 07:32 AM
Grathias Q :kiss: that was a great match and a great moment for Marat :D

I didnt know Zabaleta was a junior world champion :D

MariaV
01-11-2005, 08:45 AM
Thanks for the article Mister Q! :) Oh yeah, those were the days......

Vass
01-11-2005, 02:07 PM
THanks Mr.Q. I like reading these old articles about Marat. I guess because I wasn't a tennis fan back then.

sol
01-12-2005, 01:48 AM
Thanks for the articles, Q and Bea! :D :yeah:

MariaV
01-19-2005, 11:07 AM
Sorry, I don't mean to steal Andrea's job here.

In-form Safin offers Safina some brotherly advice
Wed Jan 19, 2005 09:28 AM GMT
By Simon Cambers

MELBOURNE, Jan 19 (Reuters) - Marat Safin moved into the third round of the Australian Open on Wednesday before offering younger sister Dinara some brotherly advice -- grow up.

The fourth seed swiftly bludgeoned his way past Czech Bohdan Ulihrach with a 6-4 6-1 6-3 win before turning his sights on his sister.

Safina, who won the first set against second seed Amelie Mauresmo before succumbing in three, must work harder if she's to compete at the top, Safin said.

"She has to make a lot of changes to be able to compete with all these kind of players.

"And to be able to do that, she needs to have a character and she needs to be a little bit of a grown-up woman.

"Of course, she is little bit young (18), and I know everything everybody is saying to her, 'she is still young, she has big future in front of her.'

"But I'm sorry, if you don't really understand yourself what's going on, it's a little bit difficult for somebody to fix it and explain it.

"Nobody's going to tell her what to do, she has to decide for herself, you know? It's my duty to help her, but if she doesn't want to listen..."

World number 44 Safina reached the third round in Melbourne last year, but though she has won two WTA Tour titles and has been ranked as high as 29, Safin said she should follow the example of her more illustrious and higher-ranked compatriots.

"She has to grow up, be a little bit responsible for the things that she is doing and the decisions that she is taking," he said.

"For some reason she cannot make any decisions; she needs somebody to explain her everything.

"It's a little bit sad to watch because I can see that she has great potential. She has a game, but she doesn't have this character like (Maria) Sharapova has and (Svetlana) Kuznetsova, (Elena) Dementieva, (Anastasia) Myskina, all the Russian girls.

"They're great players. What they are good at is that they have a character of fighters, of wanting to achieve something."

Safin also said he would not be playing mixed doubles with his sister at any time in the foreseeable future.

"There is no more charity for my sister. She has to learn the hard way. I think it's the way that everybody understands, I guess.

"(There is) no hard feeling. Of course, she's my sister.

"It's just a little bit sad to see, to watch the train pass. And then she has to run away when I told her already 'take this train, you know, like before it's gonna be too late.'"

Aurora
01-19-2005, 11:26 AM
hmm, how does he mean that? not seeing her own faults, yeah ok, but not enough fighting spirit according to him? :confused: i:shrug: if he thinks so.

junekidd
01-19-2005, 11:29 AM
thanks, MariaV! :worship: you did not steal Andrea's job. she is busy with watching Marat's match now. ;)

Marat seems a little bit brutal to Dinara but what he said are so true! :yeah: :worship:
Dinara has to learn that only herself could help her out in any circumstance. make decision by herself and be responsible is very important. their mother cannot do everything for her.

PennyThePenguin
01-19-2005, 12:21 PM
Keeping it in the Family
by Luke Buttigieg
Wednesday, 19 January, 2005


For any youngster arriving on the world tennis scene, surviving - let alone being successful - on the international circuit can be a daunting prospect.

For some players, things can be made that little bit easier by either the presence of a sibling who is dealing with the same pressures at the same time, or being able to draw on the experiences of an older sister or brother who has already negotiated the same hurdles.

From years gone by with the likes of John and Patrick McEnroe, Andrei Medvedev and Natalia Medvedeva and Helena Sukova and Cyril Suk, to today with the likes of Serena and Venus Williams and Marat Safin and Dinara Safina, there are countless examples of siblings in the game.

Interestingly, Russians Marat Safin and his younger sister Dinara both played their second-round singles matches at Australian Open 2005 on Vodafone Arena on Day Three.

Introduced to the game as youngsters by their tennis coach mother, they are often in each other's company on tour with Marat helping Dinara any way he can.

"Yeah, we are always together," Dinara said after bowing out in very warm conditions in the second-round. After a great start Safina was unable to maintain her momentum against Amelie Mauresmo, with the French No.2 seed recovering to win 3-6 6-1 6-0.

But while Marat has provided some wise advice that has been heeded, Dinara is also more than aware of the success her brother has had as the 2000 US Open champion and a two-time Melbourne Park finalist.

"He (Marat) only tells me you have to enjoy what you are doing, that's the most important thing, and it's true," she added.

"But it's a little difficult because sometimes I feel a little bit of pressure because I also want to do well. I'm not doing as well as he does, so maybe I put a little bit too much pressure on myself because I want to do well."

Apart from the Williams sisters and Safin and Safina, the family connection is also alive and well throughout the rest of this year's tournament.

American twins Mike and Bob Bryan return to try to win the doubles title after making last year's final, and Zimbabweans Wayne and Cara Black have entered the men's and women's doubles respectively.

Dutchwoman Michaella Krajicek and American Mashona Washington - the younger sisters of 1996 Wimbledon finalists Richard Krajicek and MaliVai Washington - are both entered, while Australians Evie and Daniella Dominikovic have teamed up for the women's doubles.

Shadow
01-19-2005, 01:04 PM
ops, sorry i only saw now that these articles are already posted here (i posted them in the AO thread) :o

PennyThePenguin
01-19-2005, 01:06 PM
no worries andrea....... it's quite nice to read again ;)

maratgirl
01-19-2005, 02:12 PM
http://au.news.yahoo.com/050119/15/snm9.html

some advice of marat to dinara

maratgirl
01-19-2005, 02:13 PM
woeps sorry for posting it again

foul_dwimmerlaik
01-19-2005, 03:43 PM
Thanks for the articles everyone!

Re: Dinara. Wow! These are pretty harsh words. It's so uncharacteristic of Marat (not to mention a big case of pot calling kettle black) to speak publicly about such matters. Gotta wonder if there are some serious hard feelings involved.

Bibir
01-19-2005, 05:09 PM
Family matters! :sad: he's rude and protective at the same time...I hope they're Ok now! :sad:

I know she has a new coach...But is the mother still around?

foul_dwimmerlaik
01-19-2005, 08:02 PM
I doubt that they're ok, Bea (not that I know anything abt. their family dynamics). I do think Marat made a serious mistake saying what he said.

junekidd
01-20-2005, 12:36 AM
I doubt that they're ok, Bea (not that I know anything abt. their family dynamics). I do think Marat made a serious mistake saying what he said.

I don't think Marat make any mistake. on the contrary, I am very appreciate his saying. I am not sure if it is relative to Dinara's performance when she played with Jie Zheng (you could check the details in the Dinara thread on this board. P63 & P64, Kiara's post). I hold partly it is. how can I express my admiration to Marat?! he is really rational. I love his style more now. he said his opinion despite Dinara is his sister. he did what a brother should do! he is the class! :angel:

foul_dwimmerlaik
01-20-2005, 01:49 AM
No matter how right he is, he shouldn't have said it in public, june.

junekidd
01-20-2005, 04:02 AM
why? :confused:
I don't think his words would hurt anyone or his family. if you know what Dinara did, you would undresatnd Marat's saying. so I don't think there will be any misunderstanding. also I think he would not say if no one asked him. he just answered questions.

foul_dwimmerlaik
01-20-2005, 07:50 AM
I know what Dinara did, and there's more then one spin on it. Anyway, I don't think that has any bearing on what Marat was saying. He was asked about Mauresmo match, and what he said was brutal. And he blurted it out to the whole world, or at least an entire tennis community. Not to mention he's the last one to give anyone public lectures on mental toughness and not wasting chances. I hope he regrets his words now.

What I like about that interview is how respectful Marat seems to other russian female players (Myskina at al). Not many other ATP players have an attitude like that. Hats off to him.

junekidd
01-20-2005, 08:10 AM
I just read his itw. I am also curious abt Marat's words... he is asked to Dinara's second match while he seems talked abt what he thought of Dinara. :confused: had he borne a long time? :shrug:
it is brutal sure. but he cannot always says "yeah" and "right" words. blurting out is his style. never change. ;) but still he is responsible IMO. maybe it is not proper enough to comment Dinara in public, but I do hope he won't regrat his words. :)

Kiara
01-20-2005, 08:17 AM
. Not to mention he's the last one to give anyone public lectures on mental toughness and not wasting chances.

Actually, he's the best person to talk about it since he has vast experience in that department, if anyone must know the dissapointment wasted opportunities and how rarely breaks come by, it's Marat. He wasnt giving anyone a lecture on mental toughness, he was just saying "i hope she doesnt make the same mistake that I did" etc etc hence the train metaphor. Dinara should listen Marat knows what he's talking about :D

and I dont see why he shouldnt have said it in public it#s not like it a big secret and since when has marat ever held back on anything ? He was asked a question and gave an honest answer, albeit a bit rude. But I do sense some tension there

Kiara
01-20-2005, 08:21 AM
Marat knew damn well what the question was asking ;) it was a nasty spin he put on the answer though :( If I was Dinara I would be seething ,thank god im not :D

junekidd
01-20-2005, 08:28 AM
and I dont see why he shouldnt have said it in public it#s not like it a big secret and since when has marat ever held back on anything ? He was asked a question and gave an honest answer, albeit a bit rude. But I do sense some tension there

I agree with you. while maybe your next post could explain why some people think it is not proper: it is too brutal to Dinara.

foul_dwimmerlaik
01-20-2005, 08:32 AM
Exactly. There were many ways to answer this quiestion without lying and he chose the nastiest one possible. I don't really follow Dinara, but for what I know about her, she seems to idolize Marat, to be bitchslapped in such a way must be unbeliveably hurtful to her.

Kiara
01-20-2005, 09:16 AM
Marat couldnt give a diplomatic answer if you paid him to :lol:

but what you said is very true

foul_dwimmerlaik
01-20-2005, 09:23 AM
Yay agreement! :)

Bibir
01-21-2005, 10:19 AM
Mt Safin rumbles through to last 16
By Gerard Whateley

There's a perverse pleasure in watching Marat Safin play tennis. It's one part genius, two parts fury.

You haven't seen volatility until you've witnessed the Russian miss a volley he feels should've been made.

So talented is the 24-year-old he embarks on two matches every time he takes to the court: the first against himself; the second - and you can't help but feel the lesser - against the man on the other side of the net.

You know this when Safin smashes a dead ball the length of the court with little regard for the consequences. On this day the rocket passes by the nose of an unsuspecting Mario Ancic.

Had it made contact this match would have gone into the record books as a knock out. Who would have progressed to the fourth round would've been anyone's guess.

It's compelling in the same way you imagine a volcano bubbling with lava, knowing at any moment the destructive forces will be unleashed.

Trouble is Safin shapes as the man most likely to make this Australian Open anything more than a coronation for the modern champion of the men's game, Roger Federer.

A year ago Safin was no match for Federer in the Open final but it came at the end of a torrid campaign. He'd played more sets than any man on the road through the fortnight and when he apologetically explained he had nothing left to give on the last Sunday he was forgiven.

This year his presence seems more ominous. He shredded his first couple of opponents barely breaking a sweat and dropping just 11 games.

He paused along the way to publicly clip his sister Dinara Safina after her second round loss declaring she'd never develop until she started listening to his advice.

Imagine a member of that family not taking advice. The Christmas gathering must really be something.

Safin stopped in at Rod Laver Arena on Friday to square off with the 28th seed Mario Ancic.

For Safin the first set was sweet, it all came unhinged in the second, the third retrieved a relative equilibrium, and the fourth delivered victory.

He didn't greet the win with any sense of joy, more the look of a man whose daily torture had mercifully come to an end.

Safin's drop shot at an impossible angle in the second will be replayed for the duration of the tournament.

His dead racquet at a live ball soon after was indicative of the brain fade you could see developing.

By way of explanation Safin told the crowd: "Some times my head goes away and doesn't come back." ;)

It was the most accurate analysis you'd ever wish to hear.

As if we'd not had a deep enough insight into the curious psyche of Marat Safin, his press conference offered more.

In his mumbled and slightly broken English, Safin is self-deprecating in his honesty. He clearly enjoys the exercise as witnessed by the glint in his eye and the wisp of a smile.

"I'm trying to give all my best," is Safin's introspection. "If it doesn't go my way then there's nothing I can do about it. You cannot be hard on yourself.

"It's already enough to play against the opponent that is trying to beat you. Just try to be positive. If it doesn't go your way, so what are you going to do? Can't fight it."

It's a mantra you suspect he's struggling with.

Asked how his sister had reacted to his spray: "I didn't speak to her yet. It's OK, women are very delicate people so (laughter) it takes a bit of time for them to calm down and really to think properly because they go with emotions, but then they use the head." :smash:

Is your mum here?

"No, she's not. Two women is too much for me." :p

With the room in raptures the final questions went thus:

Q: "Is there any chance that you will be like Agassi, from 20 to 25 it's up and down, unpredictable and then?"

Safin: "I pray for this. I really pray for this. I really, really hope so. Thank you."

Q: "Do you think maybe at 29 all of a sudden you'll become serious, like a machine like Agassi?"

Safin: "Not too serious. Come on. Life you cannot take too serious. It's just a sport that we love to be here and to enjoy it."

Q: "You think you'll be playing at 34?"

Safin: "I don't know what's gonna happen tomorrow. You asking me if I'm gonna play until 34."

It all ended in laughter.

:banana:

Bibir
01-21-2005, 10:24 AM
Safin advances at AO

Marat Safin picked himself up after twisting his right ankle and overcame hard-serving Mario Ancic 6-4, 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 to advance to the fourth round.


The fourth-seeded Safin, who lost to Federer in last year's Australian Open final, led by a set and a break when he twisted his ankle and fell on his face near the baseline while trying to return Ancic's winning forehand in the third game of the fourth set.


Safin got up, limped back to his chair and was treated by trainer Per Bastholt, who gave the Russian player a pill and wound more tape around his already heavily taped ankle.


Safin won his next service game at love with an ace, joking with a line judge who'd earlier called one of his serves wide.


He advanced on his second match point when the 28th-seeded Ancic couldn't handle a slice backhand and dumped a forehand into the net.


Ancic reached the semifinals at Wimbledon last year, upsetting Britain's Tim Henman in the quarterfinals, and was a tough, third-round opponent for Safin.


"It's difficult to have a game plan against him. He mixes it up so much," Safin said. "You have to hang in there and wait for opportunities."


Safin broke Ancic ¡ª who misfired with seven double-faults ¡ª once in each set and lost his service just twice in the second set.


Both players were demonstrative, criticizing themselves behind the baseline. Safin often kicked the ball, and knocked his head with his knuckles, trying to regain focus.


"It's a wake-up call," Safin said. "Sometimes my head goes away and doesn't come back ¡ª I have to get it back here." :o

Bibir
01-21-2005, 10:28 AM
Safin Shows Growing Maturity with Ancic Win


By Simon Cambers
MELBOURNE (Reuters) - The all-new, improved Marat Safin showed yet more signs of his growing maturity on Friday when he survived a potentially tricky encounter with Mario Ancic to reach the fourth round of the Australian Open.

The fourth-seeded Russian, runner-up at Melbourne Park in 2002 and 2004, survived an injury scare when he turned his right ankle but battled to a 6-4, 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 win, setting up a clash with Belgian Olivier Rochus.

"I'm getting older," he said. Soon I am going to be a quarter of a century in this world. That's a big number. :rolleyes:

"It's going to be my seventh year (on tour). At least I have to learn something. After years and years, you learn something here.

"I'm much calmer. And to get to this point where I am right now, a little bit calmer than I used to be before, is because I had enough a little bit." :angel:

Ancic, who hails from the same city as Goran Ivanisevic and is nicknamed "Son of Goran" for his likeness to the former Wimbledon champion, showed the kind of form which took him to the semi-finals at Wimbledon last year.

Safin dug deep to win the third set but his victory looked in doubt when, having broken in the first game of the fourth set, he turned his right ankle two games later.

After a brief injury timeout, Safin showed few signs of discomfort and maintained his break of serve to clinch victory.

"I have had a lot of problems with that ankle before," Safin said. :(

"It wasn't so bad because I've been taping it," he said. "If I will play without tape, it will be much worse. But it was good that I'm taping it. It will be OK. :scared:

Safin beat Andy Roddick and Andre Agassi before losing to Roger Federer in last year's final, having spent 21 hours, six minutes on court and 30 sets -- a grand slam record.

This time, he has dropped just one set in three matches and with Federer a potential semi-final opponent, Safin said he needed to remain fresh.

"I'm much more comfortable right now than I was last year because I had a lot of tough matches in the first week," he said.

"This week is a little bit easier. I'm playing a little bit smarter, and I'm just trying to save my time on the court and keep it short. It's a long tournament and there is no need to waste the energy on something that you don't have to."

thelma
01-21-2005, 02:17 PM
Safin overcomes ankle problem, joins Federer in the fourth round

By PAUL ALEXANDER, Associated Press Writer
January 21, 2005

AP - Jan 21, 7:37 am EST


MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) -- Four-time champion Andre Agassi was nearly flawless, counter-punching his way into the fourth round of the Australian Open with a 7-5, 7-6 (3), 6-1 win Friday over fellow American Taylor Dent.

The eighth-seeded Agassi never faltered under Dent's relentless pressure. Showing no ill effects from a torn tendon suffered just before the season-opening Grand Slam, Agassi committed only six unforced errors -- none in the final set.

With fans in the packed center court roaring approval, the 29th-seeded Dent rushed the net 136 times but constantly found himself lunging and diving for Agassi's stinging passes and lobs.

``If you're not on your game, he's one of the worst guys to play,'' Agassi said. ``He makes you hit your shots.''

Agassi is one match from a quarterfinal meeting with top-ranked Roger Federer, who lost his first service game, then got back on track and advanced when Finland's Jarkko Nieminen quit with an abdominal muscle tear on a day when injuries played a role in several matches.

Playing better after he twisted his long-tender right ankle, fourth-seeded Marat Safin was testy at times but kept his famous temper in check in a 6-4, 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 victory against Croatia's Mario Ancic.

``It ... took all the pressure a little bit from me in the match because I was a little bit uptight,'' the fourth-seeded Safin said. ``When I twisted my ankle, I just kind of stopped a little bit thinking about the way I was playing. And I played quite a good game afterward.''

thelma
01-21-2005, 02:51 PM
Federer, Safin advance Down Under

Melbourne, Australia (Sports Network) - World No. 1 Swiss Roger Federer and fourth-seeded Russian Marat Safin each advanced to the fourth round Friday at the Australian Open.

Federer, the defending champ Down Under, was only on the court for 57 minutes because his opponent Jarkko Nieminen was forced to retire with an injury. Federer was winning 6-3, 5-2 at the time the match was stopped because Nieminen suffered an apparent abdominal strain.

The high-flying Federer, who won his 24th straight match, has claimed four of the last six majors, his last four events overall and hasn't dropped a match since August, when he lost in the second round at the Olympic Games in Athens.

Federer next faces qualifier Marcos Baghdatis of Cyprus, who eliminated No. 13 Tommy Robredo of Spain, 7-6 (7-2), 6-4, 6-1.

Safin advanced to the round of 16 with a 6-4, 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 win over 28th- seeded Croat Mario Ancic.

The powerful Safin, who lost to Federer in last year's Aussie final, will meet Belgian Olivier Rochus in the fourth round. Rochus rallied to defeat Slovakian Karol Beck 6-7 (6-8), 6-1, 6-4, 6-2.

Meanwhile, eighth-seeded and four-time Australian Open winner American Andre Agassi defeated 29th seed Taylor Dent, 7-5, 7-6 (7-3), 6-1, in an all-American battle Friday night. Agassi had 42 winners and just six unforced errors, while Dent had 31 and 39, respectively.

Agassi, the oldest player in the men's draw at 34, will face 11th seed Joachim Johansson of Sweden in the next round. Johansson outlasted No. 24 Feliciano Lopez of Spain, 6-3, 3-6, 5-7, 7-6 (7-2), 13-11.

In other action on Day 5, 20th-seeded Dominik Hrbaty of the Slovak Republic outlasted 10th-seeded French Open champion Gaston Gaudio 7-6 (7-5), 6-7 (8-10), 6-7 (3-7), 6-3 and 30th-seeded Thomas Johansson, the 2002 Australian Open winner, defeated American Kevin Kim 3-6, 6-2, 6-7 (4-7), 6-2, 6-2.

thelma
01-21-2005, 02:58 PM
BBC SPORT

Last Updated: Friday, 21 January, 2005, 12:02 GMT

Fourth seed Marat Safin survived an injury scare as he battled past Mario Ancic 6-4 3-6 6-3 6-4.

The Russian turned his right ankle in the third game of the fourth set and called for treatment immediately.

They are so used to me winning, but it's not that simple

But he showed no sign of the problem when he returned to the court to wrap up victory in two hours 45 minutes.

Ancic, Wimbledon semi-finalist in 2004, looked set to push Safin all the way when he took the second set but Safin raised his game to sink the Croatian.

Safin said he was trying to keep his temper under control at this year's tournament.

"I try to stay calm because if you go crazy against players like Ancic, you might never come back because he's a tough opponent," he said.

"I'm a little bit calmer than I was before because I'd had enough."


I'm playing a little bit smarter

http://newsimg.bbc.co.uk/media/images/40746000/jpg/_40746011_saf_getty_203.jpg

The Russian added that he was not worried by his ankle injury, saying, "it will be OK".

thelma
01-21-2005, 03:02 PM
Safin wins stress-free

January 21, 2005

http://foxsports.news.com.au/common/imagedata/0,5001,411736,00.jpg

IT may have taken a while, but Marat Safin claims to have discovered that calmness and control on the tennis court works better than rage, abuse and obnoxious tantrums.


Frustrated ... Ancic pushed Safin hard at times / Reuters

For now, at least.

Safin, until recently the hostile face of international tennis, put his new-found philosophy to the test today against Croatia's Mario Ancic.

The result was a 6-4 3-6 6-3 6-4 third round win – and, according to the Russian, a lot less stress.

"I'm trying to save myself for as long as I can, trying to keep myself calm on the court," Safin said.

"Because against these kind of players like Ancic, if you go crazy you might never come back.

"He will feel straight away a little bit I'm not there, so he will take his opportunity."
Safin's revelation hasn't had the overwhelming support of the Melbourne Park crowd who today urged him to "get angry" when he was losing the second set.

But the world No.4 wasn't listening.

"I'm trying, I'm saving my energy, my power, try to stay calm and think properly what I have to do," he said.

Safin's next opportunity to turn on the laid back approach comes against Olivier Rochus in the fourth round on Sunday.

Energy turned out to be at a premium in a number of today's men's matches, none more so than in the Dominik Hrbaty-Gaston Gaudio third rounder.

It came as no surprise to anyone in the game that in a match that took four hours and 21 minutes, Hrbaty had more of it than the 10th-seeded Gaudio.

The Slovak, who is often taunted by fellow players for the amount of time he spends on the practice court, won 7-6 (7-5) 6-7 (6-8) 6-7 (3-7) 6-1 6-3.

"There is a lot of guys they sometimes laugh on you and say you practising too much," Hrbaty said.

"Like Safin, he don't practise too much.

"But it pays off you know, sometime you can show them that so much practice, it pays you back sometime.

"Then it is the best feeling."

Hrbaty is on court for at least four hours every day, so it was only natural that he survived today's match better than Gaudio.

As well as an unquestioned work ethic, the 20th seed can claim to be one of the more self effacing players on the tour.

His match against Gaudio required a lot more than sheer endurance, but Hrbaty played it down.

"I'm not really a talented guy," he said.

"My talent is to work hard and to work a lot."

Having accounted today for a player ranked 10 places higher than himself, Hrbaty now meets Sweden's Thomas Johansson in the fourth round, who at 30, is 10 places lower on the tennis ladder.

In another third-round marathon Johansson beat American Kevin Kim 3-6 6-2 6-7 (4-7) 6-2 6-2.

In today's other daytime men's singles match, the top seed and defending champion Roger Federer had a relatively easy time against Finland's Jarkko Nieminen.

After dropping his first serve for the second match in succession, Federer took the opening set 6-3 and was leading 5-2 when Nieminen retired with an abdominal strain.

Bibir
01-21-2005, 03:27 PM
I'm impressed Thelma! he really looks like the hippo on your avatar in this last pic! :banana:

thelma
01-21-2005, 03:47 PM
:yeah: Bea :lol:

Kiara
01-21-2005, 03:50 PM
"Safin" and "stress free" do not go together :p

Damita
01-21-2005, 08:28 PM
I'm impressed Thelma! he really looks like the hippo on your avatar in this last pic! :banana:
:lol: Béa! and it's true! :lol:

foul_dwimmerlaik
01-22-2005, 03:23 AM
Thanks for all the articles!

Russian's racket roulette over
By Martin Johnson in Melbourne
(Filed: 22/01/2005)

For every great entertainer, there are a dozen more who wouldn't persuade you to open the curtains if they were playing on your back lawn, so it was a sad moment for tennis yesterday when one of the game's great entertainers announced his retirement. Marat Safin still intends to carry on playing, but never again (so he says) will he make the Rod Laver Arena or Wimbledon's Centre Court reverberate to the satisfying sound of splintered titanium and exploding strings. Marat Safin, serial racket trasher 1998 -2005, RIP.




It may well be that the huge advances in racket technology have finally done for one of the all-time greats, as it now requires so much effort to reduce one to a heap of twisted metal that you barely have the energy left to walk back to your chair and unwrap another. It was so much easier in Ilie Nastase's day, when you could turn a wooden one into a pile of cocktail sticks with a single well- aimed backhand against the net post.

When Safin first joined the circuit seven years ago, a man of his size and temperament could get through half a dozen rackets in a five-setter, but these days the end product of a full-blooded attack on a rubbery surface like Melbourne's is liable to result in a high velocity rebound and a serious dent in your forehead.

Thus, when Melbourne's capricious wind blew up its usual quota of toffee wrappers and paper cups, but not a single polythene wrapper from the Russian's racket bag, yesterday's Centre Court crowd would have left the stadium with a sense of bereavement.

In fact, had it not been for the quality of Safin's tennis in his 6-4, 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 victory over Mario Ancic, of Croatia, they might have had a case for demanding their money back.

It is a fining offence to break a racket on court, and when Safin used to arrive for a tournament, it must have been a bit like checking into a hotel where they demand an imprint of your credit card before giving you the key to your room. Or perhaps he handed over his bank account details at the start of the season and paid by direct debit.

There were so many tantalising moments in this match, when a glimpse of the old Safin appeared to be just a double fault away, that the tension was almost audible. However, the closest we got was when an unsuccessful lunge for an Ancic cross-court winner took Safin close to the potted plants outside the players' tunnel, and he cocked his racket over one of them in a manner reminiscent of Basil Fawlty threatening his conked-out car.

A netted forehand also prompted him to test out the edible properties of his racket handle, but while many other opportunities came along in a match in which Safin produced, for all his flashes of brilliance, 44 unforced errors, the Russian even took to pummelling his head with a clenched fist rather than use his usual method of venting steam.

In fact, the most remarkable statistic of the entire match was the 1-0 scoreline in Ancic's favour for destroyed equipment. This came when he lost his serve early in the third set, and if the 24-year-old Safin has indeed decided to become boring in his old age, you have take heart from the fact that Ancic - the 20-year-old who beat Tim Henman at Wimbledon last summer - shows promising signs of preserving one of the game's great traditions.

He might require some top-level coaching from his fellow Croatian, Goran Ivanisevic, whose skills in this department were legendary. It was at a tournament in Brighton that Ivanisevic went through his entire complement of rackets, and with the rules not allowing him to nip off for fresh ammunition, he was defaulted.

After yesterday's match, Safin revealed that it was not so much the resilience of modern equipment that had caused him to re-evaluate, but the realisation that it wasn't doing his game any good. Plus the fact that he's getting older. "Soon I will be a quarter of a century old," he said, "so it's about time I learnt something. Ancic is a good player, and if you go crazy against good players, you might never come back. I'm saving my power and energy to stay calm and think properly."

Safin had no regrets about his past transgressions, but he certainly seemed to have more fun in those days. Apart from his hangdog expression yesterday his shoulders were slumped, and while this may well have been connected to the amount of jewellery hanging round his neck, it looked more like the misery of a 40-a-day smoker trying to get through his first week of giving up on nicotine patches.

He knows it's good for him, but he's definitely not enjoying it.

www.telegraph.co.uk/johnson

Damita
01-24-2005, 10:40 PM
The star online

Monday January 24, 2005

Gossips on players add spice off the court

IT’s not all about matches and training at the Australian Open – the social lives of the rich and famous in tennis is what gets Melbourne tabloids all aflutter during the Grand Slam fortnight.

The Sunday press was overflowing with tidbits on the off-court lives of the big names – from the Hewitt family's night out at a South Yarra Mexican restaurant, which has been favoured for years by Andre Agassi, to the apparent after-dark prowlings of Russian hunk Marat Safin.

Newspapers noted that Hewitt parents Glenn and Cherilyn stopped by a modest McDonald's after one of their son's late-night wins this week, but celebrated with more style when Lleyton's soap-star actress girlfriend Bec Cartwright was able to come down from filming in Sydney for a tennis weekend.

Then, there were the annual whispers about fourth seed Safin, who cut a swathe in 2002 through the Chapel Street/Prahran party with an impossible posse of Russian blondes in tow.

This year, it's more-low key for muscular Marat, who tabs said failed to blend in with the crowds at this year's trendy nightspot – either through his height or through his tennis fame.

German Tommy Haas got a picture on the gossip pages as he tried and failed to win over the newest sensation of Aussie TV, presenter Susie Wicks, who hosts the trendy “Dancing with the Stars” programme.

Sources say that the hunky Haas tried and failed to hook up with Susie, but did manage a quiet chat alone before flying back to Florida.

The massive Crown casino has attracted the spare cash of some, with Andy Roddick noted for taking a pounding at the tables last week and reportedly getting short with staff before cutting his losses and getting back to matters tennis. – dpa

thelma
01-26-2005, 06:22 PM
Federer, Safin Simply Stunning
by Damian Glass

http://www.******************/Header/safin2.jpg

Roger Federer and Marat Safin have set up a semi-final showdown at Australian Open 2005 after both dominated their quarter-finals on Day Nine at Melbourne Park. Federer was simply awesome in defeating four-time champion Andre Agassi 6-3 6-4 6-4 in balmy conditions for the night session on Rod Laver Arena.

It has been 26 matches since Federer lost a singles match and at no stage during his clash with Agassi did the American look like he was going to break the world No.1's winning streak.

Right from the start of the match a familiar pattern emerged with games going on serve until the sixth game of the first set when Federer broke Agassi's serve for the first time to take a 4-2 lead.

With a first serve percentage of 66 for the match - including 22 aces - Federer's serve was near impenetrable all night. The only time it appeared vulnerable was when Federer served for the first set, but Agassi was unable to take advantage of four chances to break back.

These were the only chances Agassi had all night to break serve and Federer eventually claimed the first set 6-3.

In contrast, Agassi's serve was only broken three times in the match but, significantly, Federer was able to put pressure on him by breaking serve in the first game of the second and third sets.

Federer controlled the match at every level and although he made 11 more unforced errors than Agassi (31 to 20), he accumulated 46 winners compared to 13 for Agassi.

If the Swiss was impressive in defeating Agassi, No.4 seed Safin was not far behind him in defeating Dominik Hrbaty in straight sets, 6-2 6-4 6-2

Playing under a closed roof on Rod Laver Arena in the afternoon, Safin took just 90 minutes to dispose of Hrbaty.

Despite a relatively low first serve percentage of 49, the big Russian powered down 14 aces and hit 33 winners to completely outplay the Slovakian.

In the past, Hrbaty had troubled Safin in with the pair sharing the honours in 12 matches. The last time they met in the Australian Open was 2001 and it was Hrbaty who recorded a comfortable straight sets victory in the fourth-round.

However, in 2005 Safin appears to be peaking at the right time and after his win, the Russian admitted that the victory over Hrbaty was the best he has played in the tournament.

Although the scoreboard made the match look relatively easy, Safin also revealed that the secret to his success was changing the way he played Hrbaty.

"After the first couple of games that I was a little bit tense, I found out myself how to play against him, what I have to do," Safin said.

"That's why it looks a little bit so easy. But on the court is completely different. You feel different because the way he plays, he plays really fast, flat balls."

"If you're going to rally and try to beat him, his game, it's really difficult. So basically you have to change something, try to play with more slice, if you change, if you play smart against him, of course it was easy by the numbers."

Perhaps the biggest catalyst for Safin's victory came before the match as the temperature hovered around the 35-degree mark and the tournament's Extreme Heat Policy was enacted, ensuring the roof would be closed.

It was a decision that Safin believed favoured him more than Hrbaty, who is regarded as one of the fittest and hardest working players on the men's tour.

"We were discussing it (in the locker room)," Safin said. "I said, 'they're going to close the roof'. I could see that he wanted to really play with the heat. But playing in the heat is an advantage for him. Really, honestly, I preferred to play against him in indoors, it's much better."

Wednesday Addams
01-27-2005, 06:18 AM
Marat in dark blue......... mmmmmmmmmmmmmm....... :drool: :hearts:

thelma
01-28-2005, 03:20 PM
Marat's Masterstroke Was Signing New Coach

Friday, January 28, 2005 7:16:10 AM ET

By Paul Tait

MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Marat Safin hit countless brilliant shots on his way to becoming the man who finally stopped Roger Federer in their epic Australian Open semi-final.

But his masterstroke was probably played in April last year on the day he signed up Peter Lundgren, Federer's ex-coach, as the man to get his sometimes wayward career back on track.

Safin has been a larger-than-life figure on the men's tour for the past seven years but the man Pete Sampras once described as the future of tennis has not always lived up to expectations.

Safin briefly topped the world rankings after he won the 2000 U.S. Open but grand slam success has since eluded him.

Swede Lundgren coached Federer to his grand slam breakthrough at Wimbledon in 2003 but they split later the same year.

Safin saw his chance and by September last year he had snapped a 22-month title drought by winning the China Open.

The big pay-off was still to come as Lundgren helped plot Safin's 5-7 6-4 5-7 7-6 9-7 win over Federer in a match hailed Friday as probably the best ever played at Melbourne Park.

"If you really want to compete, to be able to be close to him... you really have to see how to improve the game," Safin said of Federer after his four-and-a-half hour win.

"Because normally he toys with everybody. With all respect to other players, he does whatever he wants on the court against them. So that's why... the job of the coach is to improve and to try to be as close as you can to Roger," he said.

"He put tennis, the bar very high. Very high. It's incredible what kind of game he can play," said Safin.

But the wily Muscovite was giving few specifics away about how they engineered Federer's downfall.

"That's the question that everybody wants to hear the answer. But I'm not going to tell," Safin said with a smile after avenging his defeat by Federer in last year's final.

"I mean, I keep it for me. But I'm sure the players... basically they know and they saw it in the match," he said.

GENERALLY CALMER

One of the most obvious changes under Lundgren has been the new, relaxed Safin. There are still signs of the tempestuous Russian of the past but he is generally calmer.

Before Safin's triumph, the Swiss master was unbeaten in his previous 26 matches stretching back to the Athens Olympics and was unbeaten in his past 24 matches against top 10 players.

Federer captured three of the four grand slam titles last year and was bidding to become the first man since Sampras in 1993/1994 to win three consecutive grand slam events.

He has been so dominant that the talk had not been about whether he would successfully defend his Australian title but whether he would become the first man to complete the calendar grand slam since Rod Laver in 1969.

Federer, who recently turned to Australian great Tony Roche for guidance in his unceasing quest for excellence, tried to put the loss in perspective but could barely hide his disappointment.

"I live my whole life with pressure, so this is nothing different," Federer said.

"He's one of the best players in the world. But I didn't feel extra pressure," the top seed said.

Safin will play either third seed Lleyton Hewitt of Australia or second seed Andy Roddick Sunday in his bid for a second grand slam title.

He will be hoping it is third time lucky in Australia after his final loss to Federer last year and Swede Thomas Johansson in 2002.

http://www.metronews.ca/reuters_sports.asp?id=52991

Damita
01-28-2005, 10:56 PM
hey hippo lovers, i've translated an article from French newspaper L'Equipe, here it is:

L'Equipe, January 28th, 2005
Dominique Bonnot

25 years old… in Melbourne

For his birthday, Safin made himself a handsome present when defeating Federer.

As usual, Jim Courier is a bit of a joker on court, asking the winner some destabilizing questions, when he realizes that the joking tone doesn’t suit the moment. Winner of Roger Federer at the end of a 4hrs 28’ battle, Marat Safin, with his cheeks on fire, looks like he is about to burst into tears. Courier realizes that and offers to give him a hug, which the Russian immediately accepts, curling up in the arms of the former champion. Then he tries to find the words that could describe his feelings and apologizes for not being able to find them: “It's a little bit difficult to give, to find right answer to explain to all the people that are coming here right now and what I felt at the match points…psychologically, it's difficult…Match point, you don't think. You go for it. When it's in, it's good. When it's coming out, it's not so good!”

He doesn’t find himself very good at that exercise in style. Courier is telling him that his birthday is over since 27 minutes (it is on Friday 28th, at 12:27am local time), when the audience starts singing: “Happy birthday to you, Marat!”. The Russian doesn’t know what to do with himself anymore. In the same time, Roger Federer is going out of the locker room, with bare feet, doing his best not to lay them flat on the linoleum of the corridor. Gradually, as Federer’s close relations are waiting for the Swiss in a little corner, the Safin clan arrives and stops in front of the locker room’s door. The first to appear is Gerard Tsobanian, the friend, the agent, the confidant: “It was unbearable! He cries out. Marat has found the key of the Swiss safe deposit box! Thanks to Peter (Lundgren). Each match he lost has been a new lesson. We had the feeling it would happen”.

And then the robust Peter Lundgren bursts in, and leaves immediately. He’s been Federer’s coach for 5 years and then became the coach of the Russian, in Roma, during the springtime in 2004. He joins his protégé without saying a word. Tsobanian laughs: “Peter has been commenting during the whole match what Roger was going to do, where he would serve, where he would return Marat’s serve. He was telling us: “Roger is slackening his pace because the sole of his feet is painful” ..."

When he enters the locker room, Lundgren bumps into Walt Landers, who has been Safin’s physio for 2 years. With his funny mug he isn’t much to look at, but he is surely very efficient. He’s been Sampras’ physio for 7 years, and he was working with Becker and Agassi when they won the title here. He thinks that “Marat wants to win this tournament because it’s the tournament of the centenary”. Then he goes chatting with the others. A tall lanky blonde – as beautiful as a Barbie doll, and about whom you can wonder if she is a “safinette”; some guys with an improbable look; 2 or 3 more discreet girls; and the manager – a man with a shaven head and a Russian accent, Allon Khakhouri, who says the progress of his client is due to the quality of his relation with Lundgren: “He is humble, laid-back, and friendly. Marat likes that”.

“Marat isn’t a kid anymore”

Marat is in the press room: “I was a little bit... I was lucky with the lob (which allowed him to save the match point Federer had). I have to say that I was lucky. But I had no other choice”, he says to begin the conference. He pays tribute to Federer: “he put tennis, you know, the bar very high”, and says he can draw several lessons from his victory today: “I proved to myself that even though I couldn't take my chances, there still be another chance if you keep on going and keep on waiting and keep on just hanging in there. It will come. It will come. If you really want it, if you really deserve it, it will come”.

He leaves the press room without saying if he prefers to play against Hewitt or against Roddick. But Lundgren gives the game away: “Hewitt. Even with the crowd, he prefers Hewitt”.

The Swedish coach doesn’t look like he’s trying to hide his emotions, even though they are full of ambiguity: “I’m dead. It was very difficult. I kow Roger so well! It was a little bit less disturbing than in Houston, because it was the first time there, but still…”.

You don’t have to insist a lot to make him tell you the story: the breaking off with Federer at the end of 2003 (“When he called to tell me, I knew it already. Instinctively”.); the five months off in Sweden; the phone call from Marat, via a close relation of the Russian, Amit Naor; the difficulties at the beginning when trying to know each other better; the two of them feeling blue after the defeat against Enqvist at the US Open; Peter giving Marat a piece of his mind, and this triggering something off in Safin’s mind; a first title won together right after that, in Beijing; and a very good year-end.

The a few days of vacation, some “adjustments” in Valencia, and they headed for Australia. It’s been a steep, but exemplary, course to get to play this wonderful match against the World #1: “the 2 guys gave them all, and Marat gave the best of him”. Like everyone else, Lundgren thinks that Safin has settled down: : “He isn’t a kid anymore. He is a man. He knows about life now”, he says in a big Santa Claus smile, as he is joining Safin and his assembly for a peculiar birthday evening.

Wednesday Addams
01-28-2005, 11:30 PM
:worship: Peter :worship:

Thank you, Peter!

sol
01-29-2005, 12:34 AM
Go Marat! :worship: Good luck in the final! :angel:


Mental giant Marat
By Scott Gullen
January 29, 2005

MARAT SAFIN believes he now has the mental strength to deal with the pressure of being in his third Australian Open final.

The volatile Russian admitted after his career-defining semi-final victory over world No.1 Roger Federer that he simply hadn't been ready in mind and body during his two previous visits to the final Sunday at Melbourne Park.

In 2002 on his 22nd birthday Safin was beaten in four sets by Swede Thomas Johansson while in last year's Open final he was savaged in straight sets by Federer.

"They were a little bit different finals," he said. "After I made the first final I just was really nervous because I didn't have so much experience.

"It was like I didn't expect being in a final, especially against Johansson. Supposedly I was the favourite to win and I couldn't deal with the pressure.

"Last year I just ran out of gas and I couldn't believe that I was going to win it. But now it's a little bit different story."

Safin pointed at his ability to defeat Federer despite blowing six match points as evidence of his new mental strength.

"It's tough to come back after so many untaken opportunities that you really start to believe that your chances are gone," he added.

"I proved to myself that even though I couldn't take my chances, there is still another chance if you keep on going."

The No.4 seed described the five-set epic against Federer as "one of the toughest matches I ever had in my life" and more overwhelming that last year's memorable semi-final victory over Andre Agassi.

"It is a little bit of different because last year I was coming from a long time being injured and for me to win it was a surprise, especially beating Agassi in five sets," Safin said.

"But here I was playing against the No.1 in the world who only six matches last year. I think this one is more valuable for me."

Safin said he was definitely advantaged by having an extra day off for tomorrow's final compared to his opponent.

"It's actually a big advantage," he said.

"I need time to recover, to be able to be fit again and be fresh for the final. Otherwise if I have only one day, it's a little bit difficult to recover.

"Hopefully I'll have enough energy to be in good shape in the final and to be able to fight because even though I beat the No.1 in the world it doesn't mean that I'm the favourite in the final."

Herald Sun

sol
01-29-2005, 12:41 AM
Bollettieri :mad: :fiery: :smash: :rolleyes:

Home boy's mental edge will prevail where Federer failed

Marat Safin, who beat the world No 1 in an epic semi-final, will succumb to the Australian favourite in tomorrow's men's singles' final, writes Nick Bollettieri
29 January 2005


I believe Marat Safin edged past Roger Federer in their epic semi-final match because Roger was psychologically unsettled, but I also think Safin could lose to Lleyton Hewitt in tomorrow's final for similar reasons.

First, let's put Federer's defeat in context. It doesn't change his status as the world's best. He's still has all the tools to be the best ever. But no man can win every single time he plays. Nobody. As Greg Norman said a few years back, when asked to explain why he'd made a blooper at the Masters: "We're all human beings and we're all subject to human error."

Amen to that, and the world of sport would be a duller place if it wasn't so.

So why did Federer go down, albeit in an incredible, battle where it took a whole bunch of unconverted match points before he was finally broken? For my money, the decisive factor was captured in one glance that Roger shot up at the coach's box during the match. It was a glance at Safin's coach, Peter Lundgren. And who used to be Federer's coach? Lundgren.

In a tight, physical, skilful, wilful match, the margin of victory and loss always had the potential to be paper thin. And for me, somewhere in Federer's head was the notion: "Look, there's Peter, he helped make me the player I am. Now he's with the other guy, and he's making him a helluva player too."

In many years on the front line in this game, I've seen and experienced the power of the mind in sport. The psychology involved in facing an opponent who's now using your old coach is powerful. I remember after I split with Andre Agassi, I was working with Boris Becker and they met in competition. Andre shot me a glance like Roger shot at Lundgren. And then he beat the crap out of Becker. He wanted it so badly to show me.

Roger is motivated in different ways. On this occasion, I think he was unsettled, rather than riled.

How will Federer respond to defeat? I believe positively. I still think he'll win 95 per cent of the time. But everyone's gunning for him.

Everyone is being forced to raise their standards. And for tennis, that can only be a good thing. The result is matches like the semi-final: great spectacles, great rivalries.

So to Hewitt, who beat Andy Roddick yesterday to reach a Slam final on home turf. Roddick and Safin are both big servers, but just because Hewitt handled Roddick doesn't mean he'll handle Safin.

Roddick was undermined by his forehand, which went down the tubes.

However, Hewitt might well have that mental edge because he's using the circumstances at his disposal to full effect to get inside his opponents' heads. It goes without saying that he's playing well, looks fit and looks hungry. But he's also orchestrating the crowd behind him. He's cheering at opponent's mistakes, which isn't ethical but it messes with the other guy's head. The crowd - especially his core of yellow-shirted, cheerleader buddies - are responding supportively.

Every pump of his fist is another signal for more noise. The word in Melbourne is he's actually paying for those guys to be there. But heck, what's the price of a few seats for his mates when they're helping him so much?

This edge could be the key to beating Safin, a normally fragile mental character who opponents have relied on to break upstairs at some stage. He's matured, and not broken down in this tournament, yet.

Wednesday Addams
01-29-2005, 12:56 AM
At Bollettieri: Oh, shush, you twit! :rolleyes:

Fact: Federer fired Lundgren. So if there's someone who shouldn't have any unsettling feelings about playing in front of him, it's Roger.
Bollettieri makes Roger sound pretty fragile, mentally speaking, for a player who's had a 26 matches winning streak...... :rolleyes: Esp since Roger was the one who decided he's better off without Peter. He played a whole year without the slightest sign of regret (including a YEC semi-final against Marat, in front of Lundgren, which he won) and now, all of a sudden, he's collapsing mentally at the mere sight of him? Please! :rolleyes:


Sol>> Thanx for all the articles, huni!!! :kiss:
I haven't had a chance to rep U yet.... I still have a ban on repping..... Sorry... :sad: :o

Damita
01-29-2005, 02:04 AM
:cuckoo: Bollettieri, pffffff

i agree with you Dora! 100%!

thelma
01-29-2005, 04:13 AM
http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2005/1/29/sports/10031133&sec=sports

Marat’s secret to victory – having Federer’s former coach on his side

Australian Open
MARAT Safin hit countless brilliant shots on his way to becoming the man who finally stopped Roger Federer in their epic Australian Open semi-final.

But his masterstroke was probably played in April last year on the day he signed up Peter Lundgren, Federer's ex-coach, as the man to get his sometimes wayward career back on track.

Safin has been a larger-than-life figure on the men's tour for the past seven years but the man Pete Sampras once described as the future of tennis has not always lived up to expectations.

Safin briefly topped the world rankings after he won the 2000 US Open but Grand Slam success has since eluded him.

Swede Lundgren coached Federer to his Grand Slam breakthrough at Wimbledon in 2003 but they split later the same year.

Safin saw his chance and by September last year he had snapped a 22-month title drought by winning the China Open.

The big pay-off was still to come as Lundgren helped plot Safin's 5-7, 6-4, 5-7, 7-6, 9-7 win over Federer in a match hailed as probably the best ever played at Melbourne Park.

“If you really want to compete, to be able to be close to him... you really have to see how to improve the game,” Safin said of Federer after his four-and-a-half hour win.

“Because normally he toys with everybody. With all respect to other players, he does whatever he wants on the court against them. So that's why... the job of the coach is to improve and to try to be as close as you can to Roger,” he said.

“He put tennis, the bar very high. Very high. It's incredible what kind of game he can play,” said Safin.

But the wily Muscovite was giving few specifics away about how they engineered Federer's downfall.

“That's the question that everybody wants to hear the answer. But I'm not going to tell,” Safin said with a smile after avenging his defeat by Federer in last year's final.

“I mean, I keep it for me. But I'm sure the players... basically they know and they saw it in the match,” he said.

One of the most obvious changes under Lundgren has been the new, relaxed Safin. There are still signs of the tempestuous Russian of the past but he is generally calmer.

Before Safin's triumph, the Swiss master was unbeaten in his previous 26 matches stretching back to the Athens Olympics and was unbeaten in his past 24 matches against top 10 players.

Federer captured three of the four Grand Slam titles last year and was bidding to become the first man since Sampras in 1993/1994 to win three consecutive grand slam events.

He has been so dominant that the talk had not been about whether he would successfully defend his Australian title but whether he would become the first man to complete the calendar Grand Slam since Rod Laver in 1969.

Federer, who recently turned to Australian great Tony Roche for guidance in his unceasing quest for excellence, tried to put the loss in perspective but could barely hide his disappointment.

“I live my whole life with pressure, so this is nothing different,” Federer said. “He's one of the best players in the world. But I didn't feel extra pressure,” the top seed said. – Reuters

sol
01-29-2005, 05:03 PM
http://www.theage.com.au/news/Tennis/Tsars-of-the-show/2005/01/30/1106850167612.html

Tsars of the show

By Bud Collins

January 30, 2005 - 1:03AM

Did the Bolsheviks shoot Tsar Nicholas II in 1918 because he was a tennis player? Might Tolstoy's tragic heroine, Anna Karenina, have jumped in front of that train because her double fault cost her and her lover, Count Vronsky, a mixed doubles match? Is it possible that Anna Dmitrieva's appearance at Wimbledon in 1958 gave a lovely, human face to the other side in the Cold War?

These are questions I ponder as the "Headless Horseman" - Marat Safin - rides into tonight's final at formerly Flinders against "C'mon" Hewitt, intent on being the first Russian product (other than vodka) to give Australia a buzz at a championship level. (All right, so Yevgeny Kafelnikov won the title in 1999, a weak year. But he was a sourpuss, while Safin bubbles and froths, has a good smile for everyone, reduces racquets to fragmentary souvenirs without being mean-spirited, and brilliantly showed that it's somewhat early to anoint the "Basel Dazzle", Roger Federer, as the greatest artist with a racquet since the great 17th century Italian painter Caravaggio actually killed a tennis opponent. Not a code of conduct violation then.)

This was supposed to be an Open belonging to the Chekhov Chickies: the three sisterly Sharapova, Myskina and Kuznetsova, each bearing a major title - plus numerous other compatriots crowding the last 16. However, Sharapova, the Siberian Siren, was short-circuited by Serena. Myskina went mysking, courtesy Nathalie Dechy, and Koozy turned up woozy opposite Sharapova.

That leaves us with Safin, whom the scribbler, Leo Tolstoy, would have loved. Tolstoy, an acknowledged but proud hacker who also wrote books, was one of Russia's earliest players. The remains of his 1890s court are yet visible at his country estate in Yasnaya Poliana.

Safin gallantly says that the sheilas are the stars of the Russian Renaissance because they work at it harder than his colleagues. Whatever, he's the last standing citizen, and maybe Comrade Lenin (once a tennis player himself) is topspinning joyously within his Red Square tomb.

Safin would remind Tolstoy of one of his leading characters, Pierre, in War and Peace, a bumbler, but brave and unassuming, carrying the Russian flag in battle. Safin's career has been a lot of war and some peace, but he has done all right as a bearer of the red-white-and-blue banner, helping his side to the Davis Cup in 2002.

He has been here before: careless, with more concern for his blonde, bosomy buddies than the 2002 final against Tom Johansson, and knackered after his astounding run to a final lost to Federer a year ago.

http://www.theage.com.au/ffximage/2005/01/30/wbsafinheadback_narrowweb__200x270.jpg

But maybe ultra-gifted Marat is no longer the bumbler. I may, hopefully, have to retire the sobriquet Headless Horseman, the dauntless rider having as much sense of direction as a galah. Marat has reminded me of St Denis, the third century Parisian martyr, who, though decapitated, wandered around carrying his head. Better to use a trolley because heads are very heavy. Marat's was heavier than most, with all sorts of contradictory advice and notions zapping through the neural mush.

"He is growing up", says Dmitrieva approvingly. Hers is the cultivated historic voice in the TV commentary box, wafting the news of her fellow Muscovite to Russia.

Alongside her is Alex Metreveli, a Georgian, who, in his day, played very well at this Open. Almost a half-century ago, in the bad old days of the Evil Empire, Dmitrieva and Andrei Potanen were the first Soviet players permitted beyond the Iron Curtain, arriving in London where she become runner-up in the 1958 Wimbledon junior championship.

"When we landed at the airport, we were greeted like exotics, even movie stars," she recalls with a smile, as though they had descended from the Southern Cross. "So many reporters and photographers."

Metreveli, the best from that territory before Kafelnikov and Safin, a three-time quarter-finalist here, feels, conditionally, that Marat is pulling his brain together nicely. "Losing those six match points against Federer would have driven him racquet-smashing mad before, but he stayed calm. Of course, that could change any time."

There was even a match point hanging over Marat in the tie-breaker of his illustrious 5-7, 6-4, 5-7, 7-6 (8-6), 9-7 triumph. Though not in the Caravaggio league, Federer tried to kill Marat then and there (in a tennis sense). But Roger, curiously, did it with one of those silly fatherhood-threatening wicket shots - a between-the-legs swat on retrieving a lob. That netted failure was a poor choice when he had the time to either lob or smack a straightforward forehand pass.

Safin must have felt as reprieved as Rasputin, the evil Russian monk in the court of the last Tsar, Nicholas II, who resisted a series of assassination attempts. Unfortunately for him and the royal family, they were all bumped off, and nobody is sure when First Hacker, Nicholas, struck his last ball.

American Elizabeth (Bunny) Ryan, a champion who held the Wimbledon record of 19 overall titles until Billie Jean King, then Martina Navratilova, hit 20, recalled playing in the last championships of Imperial Russia in 1917.

"We were royally treated. The Tsar loved tennis, and we played mixed with him. The ballboys were uniformed footmen who handed you the balls on silver platters. Luckily, I got the last train out before the Bolsheviks took over."

Tennis, considered an elitist sport, staggered along. Dmitrieva's journey to Wimbledon was a breakthrough that some attribute to the enlightenment of Nikita Khrushchev, who followed Stalin as the Soviet boss.

Dmitrieva says: "The story goes that he was in London as a visiting Communist Party official, and somebody asked him why no Soviet players appeared at Wimbledon. 'What's Wimbledon?' he said, embarrassed when he found out. So Potanen and I were on our way."

First to make their names were Metreveli, Wimbledon finalist to Jan Kodes in l973 and Olga "the Volga Volleyer" Morozova, finalist to Chris Evert in 1974 and now coaching world No. 6 Elena Dementieva.

"But people really got interested in 1988 when tennis became an Olympic sport," says Metreveli. Of course, Anna is delighted by the success of her descendants. "These girls want everything - money, travel, fame - and they work hard for it."

"Their parents maybe want it more," interjects Metreveli. "The game has gotten very expensive in Russia, maybe as much as $100 an hour for indoor court time. That's why many of them send their kids to Spain - Safin and Kuznetsova - and Florida for coaching. Sunshine all the time, and less expensive. And some of the tennis academies give scholarships, like Nick Bollettieri's (Bradenton, Florida) did to Sharapova."

A very helpful push for the game also was given by the tsar's successor as First Hacker, former president Boris Yeltsin. Presumably training on vodka nutrients, Yeltsin delights in playing and acting as a high-level groupie, attending Russian Davis and Fed Cup matches. Tolstoy would be pleased. Perhaps ex-peasant Khrushchev, too, although he likely thought a tennis court a waste of land, more useful as a potato field.

As an inspirational force, we shouldn't overlook the recent notable, Natasha Zvereva of Belarus, who won all the majors in doubles alongside Gigi Fernandez. She made her aggrieved point after losing the nationally televised Hilton Head, South Carolina, final in 1989 to Steffi Graf. During the trophy presentation, she was handed the usual empty envelope, supposedly containing the cheque.

"There's no money there. I want my money!" she shrieked over the air waves. She knew there wouldn't be any cash because it went directly to the Soviet federation, which doled out modest sums to its players.

Natasha started a financial revolution, joined by Andrei Chesnokov, that earned them big knocks at home, but finally paid off as the federation gave in. Her war cry has guided those who followed - this generation - to such as the million-dollar score Kuznetsova made at the 2004 US Open. Her demand is the standard for the Kremlin Kids: "I want my money!"

It's there, in bundles. Regardless of how Safin comes on against "C'mon!" this evening, he will be able to employ tsarist-style footmen to carry his loot, thus avoiding the risk of hernia.

**********************************
http://www.theage.com.au/news/Tennis/Safin-to-face-Hewitt-interrogation/2005/01/29/1106850158754.html

Safin to face Hewitt interrogation

By Richard Hinds
January 30, 2005

http://www.theage.com.au/ffximage/2005/01/30/wbhewittsafin_narrowweb__200x270.jpg

Lleyton Hewitt will not merely try to beat Marat Safin tonight. As he has done throughout his gruelling run to the final, he will try to put his opponent through a probing, perhaps even torturous, physical and psychological examination. He will not merely try to break Safin's serve, he will try to break him down.

And so, in the course of the night, we will find out if the Russian has the patience to keep pounding the ball deep, even when he seems to be hitting it against a brick wall. We will learn if Safin's once-fragile temperament can withstand the inevitable exasperation that Hewitt's relentless game can provoke. We will discover if he is mentally strong enough to cope with Hewitt's strangled exaltations and the chanting of a hostile crowd.

To the 16,000 fans who turn up hoping to see the first Australian win the men's championship here since Mark Edmondson in 1976, Hewitt is the local hero. But to those who have had the unfortunate experience of standing on the opposite side of the net in the past 14 days, he must at times seem like a dark force.

Not that Safin sees it that way. Not yet. There is no bad blood between the pair. And, unlike some, Safin says he is not concerned by Hewitt's screams.

"Between me and him, we have a great relationship," says Safin. "It is not going to change the match. I will not get pissed (off) at all if he screams and shouts and tries to be positive and tries to put a little pressure on me with 'Come on' and everything. We respect each other."

But Safin's words were uttered before he had been subjected to Hewitt's interrogative play.

Much has been made of Hewitt's courage this tournament, and his ability to haul a wounded body through five-set epics. But, particularly in his semi-final against Andy Roddick, it has been as much what Hewitt does to an opponent as how he plays himself that has been chillingly apparent.

Safin will not lack respect for his much smaller counterpart. "He's a huge fighter, he has unbelievable anticipation, he has unbelievable fitness," he says. "He knows the game very well. He reads really good the players. Psychologically, he's very stable. So he has more talents than many other players."

Since Hewitt received treatment for a hip injury during his fourth-round victory over Rafael Nadal, his fitness has been the source of intense speculation. His camp yesterday issued the predictable "She'll be right" statements and, while he hobbled again at times on Friday night, you can only assume that Hewitt's steely mind again will compensate for any weakness in his body.

Although Hewitt and Safin are locked at 5-5 in their career battles, in the back of the Russian's mind is the memory of two abject defeats in Australian Open finals - to Thomas Johansson (2002) and Roger Federer (2004).

"He loses it a bit out there," said Hewitt of Safin. "But he's a guy, like myself, we can switch it on and off very quickly. You can get your mind back on the job and I don't think he loses concentration because of that. That's part of Marat, that's why people like watching him play."

Safin says he lacked self-belief in the first of those finals and did not have a full-time coach to calm his nerves. In last year's final, he says he was simply overwhelmed by a superb opponent.

This year, he reversed his defeat by Federer in a superb semi-final.

The presence of coach Peter Lundgren means this time he will have the comfort and tactical advice he needs. The presence of his girlfriend, Sacha, also means that some other distractions may also be held at bay.

But, regardless of his preparation, still there will be Hewitt. Nagging. Probing. Exploiting weakness. "There's a lot of nerves involved," admits Safin. And, to withstand such an interrogation, a lot of nerve will be required.

PennyThePenguin
01-30-2005, 01:29 AM
thanks sol!!! interesting articles there...

Kiara
01-30-2005, 05:07 PM
Does anyone know where Marat's playing next?

Shadow
01-30-2005, 05:21 PM
Safin's Second Slam Satisfaction


When Marat Safin won the 2000 US Open, he felt like it was a victory he didn't fully deserve because it came too easily, but with his second Grand Slam triumph at the Australian Open - after the disappointment of two Melbourne Park final losses - he now feels like he belongs.

Safin freely admitted after his win over local hope Lleyton Hewitt in the men's singles decider that his first major title did not convince him he was good enough to beat the best, and that the 2002 and 2004 Australian Open defeats only added to his self doubt.

But while his overwhelming feeling after claiming the Norman Brookes Challenge Cup for the first time was one of relief, Safin was just as quick to point out that his coach Peter Lundgren had helped convince him he can match it with the best in the tennis world.

"I have to forget about the final in 2000 because everything came so easy and it came in the most unexpected way," he said. "Then I lost two finals here, the first one I should have won but at least in the second one I should have had a bit more chance than that."

"You start to have doubts with yourself, whether you could do this or not, because it's the third time in the final here, you're playing against Hewitt, you beat Roger Federer. Basically you have a huge chance to beat him."

"Then I just get so nervous, get so uptight because it's the last match. You have to give your best and I don't want to lose it because then it's like nobody cares about the finalist basically. So for me that win was just a kind of a relief," Safin explained.

Lundgren was in Federer's corner when he won the Wimbledon title in 2003, but was dumped by the world No.1 at the end of that year, and several months later joined forces with Safin.

"Just really to believe in yourself," Safin said when asked what Lundgren has brought to his game. "I never believe in myself before at all, until I start to work with him. We worked really hard, we communicate really well."

"He understands who I am and I understand what he wants from me. He makes me believe that I can be a good player and I don't have so much doubts about myself, about my tennis."

Having dropped the first set in just 23 minutes, Safin added that he had noticed a shift in momentum as early as the second set.

"It was getting better after the first set actually. Even though I was 4-1 down it was a little bit easier because I was waiting for opportunities," he said. "After the first set I couldn't believe that I could play so badly, I was no nervous that I couldn't do anything."

"All of a sudden it all turned around, in a way that I couldn't expect actually. All of a sudden he made a couple of mistakes, I was a little bit lucky, and then I gained the confidence again and I was back in the game."

"Once I got back the break I could go for it a little more and I could risk it a little bit more than before."

With that second Grand Slam title safely in his keeping, Safin didn't make any bold predictions for the future, but he would obviously enjoy to increase his collection even further.

"Two Grand Slams, it's already something," he said. "One Grand Slam, you can win by mistake, like I did in 2000. It was a mistake actually. But this one, I worked really hard for that."

"It was a relief, so basically I would love to, yeah I would love to win a couple more. I think I have a chance if I am continuing this way. If Peter, he will stick around with me and he will want to work with me for a bit longer, I think I can make it."

With his share of media commitments to fulfil until well past midnight, Safin did not have any major celebrations planned before returning home to Moscow on Monday, but will do so a much more satisfied and content player than when he arrived a month ago.

Vass
01-30-2005, 05:53 PM
Does anyone know where Marat's playing next?
I saw no indication that Marat is playing anywhere earlier than Dubai. He'll have a good rest...

It's a wise thing to do I think. He'll play many weeks in a row starting from Dubai. People will get close to him in the rankings of course, but who cares. If he does well in the tourneys he plays I guess he'll be fine.

Kiara
01-30-2005, 05:59 PM
Damn I was hoping he would ask for a wc to Rotterdam but thats ok he has very little to defend in Marseille anyway, dubai will be good for him he wont be drawn against roger in the first round again :yeah:.

I hope he doesnt go through his usual post AO funk :(

sol
01-31-2005, 01:08 AM
:yeah:

Open-Victorious Safin erases years of self-doubt
2005-01-30 14:32:24 GMT (Reuters)

http://www.gotennis.com/news/headline.aspx?headlineID=5793

By Simon Cambers

MELBOURNE, Jan 30 (Reuters) - Marat Safin breathed a huge sigh of relief after beating Lleyton Hewitt to win the Australian Open on Sunday and erase years of self-doubt that he might never win another grand slam title.

The 25-year-old, who won the U.S. Open in 2000, lost in the final at Melbourne Park in 2002 and 2004 but made it third time lucky as he rallied to beat Hewitt 1-6 6-3 6-4 6-4.

His muted celebration at the end said it all.

"Today it was a relief for me," he said. "Two grand slams, it's already something. One grand slam you can win by mistake, like I did in 2000.

"This one, I worked really hard for that. It was more a working grand slam. It was a relief."

Crippled by nerves and memories of his two previous final defeats, Safin was a shadow of the player who had beat world number one Roger Federer in the semi-finals as he lost the first set in just 23 minutes.

As the match wore on, however, he found his game, taking the second set and recovering from 4-1 down in the third to seal his second grand slam title and leave Australia still looking for a first men's champion since 1976.

"When you lose the first set 6-1, you start to think, 'this is not my day. The way I'm playing is ridiculous,'" he said.

"It starts to eat you up inside. But then you start to be a little more selfish and try to find a way out of there. And I found it. I was much happier (to win) than in 2000, that's for sure."

Those who saw Safin demolish Pete Sampras in the U.S. Open final in 2000 would not have believed it would take Safin more than four years to win another grand slam title.


OWN ABILITY

But despite an abundance of talent, the Russian struggled to believe in his own ability.

"It's a little bit difficult because once you have bad losses, people start to speak and you listen," he said.

"The rumours, once they get into your head, it's difficult to accept and you really start to believe that maybe it's who I am - I have a talent, I'm a good player, but not good enough to be where I want to be."

His defeat to Thomas Johansson in the 2002 Australian Open final left him feeling that he would never experience another grand slam triumph.

"I couldn't believe -- I didn't believe," he said. "I agreed that I'm good enough as what I am, but definitely not good enough to win grand slams."

Teaming up with Peter Lundgren, who coached former world number one Marcelo Rios and the current occupier, Federer, was the key to his rehabilitation, Safin said.

"He makes me believe that I can be a good player and I don't have so much doubt about myself," Safin said.

"He understood who I am and I understood what he wants from me. It took us four or five months before the results came. But then once they came, they have continued to come."

Safin said he was getting a taste for grand slam titles.

"It's a huge win. For your ego, for your career, for your portfolio, to win the Australian Open.

"I would love to win a couple more. I think I have a chance if I continue this way. If I have the opportunity to become number one, I would love to achieve it. But I want concentrate a little bit more on the grand slams."

sol
01-31-2005, 01:22 AM
:angel:

MARAT CONQUERS HIS NERVES

http://cache-1.sportinglife.com/pictures/general/allsportsafinoz05finalfist.jpg
Safin - endured a miserable first set (Getty Images).

http://www.sportinglife.com/tennis/news/story_get.dor?STORY_NAME=tennis/05/01/30/manual_123904.html

Marat Safin said mental strength had earned him the Australian Open title at his third attempt.

The Russian had lost in both the 2002 and 2004 finals but he proved too good against home hoope Lleyton Hewitt this time around, fighting back from a set down to win 1-6 6-3 6-4 6-4.

Safin admitted nerves had got the better of him during a miserable first set but said he was pleased with the way he reacted.

"You need to believe it is yours because I was really far away again today and I was getting depressed, but now it's here and it's really difficult to believe it," he said.

"The first set was not really tennis, you can't call it tennis. He was not as nervous as I was because I was still thinking about the two finals I played so I couldn't do anything special, so I was trying to keep everything together.

"Normally you are never so nervous but when it comes to the final you are so close to winning the tournament. In the second set I got together and found a little bit of a game and then it was a little easier."

Safin admitted his second Grand Slam title had come as a major relief, more than four years after his stunning demolition of Pete Sampras in the US Open final.

"The US Open in 2000 just came up, I didn't expect that," he added. "It was against Sampras, nobody really cared. I wasn't the favourite so I had no pressure whatsoever. Even if I would lose in three sets they would say, 'Great tournament, well done.'

"But now I am 25. I'm playing against Hewitt. I mean at least you have to have the opportunity to win it, at least have a chance. You go and you lose first set 6-1 then you start to think, 'This is not my day. The way I'm playing is ridiculous. People came here to see that?'

"You start to really eat yourself. But then you start to be a little bit more selfish and try to find a way out of there. And I found it."

Safin also paid tribute to coach Peter Lundgren, formerly the coach to Federer.

"I really respect him, we get along great," added Safin. "It's a relationship between student and teacher, he can teach me so much and I can teach him some other things, but not maybe in tennis!"

Hewitt had never previously been past the fourth round here but began his preparations for the tournament after Wimbledon last year.

"I'm sure in a couple of days I will think it's a great achievement and have no regrets but right at the moment I'm human and I'm disappointed," he said.

"To come that close and train so hard and put yourself in position, it's hard to take at the moment but my game is definitely better than 18 months ago.

"I didn't lose the match, he had to win it. I got out of the blocks and played well but he hadn't hit his stride.

"He's an awesome player and at no stage did I think it was going to carry on like that. I didn't feel I played that badly out there, he was just too good.

"Some of his hitting from the back of the court at the end of the third set and all of the fourth set was pretty incredible."

**********

SAFIN CRUSHES HEWITT DREAM
By Andy Schooler

http://www.sportinglife.com/tennis/news/story_get.dor?STORY_NAME=tennis/05/01/30/manual_085234.html

http://cache-1.sportinglife.com/pictures/general/allsportsafinoz05trophy.jpg
Safin - third time lucky (Getty Images).

Marat Safin staged a terrific fightback to win the Australian Open title and end Lleyton Hewitt's dream of a home victory.

Hewitt looked in control after taking the first set and also when he led by a break of serve in the third, but the Russian refused to give in and turned things around to record a 1-6 6-3 6-4 6-4 victory.

Hewitt, looking to beocme the first Australian winner of the men's singles since 1976, made a flying start to the match, scampering along the baseline to dominate a nervous-looking Safin in their rallies.

He stormed through the first set in 23 minutes but Safin steeled himself and began to cut out the unforced errors which had plagued him early on.

Safin, twice a runner-up in this event, produced a string of winners in the fourth game of the second set to earn his first break of serve in the match.


After being outplayed for a set and a bit, Safin - who beat world number one Roger Federer in the semi-finals - was now the more consistent player off the ground and also looked good whenever he ventured to the net.

His famous booming serve was also improving with every game and he served out the set to deservedly level the match.


The pendulum appeared to have swung back in the pre-match favourite's favour but it turned Hewitt's way again when the third seed secured an early break in the second game of the third set - arguably the best of the match.


Both men battled away in the long rallies but Hewitt, angered by an overrule from the umpire at one stage, came up with some superb shots to gain the first break of the set.

That proved too much for Safin whose fiery temper showed itself for the first time and he slammed his racket into the ground. The Russian repeated his actions to earn a code violation from the umpire when Hewitt held for 3-0 to assume control.

A tired-looking Safin then called for the trainer for work on his thighs.

It was to prove a turning point.

Admirably Safin managed to refocus and with Hewitt serving at 4-2, a series of winners allowed Safin to break back.

That sparked a major turnaround as Safin reeled off seven games in a row to take the third set and gain an early break in the fourth.

Hewitt was left with a mountain to climb and, for once, the renowned fighter was not up to the task.

Safin's first serve was now finding its target more than 70 per cent of the time - as opposed to less than 50 in the first two sets - and Hewitt was unable to make inroads on it.

Safin kept his composure and clinched the title - his first at Grand Slam level since the 2000 US Open - when Hewitt sent a forehand wide.

fangirl
01-31-2005, 01:30 AM
From the Sydney Morning Herald (http://www.smh.com.au/news/Tennis/Safin-a-spoilsport-but-a-good-sport/2005/01/31/1107020267602.html)

Safin a spoilsport but a good sport
By Emma Quayle
January 31, 2005 - 12:23AM

http://www.smh.com.au/ffximage/2005/01/31/TENnetchat_wideweb__430x290.jpg

Marat Safin has charm, and he knows how to use it. Never one to snub a blonde, the Russian smiled invitingly at Olivia Newton-John after the singer tossed the coin at the start of last night's final and insisted that she stand between he and Lleyton Hewitt and pose for a pre-match photograph.

Having watched a Hewitt forehand fly wide and raised his hands in almost subdued celebration of his second grand slam title, Safin then used the first part of his thank-you speech to praise his opponent's support crew, before thinking to speak of his own.

Striding onto centre court almost three hours earlier, Safin's head had been filled with two simple, if entirely opposite, strategies. To beat the local hope, he needed to be patient; equally, when opportunity arrived, he had to play with risk.

That happened. There was a confidence and calm in Safin's banishing of his Australian Open demons, like he really did know that this was how it would happen for him. He started slowly, he got a little bit better, he got lots better, and then he got to hold up a big trophy.

But this win was not as simple as it might have been. Runner-up in Melbourne twice before, and with those losses running like repeats through his mind, Safin made a tired and nervous, almost shy start.

From the first ball, he was sluggish, almost a half-second behind Hewitt, as if playing on delay. "I thought the first set wasn't really tennis," Safin said later, and he was right. Often, the ball reached his racquet before he had seemed to see it coming, and he could not even run or hit himself into rhythm.

Rallies ran, but the longer they went, the more inevitable it was that Safin would smack a forehand long, or roll a half-paced backhand into the bottom half of the net. The first three games were gone in nine minutes, although Safin found time to make at least five big mistakes; the opening set lasted only 14 more minutes and was lost 6-1.

This was not something the Hewitt camp seemed keen to celebrate, though, and with reason, because while things started to turn for Safin almost before he seemed ready for it, the swing gained quick speed once he saw it, and he had climbed aboard.

It was as if Safin started to make moments his, rather than wait for the match to happen. Having raced to a 40-0 lead at the start of the second set, he looked grateful that life was finally letting him breathe easy. Then Hewitt made him scramble some more. Then he pushed another easy shot wide.

Back at deuce, Safin's match might have been lost here. Instead, he found a way out, broke Hewitt in the next game and, before he had completely found range or got his legs moving like they should, served the set out and levelled things.

Safin next let Hewitt get away to a three-game lead at the start of the third set, but it was when he was trailing that the Russian began to play like a leader, to take the risks he had promised to and to guide points rather than just tag along.

The first serves fell in, more regularly and much faster. Safin's eyes opened wider, and his legs woke up with them. The forehands began to fall in, the backhands tore over the net instead of into it, and having come back to standard size, Safin's court shrunk even smaller, and turned into his toy.

This time, Safin had worked it out. Mind you, half an hour after the match he still felt he would somehow lose it. "It is really difficult to believe this," Safin said.

sol
01-31-2005, 01:37 AM
...

Safin dashes Australian dream

EVE FODENS
IN MELBOURNE

http://sport.scotsman.com/tennis.cfm?id=116682005

http://images.scotsman.com/2005/01/31/3101safinb.jpg
A ‘relieved’ Marat Safin lifts the Australian Open trophy in Melbourne.
Picture: Clive Brunskill/ Getty Images

IT WAS the first ever evening final, and the centenary year of the championships. It had been 29 years since a home player had lifted the men’s singles title and the first time since 1988 that a player from Down Under had reached the final. So, the stage was set at the Rod Laver Arena yesterday for a fairytale ending to the Australian Open.

Nobody told Marat Safin, however, and the Russian waltzed into Melbourne Park and put the lights out on Australia’s dream, coming from a set down to defeat Lleyton Hewitt 1-6, 6-3, 6-4, 6-4 in two hours 45 minutes and win the first grand slam of the season.

All seemed to be going to plan when Hewitt needed only 23 minutes to race through the first set and, after Safin had taken the second, led 4-1 in the third. But Safin, beaten finalist in 2002 and 2004, produced some superb tennis to win the next seven games in a row, and then never looked back.

Safin’s celebration was unusually muted: there was no jumping for joy, he simply breathed a sigh of relief and raised his hand to the crowd. The 25-year-old had not won a grand slam event since he lifted the US Open title in 2000, and yesterday’s triumph was about erasing years of self-doubt.

"Today it was a relief for me," said Safin. "Two grand slams, it’s already something. One grand slam you can win by mistake, like I did in 2000. This one, I worked really hard for that. It was more a working grand slam. It was a relief."

Roared on by a 16,000 capacity crowd, Hewitt crucially saved two break points in the opening game of the third set, and promptly broke Safin’s serve on his third opportunity in the next to race into a 3-0 lead.

That prompted the first Safin racket to be slammed into the court for the third and final time, the Russian also calling for the trainer at the change of ends. Safin had earlier been slapping his thighs as if to get the blood flowing and had cream rubbed into them by the trainer.

It certainly appeared to do the trick as he broke back four games later in a controversial game. Hewitt saved a break point with a stunning forehand but then gesticulated furiously towards a line judge who had called a foot fault against him.

That earned the fiery Australian a code violation for unsportsmanlike conduct from the umpire, and he was dangerously close to a point penalty when he stared at the same line judge a few points later.

The momentum was firmly with Safin now, and after holding to level at 4-4, he broke Hewitt again when the 23-year-old from Adelaide served a double fault attempting to save a second break point. From 4-1 down Safin had taken five games in a row to win the set and take a two sets to one lead. It was Hewitt’s turn for the thigh massage at the end of the third set, but Safin came out firing at the start of the fourth.

A brilliant backhand winner to end a 30-shot rally saw him break Hewitt’s serve for the third time in succession, and he consolidated for a 2-0 lead and seventh game in succession.

Hewitt, who fought back from two sets to one down to Rafael Nadal and beat David Nalbandian 10-8 in the fifth set earlier in the championships, was always going to fight for every point and saved another break point to avoid going 4-1 behind. But he was simply not getting a look-in on Safin’s serve, aces 16 and 17 putting him 4-2 ahead and another service hold took him to the brink of victory.

Hewitt was no doubt remembering Safin had needed seven match points to beat world No1 and defending champion Roger Federer in their epic semi-final, but this time he needed only one, a service winner enough to secure victory.

"You need to believe it is yours because I was really far away again today and I was getting depressed but now it’s here and it’s really difficult to believe it," said Safin. "It’s a huge win. For your ego, for your career, for your portfolio, to win the Australian Open.

"The first set was not really tennis, you can’t call it tennis. He was not as nervous as I was because I was still thinking about the two finals I played so I couldn’t do anything special, so I was trying to keep everything together. Normally you are never so nervous but when it comes to the final you are so close to winning the tournament. In the second set I got together and found a little bit of a game and then it was a little easier."

Hewitt had never been past the fourth round here before but began preparing for the tournament after Wimbledon last year and became the first Australian finalist since Pat Cash in 1988. "I’m sure in a couple of days I will think it’s a great achievement and have no regrets but right at the moment I’m human and I’m disappointed," he said.

"To come that close and train so hard and put yourself in position, it’s hard to take at the moment but my game is definitely better than 18 months ago. I didn’t lose the match, he had to win it. I got out of the blocks and played well but he hadn’t hit his stride.

"He’s an awesome player and at no stage did I think it was going to carry on like that. I didn’t feel I played that badly out there, he was just too good. Some of his hitting from the back of the court at the end of the third set and all of the fourth set was pretty incredible."

sol
01-31-2005, 11:09 AM
Umm...

Safin eyes more grand slam success -- but not Wimbledon
2005-01-31 10:44:29 GMT (Reuters)

By Julian Linden

SYDNEY, Jan 31 (Reuters) - Marat Safin left Australia on Monday with another grand slam trophy in his arms and the tennis world at his feet.

The 25-year-old Russian's victory over Lleyton Hewitt in Melbourne on Sunday night added the Australian Open crown to the U.S. Open title he won in 2000.

Safin made a brief appearance in the Melbourne suburb of St Kilda to show off his new trophy then took a tram ride through the city streets before packing his bags for the long trip back to Europe.

Having seemed destined for greatness when he stunned Pete Sampras to win the U.S. Open, the wait for a second major seemed to last an eternity.

He was beaten in the 2002 and 2004 Australian Open finals and had begun to doubt he would ever win another grand slam until rediscovering his self-belief in Melbourne this past fortnight.

His march to the final included an epic five-set win over the seemingly invincible Roger Federer in the semi-finals and the big Russian says he now believes he can win more grand slam titles.

"Basically, I would love to win a couple more. I think I have a chance if I continue this way," he said.

"If (coach) Peter Lundgren will stick around with me and wants to work with me for a bit longer, I think I can make it."

Despite winning the title, Safin remained in fourth place on the world rankings behind Federer, Hewitt and Andy Roddick. Safin briefly held the top spot in 2000 and while he said he would like to regain it one day it wasn't his top priority.

"Of course, if I have the opportunity to become number one in the world, I would love to achieve it," he said.

"But I already have and I want to concentrate a little bit more on the grand slams."

Safin made the French Open semi-finals in 2002 and fancies his chances on the red clay of Paris more than on the green grass of Wimbledon.

Despite possessing a booming serve and excellent volley, Safin has only made it past the second round once in five attempts and has little hope of ever winning Wimbledon.

"I cannot play on that surface and I feel like I can't waste my time, my energy," he said.

"Some people can't play on clay, some people can't play on hard court. It's psychological, of course, but I just don't feel comfortable on that surface.

"I will play (Wimbledon) but not with many expectations."

sol
01-31-2005, 11:40 AM
Well... no Wimbledon :shrug:

Safin plays down Wimbledon hopes

http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/tennis/4221597.stm

Newly-crowned Australian Open champion Marat Safin has ruled out any chance of winning Wimbledon in the future.

http://newsimg.bbc.co.uk/media/images/40777000/jpg/_40777211_safin270.jpg

After losing in round one last year, Safin said he had "given up" on Wimbledon despite winning his second Grand Slam title at the weekend.

"I'll play, but with no expectations. I feel like I can't waste my time, my energy on that surface," he said.

"Some people, they cannot play on clay. Some people, they cannot play on hard court. Me, I can't play on grass."

However, Safin is hopeful that winning the Australian Open will give him the belief he needs to win more Grand Slam titles.

"It's a relief for me. Two grand slams, it's already something. But with this one I worked really hard for it," he said.

"Basically, I would love to win a couple more. I think I have a chance if I continue this way.

If (coach) Peter Lundgren will stick around with me and wants to work with me for a bit longer, I think I can make it."

The 25-year-old shocked Pete Sampras in the 2000 US Open final to win his first major title but then lost in two Australian Open finals.

Safin admitted he had begun to doubt whether he would win another Grand Slam.

"I didn't expect that (to win the 2000 US Open) - it was against Sampras, I wasn't the favourite so I had no pressure whatsoever," he said.

"After the first final that I didn't win against Thomas Johansson (in 2002), I couldn't see myself winning the Grand Slams anymore.

"I was once in the semi-finals of the French Open, but I didn't believe I can win it.

"I just couldn't handle the pressure. You need to believe in yourself, and I didn't."

And after losing the first set 6-1 to Lleyton Hewitt in Sunday's final, Safin said he began to doubt himself again.

"I am 25. I'm playing against Hewitt. At least you have to have the opportunity to win it, at least have a chance," he said.

"It's like you go there and you lose first set 6-1, then you start to think: 'This is not my day. The way I'm playing is ridiculous.'

"But then you start to really be a little bit more selfish and try to find a way out of there.

"And I found it. I was like really much I was much happier than in 2000, that's for sure, because I get over it."

************

Making Marat believe

http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/tennis/4220759.stm

By Nick Crowther

At 4-1 down in the third set of the Australian Open final, having been warned for smashing a racquet, Marat Safin was in danger of missing out again.

http://newsimg.bbc.co.uk/media/images/40776000/jpg/_40776871_safingetty203.jpg

The Russian, who has built a reputation for being at the mercy of a volatile temperament, had twice been runner-up in Melbourne.

But this year, rather than lose his head, he beat Lleyton Hewitt on his own territory, having ended the 26-match winning run of Roger Federer on his way to the final.

So what made the difference?

One major factor was his decision in April 2004 to link up with Federer's former coach Peter Lundgren.

The Swede had helped the Swiss world number one to his first Grand Slam title at Wimbledon in 2003 but they parted company just weeks after Federer had won the season-ending Masters Cup.

Safin decided to try working with Lundgren, initially for the clay-court and grass seasons, and by September had ended a 22-month title drought with victory in the China Open.

He went on to win the Master Series events in Madrid and Paris and, having slipped to 77th 12 months earlier after an injury-blighted year, ended 2004 ranked fourth in the world.

"He really has made me believe in myself," Safin said. "I never believed in myself before, until I started to work with him.

"It took us a little bit longer time than usual to come up with results. But it went right; it went in the right way."

And it certainly seems to be paying off.

Safin had been outplayed 3-6 6-4 6-4 7-6 (7-4) by Thomas Johansson when he first appeared in an Australian Open final in 2002 and, after a gruelling route to the final in 2004 (he played 27 sets), lost 7-6 6-4 6-2 to Federer.

But he was far more economical (17 sets played) on the way to this year's semi-finals and, helped by Lundgren's knowledge of the reigning champion, claimed a superb five-set victory.

"Normally Roger toys with everybody," Safin explained after his win.

"That's why the job of the coach is to improve you to try and be as close as you can to Roger."

http://newsimg.bbc.co.uk/media/images/40043000/jpg/_40043939_lundgren203.jpg

But, asked how Lundgren had helped him overcome Federer, Safin smiled and said: "I'm not going to tell. I keep it for me."

One of the obvious changes that Lundgren has helped Safin develop, though, is a more relaxed approach, born out of his new-found belief.

"He tries to make me more focused on the court, try not to get too crazy, not to snap," Safin explained back in December after his Paris Masters victory.

"I can still snap but it's less now. He tells me to be more solid and, even if it isn't going well, just to keep going, keep on trying."

As he put it more simply after his latest success: "I am a little bit more calm and more confident in a way."

Mats Wilander, who won the Australian Open three times, was one of Safin's numerous coaches before he teamed up with Lundgren.

"What I found hard (coaching him) is that these guys need to learn the game themselves," Wilander said.

But Lundgren, who never made it past the second round in Melbourne as a player but did win three ATP Tour titles, seems to have the knack.

"We communicate really well. He understands who I am and I understand what he wants from me," Safin revealed.

And the 25-year-old is reaping the rewards, to the point that he feels their partnership could be a major turning point in his career.

"One grand slam, you can win by mistake, like I did in the 2000 US Open, but this one, I've worked really hard for that," he said.

"So I would love to now win a couple more. I think I have a chance if I am continuing this way.

"If Peter will stick around with me and he wants to work with me for a bit longer, I think I can make it."

Shadow
01-31-2005, 01:38 PM
thanks for all the great articles SOL! :worship:

PennyThePenguin
01-31-2005, 01:40 PM
thanks sol darlign!

Shadow
01-31-2005, 02:01 PM
http://home.iprimus.com.au/beethoven2001/marat/articles.htm

some old articles about Marat. very interesting.

PennyThePenguin
01-31-2005, 02:10 PM
ahahaha....wimby.....wimby wimby...always has been. always will be....

now for him to WIN wimby :haha: :haha:

crimson
01-31-2005, 02:10 PM
http://sport.guardian.co.uk/tennis/story/0,10069,1402158,00.html

Safin defeats his demons to slay Hewitt

Stephen Bierley in Melbourne
Monday January 31, 2005

The Guardian

The deep well of self-doubt that Russia's Marat Safin has been staring into since he won his first grand slam title as a carefree 20-year-old at Flushing Meadows in 2000 threatened to consume him again in the Rod Laver Arena. Terrible nerves gripped his mind and froze his body for a set and half against Lleyton Hewitt before he finally broke the psychological shackles to win 1-6, 6-3, 6-4, 6-4.

And he has Roger Federer, the world No1, to thank - not because the former Australian Open champion, and reigning Wimbledon and US Open champion, was below his best when the two met in Thursday's semi-final, rather that at the end of 2003 Federer decided to part company with his coach, Peter Lundgren, who last May joined forces with Safin.

"You need to believe in yourself and I didn't," said Safin. And Lundgren has successfully nurtured that belief. Yet even the calm and encouraging words of his coach could not help him for those first awful 30 minutes. The hollow noise emanating from Safin's racket indicated he was mistiming the ball; and his feet refused to move.

All the 25-year-old Russian could think about were his two previous finals in the same stadium. In 2002 he had lost to Sweden's Thomas Johansson and played dreadfully, and last year again he could not find his best form when it was most needed against Federer.

Lundgren and Safin had talked long and hard about the problems Hewitt would set and the way the Russian could win. Essentially he needed to impose his much more powerful game on the Australian, who was feeling his own pressures after becoming the first men's home player to reach the final since Pat Cash in 1988. But the Safin power was initially switched off almost completely. "I was scared, nervous and passive. I could not serve, I could not run. I was so disappointed."

Safin is a huge, affable man who gets on with almost everybody in the locker room; he exudes bonhomie. When he pulverised Pete Sampras in straight sets in the US Open final five years ago, everybody assumed he would quickly develop into a dominant force. The one proviso was his temperament. He raged, he smashed racket after racket, he fought out a constant duel on court with himself.

All the time he retained his sense of humour, which endeared him to everybody, but he knew in his heart and soul that the win against Sampras counted for little. It had been too easy and he had been under no pressure. "You can win one grand slam by mistake, and it was a mistake."

So he heard the rumours and began to believe them: that he was an immensely talented player but not one who would win any more of the world's four major tournaments. And his two defeats in the Australian Open final further increased those doubts and ate away at his self-belief.

"Peter helped me believe in myself. We worked very hard and communicated really well, so this win against Lleyton means so much more to me than the win in New York. Maybe now I can go on and win a couple more slams and perhaps become the world No1 again. It has been such a relief."

Hewitt, having fought through three enormous matches in the previous three rounds - although none of them quite as big as Safin's semi-final victory over Federer - must have felt that having run to Cairns and back in his efforts to make the final he was suddenly on a fun run. Of course, he did not dare believe Safin could continue to be as poor as that first set, but the 29-year gap since the last Australian, Mark Edmondson, won this title appeared eminently bridgeable.

Safin was obsessed with not allowing Hewitt to run down his shots on the forehand side, so much so that he missed several easy kills by allowing the Australian to second guess him and move to the backhand side. But gradually, almost imperceptibly, Safin was cranking up the power and one break in the second set was enough to level.

Even then he veered towards the cautious, which enabled Hewitt to open up a 3-0 lead in the third. Safin called for the trainer to massage his legs but it was his mind that needed manipulating.

Suddenly everything clicked. At 4-2 up Hewitt lost his serve, raged at a line judge who had foot-faulted him and then, in what seemed a blink, Safin reeled off seven successive games, including three breaks of serve.

"To be honest I think he ran out of gas. When I broke him in the third set I think his belief went. He was missing that extra step and he could not cope," said Safin, whose own serve became all but unplayable.

For Hewitt, the former US Open and Wimbledon champion, this was his third significant final defeat in a row. Last year he lost to Federer in the US Open final and also in the end-of-season Tennis Masters Cup. "My game has improved and I can walk away with my head high," he said, before adding a little forlornly: "But it would have been nice to have won one of them." And this one especially.

He may not be given to the same deep self-doubts as Safin but this defeat is bound to hit him hard. After failing to get past the last 16 here in his previous eight attempts this was a huge opportunity. "But Marat was awesome," Hewitt conceded.

crimson
01-31-2005, 02:13 PM
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,5205-1463665,00.html

Safin snatches the crown on Hewitt's coronation day

From Neil Harman, Tennis Correspondent in Melbourne

It all finally came together yesterday for Marat Safin, the finest player to emerge from Russia, who had lost two previous Open finals and started this one as if he was trapped in a recurring nightmare. After 24 minutes, he was a set down, Hewitt had only dropped two points on his serve and the audience could hardly believe what they were seeing — the Australian No 1 was not expected to canter home against an opponent who had clearly arrived intent on beating himself.

Then a light went on. And when Safin wakes up, so does everything around him. A couple of hours later, he was a champion and acknowledged a 1-6, 6-3, 6-4, 6-4 victory not by dropping to his knees, or screaming at the top of his lungs but simply raising one arm and walking, a touch self-consciously, to the net. It is probably like that when you know you are such a talent and when everything is pieced together the way you want it, winning is little more than matter of fact.

Hewitt had no cause to be reproachful. This was never going to be a cakewalk because he is not a player who gets anything for nothing. One newspaper yesterday described him as the enigmatic fanatic — all heart, all of it on his sleeve — yet this was one of those respectfully quiet days, apart from the time a cry of “foot fault” pierced the air just after he had served an ace that would have saved a break point as he tried to cement a handsome lead in the third set.

When Hewitt won the next point with a remarkable round the post forehand winner, he jabbed an accusing finger at the linesman, which brought a warning from Carlos Ramos, the umpire, for unsportsmanlike conduct. It did seem a paradox that his mother and father should have been on their feet applauding him at that very moment.

Hewitt had led 4-1 in the third, but Safin was now burning with intent, his racket head, upper body, arms and feet moving in a distinct harmony. The Australian scrapper simply did not have the weight of shot to stay with him and seven games in a row were won by the Russian, including the crucial break of the first Hewitt service game in the fourth set.

It was vital to snap Hewitt there because, by the noise emanating from him, he was setting himself up for one of his legendary final bursts. He led it 40-15, only for Safin to produce a wondrous forehand pass on the run that almost took him down a tunnel, a smash running backwards and finally, a backhand scoop across court having drawn Hewitt forward with a short ball.

If Hewitt was to be roused, it had to happen soon. We awaited an explosion; none happened. Even his “come ons” were delivered beneath his breath, barely audible. This was a match he knew was slipping away, the screw was being turned with every devastating ground stroke and disheartening ace.

“Through the whole tournament, Marat has lost it now and again but he doesn’t let it affect his play,” Hewitt said. “I got out of the blocks and played well but he hadn’t hit his stride. He is an awesome player and even when I was a set up, at no stage did I think it would carry along the way it had started. His hitting from the back of the court later in the third set and throughout the fourth was pretty incredible. He has amazing strength. I put absolutely everything into this tournament, but right now I’m human and I’m very disappointed.”

What is extraordinary is that Safin double-faulted only nine times in seven matches and this from a player who spends his time living on an edge. There was only one in the final. The opening set apart, this was Safin in his US Open 2000 mood, when he broke the resilience of Pete Sampras, no mean feat.

That was supposed to be the moment for Safin to become the head of the game, one of its giants, but he allowed too many diversions to get in the way — he was only 20, after all — and the delights of youth were everywhere. Now 25, hardly old, and in harness with Peter Lundgren, the Swede who nursed one player, Roger Federer, to the top and could do it with another, he is something to behold. The win over Federer in the semi-finals was a seminal moment in the sport. Safin has moved on and up.

The day he believes in himself on grass, Wimbledon had better be prepared to welcome its first Russian male champion.

wipeout
01-31-2005, 02:17 PM
http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/common/story_page/0,5744,12102158%255E2722,00.html

I love this quote from that article:

An interesting summary was given by Russia's ambassador to Australia, Leonid Moiseev. "Not only is Marat a beautiful tennis player on court," he says, "we also love him because he is a very naughty boy away from the courts. He loves fast cars and beautiful women, and that is good."

:lol: :lol: :lol:

Nice quote, Mr. Ambassador. :D

junekidd
01-31-2005, 02:39 PM
thanks for the articles crimson. :worship:
http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/common/story_page/0,5744,12102158%255E2722,00.html

I love this quote from that article:

An interesting summary was given by Russia's ambassador to Australia, Leonid Moiseev. "Not only is Marat a beautiful tennis player on court," he says, "we also love him because he is a very naughty boy away from the courts. He loves fast cars and beautiful women, and that is good."

:lol: :lol: :lol:

Nice quote, Mr. Ambassador. :D
:lol: :lol: :lol:
I have to say that the ambassador is too frank to be a politician.

MariaV
01-31-2005, 06:43 PM
Thanks for posting the articles crimson! And wipeout too! Much appreciated! :)

Damita
01-31-2005, 08:39 PM
http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/common/story_page/0,5744,12102158%255E2722,00.html

I love this quote from that article:

An interesting summary was given by Russia's ambassador to Australia, Leonid Moiseev. "Not only is Marat a beautiful tennis player on court," he says, "we also love him because he is a very naughty boy away from the courts. He loves fast cars and beautiful women, and that is good."

:lol: :lol: :lol:

Nice quote, Mr. Ambassador. :D
:lol: he loves women and cars, yeah sure, those are reasons to love him :rolleyes: ;)

thanks Sol and Crimson for the articles.
Kiara>> Marat won't play anywhere until Dubai.

In French paper L'Equipe of today, they put the transcripts of Peter, Walt, and Gerard's answers to journalists's questions. I've translated them back into English:

L’Equipe, 31/01/2005

Gerard Tsobanian, Safin’s agent:

“It’s a fabulous victory for him. After 2 finals, he’s finally reached his goal. He really wanted that title, it was the centenary of the tournament. When you see his 1st set, I think he was still in the locker room. Then he started to focus, he went into the match step by step and turned things round. It’s good, it’s great, it’s huge! Month after month, since September, he’s progressing, he has results. It’s good, now he’s on top. Tomorrow he goes back to Moscow, to visit his family and friends as he has 3 weeks off before the tournament in Dubai”.

“It’s no more rollercoaster performances, it’s consistency. He has matured a lot as a person. He knows well when to party and when to concentrate”.

Peter Lundgren, Safin’s coach:

“This win, it’s something huge for me. I can’t believe it. Yes, it’s perhaps as great as when Roger (Federer) won Wimbledon. Wimbledon remains Wimbledon… But I have to say this is #2 in my heart, or maybe even as good as Wimbledon. I have no secret with him. He knows so many things already… In the first set, Marat wasn’t playing well. Lleyton had a good start. Marat was looking for his game but couldn’t find it. His 1st serve percentage was of 39% only, which is too weak. Then he broke and began to relax, he was serving a bit better. Last Friday he didn’t do anything. On Sunday he trained a little bit. And yesterday (Sunday) we started to train at noon. He’s been in the final twice here, and he won the US Open in 2000, so it’s good to finally win another Grand Slam title. Marat is now just behind Roger Federer”.

Walt Landers, Safin’s physio:

“It’s an outstanding performance, especially when you see the way Lleyton Hewitt was playing and how he was running on all the balls. He put a big pressure on Marat. To win this match, for Marat, for all of us, I was something very special. To beat Federer was already a great result. He defeated him in a match full of emotions, where Roger saved 6 match points and Marat also one, one of those big classic matches which will find their places in history… Before the match, Ihe was maybe too relaxed. The weather was nice, the stadium was good, I was beating my head and thinking: “does he realize it’s the final?” Then he woke up”.

Damita
01-31-2005, 09:20 PM
another translation:

L’Equipe, 01/31/2005
Vincent Cognet

Do you want it or not?

Marat Safin’s on- court performances depend on his mental involvement.

It’s not a coincidence if 4 years and a half have passed between the 2 Grand Slam titles Marat Safin has won. Between September 10, 2000 – date of his absolute triumph against Pete Sampras in the US Open final – and January 30, 2005, the Russian has almost always been running with the hare and hunting with the hounds, torn between 2 desires, 2 interpretations of himself.
The 1st one I an “ideal” vision, the vision of a champion who is 100% aware of his huge potential, and ready to scarify his youth for the fulfilment of his work. The 2nd one sticks to reality, it’s dependent on a personality which would like to bite into life with gusto. Unfortunately for him, competition among top players doesn’t permit to reconcile extremes anymore. That’s why his career looks like a difficult dilemma: playing this double game with himself, or cutting one of his arms to let the other express itself.

Nothing else than the Australian Open of 2002 and of 2005 could illustrate this duality better. Three years ago, the Russian reached the final with the support of a clan dominated by 3 “safinettes”, all very curvaceous and wearing low-cut dresses. “I wanna thank my family", he said in his speech after his defeat against Thomas Johansson. The sally made the 15,000 spectators laugh, and stresses not only the boy’s sense of humour, but also a suspect involvement into the duties which come with the job of a professional tennis player. There was no similar show during the past 2 weeks: he has settled down, he went to Melbourne only with his fiancée and 3 Russian friends. The start of the tournament has been the best of his entire career; the end of it was pefect as regard to his results, his behaviour, and his concentration. Bye bye Federer and Hewitt, make way for the master from Moscow.

In many respects, Safin stands for the archetype of the man born with a talent surplus. Exceptionally gifted with the game, he is also a good-looker, funny, and charming beyond reasonableness. “He’s the James Dean of tennis”, says a close relation and former coach of Nicolas Escudé, Arnaud Casagrande. In Spain (he’s been living in Valencia from 13 to 19 years old, and still practise there sometimes), he has developed a “Latin” mentality which was ready to express itself at any time. Another brake on the consistency of his results: an outstanding beginning of his career. He was playing the qualifications of Roland Garros in 1998, and then came his masterpiece against Sampras in Flushing Meadows is September, 2000. The syndrome is well-known: too fast, too soon…

The nightmare of 2003

“At the time, Marat didn’t want to hear of stardom, says his agent, Gérard Tsobanian. After his victory at the US Open, he was often telling me “I don’t want to be Agassi or Kournikova”. The problem is, he doesn’t have the choice…” Dollars, honours, girls, start system: the field is favourable to a big waste.

His body then decided to bring him back on the right track. Victim of a serious left wrist injury, Safin went through a nightmare in 2003. His year varied between withdrawals and returns on tour, each of them being more frustrating than the previous one. Between the final lost to Moya in Barcelona and then end of the year, he played 6 matches only. 6 defeats. It was the ideal moment to question his motivation: “I missed tennis, he admitted in Moscow in October, 2003. Really. Everytime I watched a tournament on TV I was thinking: “You should have been there, it’s you who should have won that match”. Tennis is my life. It gave me a lot of happy moments, but I want more of them. Now I know what I want”.

It was becoming even more obvious since his rivals weren’t waiting for him and were winning major titles. That year, Ferrero won in Roland Garros, Federer in Wimbledon, and Roddick at the US Open. Jealousy bothered him more than what he dares to admit: “It’s very difficult to see others winning Grand Slam titles and not being able to compete with them. I know I can play as well as they can, even better perhaps… I want to be back in the top 10 and aim at the #1 ranking. I hope that 2004 will be my year”.

And it has been… from October. He won 2 Masters Series in a row in Madrid and Bercy, and was a semi-finalist in the Masters where he alone drove Federer into a corner): Safin got quite late the results from the partnership he began in April with Peter Lundgren, Federer’s former coach. We know the rest already: very short holidays, a serious preparation made in Valencia, and a proclaimed intention of (finally) making his mind conform with his arm. In short, a total involvement. For him more than for any other champion, it is the sole guarantee for his talent to be allowed free expression.

wipeout
01-31-2005, 11:11 PM
A first-round loss to Thomas Enqvist at the US Open was the last straw.

After the match Safin and coach Peter Lundgren argued for a long period in the locker room. The Russian insisted his season was over, his game was in shambles, and it would be best to blow off the remaining tournaments on the year and take a sabbatical. Lundgren tried to keep things positive, insisting that the Asian events and the European indoor swing before the end of the year could easily turn his game around.

In the end Lundgren's persistence paid off, and Safin kept his post-Open obligation in Beijing where he won his first title of three in 2004, including Masters Series wins at Madrid and Paris.

http://www.tennis-x.com/story/2005-01-31/c.php

All hail Mr. Lundgren. :worship:

wipeout
01-31-2005, 11:22 PM
Walt Landers, Safin’s physio:

“Before the match, he was maybe too relaxed. The weather was nice, the stadium was good, I was beating my head and thinking: “does he realize it’s the final?” Then he woke up”.

:lol:

wipeout
01-31-2005, 11:53 PM
Seems Peter has his own history: ;)

The big Russian also hinted at the good times shared by he and coach Peter Lundgren, who in his time as a player was also known for some excesses off court.

"It's a relationship between a student and teacher – I can teach him some other things but not really in tennis," Safin said.

http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/common/story_page/0,5744,12106469%255E23216,00.html

thelma
02-01-2005, 03:31 AM
Last Update: Tuesday, February 1, 2005. 8:27am AEDT

Safin flies out with eye on more grand slams

http://www.abc.net.au/sport/content/200502/s1293070.htm

http://www.abc.net.au/reslib/200501/r39704_100468.jpg

Marat Safin left Australia on Monday with another grand slam trophy in his arms and the tennis world at his feet.

The 25-year-old Russian's victory over Lleyton Hewitt in Melbourne on Sunday night added the Australian Open crown to the US Open title he won in 2000.

Safin made a brief appearance in the Melbourne suburb of St Kilda to show off his new trophy, then took a tram ride through the city streets before packing his bags for the long trip back to Europe.

His march to the final included an epic five-set win over the seemingly invincible Roger Federer in the semi-finals and the big Russian says he now believes he can win more grand slam titles.

"Basically, I would love to win a couple more. I think I have a chance if I continue this way," he said.

"If (coach) Peter Lundgren will stick around with me and wants to work with me for a bit longer, I think I can make it."

Despite winning the title, Safin remained in fourth place on the world rankings behind Federer, Hewitt and Andy Roddick. Safin briefly held the top spot in 2000 and while he said he would like to regain it one day it wasn't his top priority.

"Of course, if I have the opportunity to become number one in the world, I would love to achieve it," he said.

"But I already have and I want to concentrate a little bit more on the grand slams."

Safin made the French Open semi-finals in 2002 and fancies his chances on the red clay of Paris more than on the green grass of Wimbledon.

Despite possessing a booming serve and excellent volley, Safin has only made it past the second round once in five attempts and has little hope of ever winning Wimbledon.

"I cannot play on that surface and I feel like I can't waste my time, my energy," he said.

"Some people can't play on clay, some people can't play on hard court. It's psychological, of course, but I just don't feel comfortable on that surface.

"I will play (Wimbledon) but not with many expectations."

_______________________________

Last Update: Monday, January 31, 2005. 2:00pm AEDT

Safin celebrates in Melbourne

Marat Safin made a brief appearance in the Melbourne suburb of St Kilda on Monday morning to show off his Australian Open trophy.

The Russian champion took a short tram ride down Acland Street with his trophy, to the delight of fans and a large contingent of photographers.

Safin, who beat Lleyton Hewitt in four sets in last night's final, dressed casually in jeans and T-shirt and looked a little tired.

He declined to make any further comments about the match, or discuss the news that Hewitt is reportedly engaged to soap star Bec Cartwright.

Related Audio:

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___________________________________

Last Update: Monday, January 31, 2005. 8:36am AEDT

A fitting end and a worthy champion

By Gerard Whateley

http://www.abc.net.au/sport/content/200501/s1292159.htm

http://www.abc.net.au/reslib/200501/r39614_100179.jpg

The dream remains just that for another 12 months. The drought didn't end and a hometown hero wasn't crowned.

Yet there was nothing begrudging in the applause for the champion. Here stood a man who had reached the summit of Everest twice in three days.

Marat Safin is as worthy a winner as the Australian Open has known in 100 years.

On Thursday night he did the impossible. He beat Roger Federer. But when he sipped the champagne in his hotel room there was no trophy by his side.

The Russian, once thought of as fragile, had to return and do it again. This time against as great a fighter as the game has known, with a nation standing in his opponent's corner.

The reason Lleyton Hewitt didn't succeed was because he met a man equally committed to the battle.

Safin understood completely what it would take to defeat the Australian. You could see it in every stride he took from baseline to net and back again.

Twice a loser on this stage, Safin would have to out-hustle the hustler and out-scramble the scrambler.

And when the running was done he would have to conjure the composure to pound the ball past the best returner in the game.

Marat Safin went eye-to-eye and toe-to-toe with Lleyton Hewitt and lived to tell the tale.

It all began with such hope.

By the time you'd reached Rod Laver Arena on a spectacular summer evening it was difficult to shrug the feeling that this was the most anticipated local sporting event since Cathy Freeman's Olympic 400 metres final.

Turns out Lleyton Hewitt can unite the nation after all.

There was a genuine craving that this hoodoo be erased.

At the edge of your memory sat fleeting images of that first fabled final at Flinders Park, an epic match that stretched into the early evening.

The recollection resonates with Hewitt, who as a boy watched from his home in Adelaide as his favourite two players, Pat Cash and Mats Wilander, played it out in the fifth.

If not at that moment, then in the numerous re-runs of the highlights, Hewitt determined this too would be his destiny.

"Those are the matches you dream about," Hewitt has said.

It's impossible to imagine all those thoughts didn't flood the 23-year-old's mind as he accepted a thunderous introduction onto Rod Laver Arena.

He took two deep breaths and, with each, cast his eyes to the very tops of the grandstands.

This was indeed the fantasy.

Hewitt had in so many ways provided the narrative for this Australian Open. Surviving eviction at the hands of any number of opponents, his bi-daily struggles gave the tournament its energy.

It led you to wonder if this wasn't pre-ordained.

But it seemed no less fated for Marat Safin.

He'd been the best player for the past two years at Melbourne Park. He'd claimed scalps like Roddick and Agassi and finally Federer in five sets.

He would have been an overwhelming crowd and betting favourite had he not been squaring off with an Australian.

This was an event with star power, and not only on the court.

Greg Norman turned heads sharper than a Home and Away beauty as he took his place with the Hewitt Gang.

Geoffrey Rush was a few rows away, not far from Eric Bana. Jamie Packer watched Olivia Newton-John belt out an age-old tune with little help from a thin sound system.

Wherever you looked there fluttered Australian flags. The Fanatics handed out their t-shirts and the yellow peril spread to engulf the best part of an entire bay.

They sang the national anthem but it became something of a round, with timing and pitch all over the place. It was novel but made you wonder why on earth there wasn't an official rendition on such a significant occasion.

The preamble over that remarkable silence took hold.

Hewitt started in blaze. He made the shots of a man in sublime form. The first set was won in 23 minutes. Hewitt led 26 points to 11. Safin never served an ace. Expectation was brimming.

A lone fan with Russian flags etched on each cheek shouted: "Let's go Marat, let's go". Had the gentleman said where, Safin may well have followed.

Inevitably the fourth seed found his range. He broke the Hewitt serve once on the second set and that was enough to square the match.

But Hewitt counter-punched and in a flash led 4-1 with a break and there was the sense the Australian had worked his man into submission.

The collateral damage included a racquet as Safin teetered on the edge of reason. Instead of imploding, it was the spark.

He reeled off five straight games with groundstrokes to bring tears to your eyes. But most importantly and ominously the serve had arrived.

When he pulled down a service winner on set point a siren was wailing in the streets outside. It screamed beware.

At the beginning of the fourth set Safin illustrated his commitment. He played three monumental points in the opening Hewitt service game.

He raised the stakes in the rallies and perfected the Hewitt chase.

Safin went after balls he would usually concede. He not only retrieved them, he threw them past his stunned opponent.

Safin put it all on the line. Where others might have hesitated in the past against Hewitt, the Russian mercilessly moved in for the kill.

If it didn't work he'd lose in five because no one, not even Hewitt, could maintain this sort of rage.

If he landed the right blows he'd be leaving with his second Grand Slam title.

Had Hewitt watched one of his favourite movies, Rocky IV in the build-up, this was the moment the giant Russian Ivan Drago declared: "I must break you."

And break Hewitt he did. Just once.

It was enough, because Safin's serve was suddenly untouchable. Every ball was laced with venom. The assault many thought would come in the first set, instead came to fruition when the match was there to be won.

It was a mere formality when a Hewitt lunging return popped long and the title was decided.

The tennis had been of the finest ilk, an appropriate finale to the most outstanding Open staged at Melbourne Park.

And the best man won. Safin's quest is fulfilled.

Hewitt's goes on. As he left the court with a combination of good grace and sheer deflation, you knew in your heart there'd be another day for the dreamers.

drf716
02-01-2005, 05:30 AM
From Boris, with love
Kelly Ryan
29jan05

THE Russian assault on the Australia Open is on.

On the court, hot-blooded firebrand Marat Safin won the battle for a berth in the men's singles finals, unseating world No. 1 Roger Federer in the surprise upset of the tournament so far.

Off-court, an army of Russian bombshells seated in Safin's guest box are unsettling the enemy.

Even Boris Yeltsin has entered the fray -- sending a personal envoy to Melbourne to order the Russian to wipe out the opposition.

Russia's Ambassador to Australia, Leonid Moiseev, said the former Russian president was Safin's biggest fan.

"Not only is Safin a beautiful tennis player on court, we love him because he is a very naughty boy away from tennis. He loves fast cars and very beautiful women and that is good," Mr Moiseev said.

"Boris Yeltsin sent me to Melbourne with the personal message to pass on to Marat Safin. The message from Boris Yeltsin was for Safin to please beat Federer -- it is Boris Yeltsin's dream for a Russian to beat the world No. 1," Mr Moiseev said.

The ambassador made a flying visit to Melbourne from Canberra to pass on the former president's best wishes to Safin.

The diplomatic consul was also on hand to watch Russian and world No. 3 Maria Sharapova hand over a Porsche to the Beslan Children's Fund.

"Sharapova has donated a huge sum of money to this charity and all Russians are very proud of her," Mr Moiseev said.

The diplomat said Australian-Russian relations would not cool in the event of a Safin-Hewitt grand slam final.

"Like Australia, we love a good contest and expect first-class quality tennis with a match of two such great players."

Mr Moiseev said tennis had not yet become the No. 1 sport in Russia, but was gaining on highly rated athletics.

"We have the Russian School of Tennis and you can see that the champions are emerging," Mr Moiseev said.

Fans closer to Safin said the tennis tiger had been tamed by maturity on and off the court.

Melbourne-based Russian model Anna Gorski said Safin's reputation for living the high life was not matched by his on-court appearance at Melbourne Park during the Australian Open centenary.

"He deserves praise for being the first to beat Federer and our Russian community will be out to support him on Sunday," Ms Gorski said.

"After a difficult year last year, he has come a long way and has proved he is taking his tennis more seriously on and off the court."

Ms Gorski was among a brigade of Baltic beauties pictured courtside when Safin competed in the Australian Open two years ago.

"He is older and more mature since then and deserves to be considered the champion he is," she said. "There is nothing wrong with liking the fine things in life, but it is obvious he is taking tennis more seriously."

MariaV
02-01-2005, 08:00 AM
Hey to all the Russian speakers here. :wavey:

Here's the link to the Russian sports news video on Marat's victory. Enjoy! :)

mms://video.rfn.ru/rtr-sport/11804.asf

foul_dwimmerlaik
02-01-2005, 08:14 AM
Thanks Maria!

thelma
02-01-2005, 06:30 PM
http://www.sportinglife.com/tennis/news/story_get.dor?STORY_NAME=tennis/05/02/01/TENNIS_Column.html
CAN SAFIN SPARK A RUSSIAN REVOLUTION?

By Mark Staniforth

http://cache-1.sportinglife.com/pictures/general/allsportsafinoz05finalfist.jpg

Russia's legion of top female tennis players each have their well-documented tale of childhood hardship and long-distance sacrifice to tell.

Young stars led by Wimbledon champion Maria Sharapova are frequently called upon to document the reasons for the hunger which has swept no fewer than 15 Russian girls into the world's top 100.

Until Marat Safin's Australian Open win last week reminded everybody of the exciting if infuriating talent he possesses, Russia's men were being well and truly overshadowed by their female counterparts.

Safin has often appeared uneasy inheriting the mantle of his nation's leading player from the former world number one and double Grand Slam champion Yevgeny Kafelnikov, who has not played on the ATP Tour since 2003.

But perhaps the manner of Safin's triumph, which equalled Kafelnikov's Grand Slam title haul after his initial success at the US Open in 2000, will spark a revolution amongst Russia's boys similar to that undergone by the girls after Anna Kournikova's publicity-seeking era.

Perhaps they need it. Behind Safin Russia numbers just four more male players in the current world top 100, and Kafelnikov's retirement has dramatically reduced their chances of repeating their 2002 Davis Cup success.

The 22-year-old Mikhail Youzhny is yet to fully grasp the chance to join Safin among the true elite, despite his famous come-from-behind victory in that Davis Cup decider against French youngster Paul-Henri Mathieu.

Youzhny, and his compatriot Igor Andreev both know what it is like to experience the rareified air of the fourth round of a Grand Slam, while world number 99 Dmitry Tursunov overcame Safin in the first round of last year's Wimbledon.

But the best prospect might be Nikolay Davydenko, the 23-year-old who began this year in fine style by reaching the quarter-finals of the Australian Open, beating Tim Henman along the way.

All have their typical tales of picking up a tennis racket in their early years and training hungrily to escape the poverty which surrounded them.

Davydenko moved with his family to Germany in his teens, Andreev to Spain while Tursunov seized his chance to base himself in California and is now in the process of applying for United States citizenship.

Tursunov explained: "I think a lot of Russian players preferred to train and travel outside of Russia simply because at that point it was a lot cheaper.

"We had to pay for indoor courts, outdoor courts, we had to pay for a lot of things. Russian salaries don't allow you to pay for these things.

"So my father decided it was best for me to go to California because it was as lot cheaper financially. So that is what I did, and that is why I am here now."

thelma
02-01-2005, 06:32 PM
http://www.sportinglife.com/tennis/news/story_get.dor?STORY_NAME=tennis/05/01/31/TENNIS_Australian_Nightlead.html

SAFIN PROMISES WIMBLEDON RETURN

http://cache-1.sportinglife.com/pictures/general/allsportsafinoz05trophy.jpg

Newly-crowned Australian Open champion Marat Safin has promised to compete at Wimbledon despite previously vowing never to return to the All England Club.

Safin claimed he would not play at Wimbledon again after his first-round exit to compatriot Dmitry Tursunov in 2004.

The 25-year-old Russian, who reached the quarter-finals in 2001 but has only won two other matches, lost 4-6 7-5 6-3 7-6 to the world number 70 on court two, and insisted: "I give up on Wimbledon. It's definitely not the tournament for me.

"I hate this. I have to admit it. I didn't go out last night and I didn't have fun. I was trying to prepare myself and give myself another chance but I think it's the last one."

But following his superb victory over home favourite Lleyton Hewitt on Sunday evening in Melbourne, Safin said he would return to SW19, even if he harbours no expectations of claiming a third Grand Slam title there.

"I will play, but not with so many expectations," said Safin, who recovered from a set down to beat Hewitt 1-6 6-3 6-4 6-4 in the first evening final in the championships' centenary year.

"Every year I'm coming and I'm practising, I'm spending so much time on the practice court and trying to play on that surface. But all of a sudden you come play the first round and lose to guys that you don't know how they even get to the main draw!

"People interpret what I said at Wimbledon, they took it to such extreme way. For one day I was so famous because I said something which has nothing to do with the tournament, has nothing to do with anything around the tournament.

"Just I said my opinion that I don't like the surface, I cannot play on that surface, and I feel like I can't waste my time, my energy on that surface. That's it.

"It's my opinion. I didn't say anything wrong. I didn't say anything bad about Wimbledon. But just I am feeling that it is not my surface. Some people cannot play on clay. Some people, they cannot play on hard court.

"It's more psychological, of course. But even though I had a good result one year I don't feel comfortable on that surface. That's it."

Safin was just 20 when he won the US Open final in 2000 with a stunning demolition of Pete Sampras and went on to become world number one, but since then had failed to fulfil his enormous potential.

Working with Roger Federer's former coach, Peter Lundgren, has been a major factor in Safin's renaissance and he admitted he had struggled to believe in himself before the likeable Swede's involvement.

"It's a little bit difficult because once you have bad losses, people start to think you're not (good enough) and because the people speak, you listen," added Safin, who celebrated his 25th birthday last Federer in the semi-finals, ending the defending champion and world number one's unbeaten 26-match run.

"The rumours, once it gets into your head, it's difficult to accept and you really start to believe that maybe it's who I am. I have a talent, I'm a good player, but not good enough to be where I want to be.

"You can just lose to anybody, you can beat anybody, but that's it. They say that's who you are, and it's the maximum you can get.

"It's disappointing for a person like me to hear that and really to believe in that because I really start to believe that that's it, that's just who I am."

Safin had been beaten in the Australian Open final in 2002 and 2004, firstly underestimating Sweden's Thomas Johansson and then running out of gas against Federer after exhausting five-set quarter-final wins over Andy Roddick and Andre Agassi.

And he admitted he had started to doubt whether he would ever add to his Grand Slam tally.

"From the first final I didn't win against Johansson I couldn't see myself winning the Grand Slams anymore," added Safin. "I couldn't believe it. I was once even in the semi-finals of the French Open, but didn't believe I can win it.

"I lost two semi-finals because I just couldn't handle the pressure. You need to believe in yourself, and I didn't.

"Winning here was a relief for me. Two Grand Slams it's already something. One Grand Slam you can win by mistake, you know, like I did in 2000! But this one, I worked really hard for that.

"I would love to win a couple more. I think I have a chance if I am continuing this way. If Peter will stick around with me and he will want to work with me for a bit longer, I think I can make it."

MariaV
02-02-2005, 10:18 AM
OK, it's not the best translation but just tried my best in a hurry.

Marat Safin: "I have only one desire - to sleep off!"

The conqueror of Australia arrived in Moscow with the new girlfriend.
- Lord, women, leave me alone! - Marat Safin said in a doleful voice to women journalists and admirerers who yesterday waited for him at the Moscow airport "Sheremetyevo-2"...
Never thought that the fresh winner of the Australian Open can have such a sad face!
- We all were here waiting for you, wanted to greet you as hero, and you ran from us around the entire airport - why?
- Because for me this is not necessary. Think yourselves: what emotions can there be after twenty-four hours on the plane and two transfers?! At the moment I am not ready to talk about the serves and the rivals.
- But still, what are your emotions right now??
- To be honest, I just want to sleep off.
Marat arrived in Moscow with his new girlfriend Dasha Zhukova – she is amazingly sweet and intelligent. Absolutely nothing in the style of "typical" models. Seems like Marat is seriously in love - and, possibly, precisely this can explain his new energy on the court.
- Don’t even think to ask him about Dasha, one person from the tennis circles whispered to me. – Then he definitely won’t give any interview (by the way, the young couple left the airport separately... – E.S.).
While Marat went to the car we had a few words with Shamil Tarpishchev who arrived to meet him with his with assistant Maxim Kozin.
- Shamil Anvyarovich, aren’t you going to celebrate Marat's return today?
- We wanted, of course, I immediately suggested a beautiful festive reception but Marat flatly refused.
- Tell me why his parents did not meet him?
- Because he has always been a man who does not love receptions. Principally he does not love receptions.
- It is still strange: Marat now is not simply an idol but universally loved by Russian fans. Can’t he really say a few nice words to them? Maybe it’s a star pathos?
- No, this is not pathos. He is indeed a very modest person and even deep happiness he keeps inside. Noise, pomposity - this not for him.

Moscow Komsomolets 02.02.2005
Elena Shpiz

And here's the link.
http://www.mk.ru/numbers/1480/article47314.htm

MariaV
02-02-2005, 11:02 AM
Here's another link.
I have no time to translate it. If any of the Russians want to try, be my guest.

http://www.sovsport.ru/gazeta/default.asp?id=178401

Aurora
02-02-2005, 11:03 AM
thanks Maria! :wavey:

Shadow
02-02-2005, 11:10 AM
thanks Maria.

well we always knew that Marat doesn`t like big show offs or something. I mean big hurly-burly around/about him, or the star/hero stuff.

PennyThePenguin
02-02-2005, 12:36 PM
thank you maria!!! :hug: take care! don't let the kids drive u crazy!

thelma
02-02-2005, 12:54 PM
Thanks, Maria! :kiss:

http://www.theage.com.au/news/Tennis/Federer-v-Safin-could-be-a-season-to-treasure/2005/02/01/1107228697381.html?oneclick=true
Federer v Safin could be a season to treasure

By Mark Hodgkinson
February 2, 2005

http://www.theage.com.au/ffximage/2005/02/01/safin_federer_wideweb__430x323.jpg

Lleyton Hewitt and Bec Cartwright included, the most significant coupling to emerge from the Australian Open remains champion Marat Safin and Roger Federer. Let us hope that this one is for keeps.

What this sport needs more than anything is a proper, full-blooded rivalry, and Safin - once he has cleared what probably will be a heroic vodka-and-champagne hangover - could be the man to challenge Federer.

Several days on, tennis is still reverberating from Safin's semi-final defeat of Federer.

Safin demonstrated that Federer is not an untouchable, ending a 26-match unbeaten run with five sets of brutal shot-making. It can be hoped only that the next time Safin and Federer meet, the Russian beats him again, and then a year that had started with talk of a Federer grand slam - all four majors - could develop into something even more special.

Not since Pete Sampras and Andre Agassi, the quiet American against the loud one, has there been a rivalry worth speaking of in men's tennis and it has been badly missed.

Behind Federer, Safin has the most natural gifts in tennis. The 25-year-old and world No. 4 has a hulking physique, and a serve and groundstrokes that are capable of destroying anyone apart from Federer, and of stopping the Swiss in his tracks.

The Fed Express may not run as smoothly, or as punctually, as he had envisaged this season. This is not to start some kind of revisionist thinking on Federer. He won three of the grand slam tournaments last season and his position as world No. 1 is far from under threat.

It is just that Safin has suddenly, with the help of coach Peter Lundgren, curbed much of his wild-child behaviour and looks in the mood for more grand slam titles.

For all the entertaining tennis during the centenary celebrations of the Australian Open, it was the Safin story that captivated.

Hewitt does not have the shots to become a serial thriller against Federer, and while Andy Roddick was once said to have had a rivalry with Federer, what sort was that when the American was not winning any matches?

Safin had waited too long for his second grand slam title, a five-year hiatus since he thrashed Sampras in the final of the US Open.

Safin's four-set win over Hewitt showed that he is unhappy with years of under-achieving. He finally learnt that his win over Sampras was "a mistake", that it came too soon and too easily for a 20-year-old. This was far more satisfying, as he had to work for it.

The French Open in May is the next biggest prize. While the red clay of Roland Garros is still something of a problem for Federer, it is the preferred surface of Safin. Unfortunately, Wimbledon is a different story. Safin has never done better than a quarter-final finish.

The only slight worry is that Safin's work ethic may fade. The sense with Safin is that he will go mad if forced to train hard, play hard and rest hard for too long.

Perhaps the biggest twist to Safin's outlook is that smashing racquets now appears to help, rather than hinder, his tennis.

The crumpled frame, it seems, can serve as an emotional release. And if Safin continues to mangle racquets, crack jokes, bludgeon backhands, and beat Federer, then this will be a season to treasure.

thelma
02-02-2005, 01:17 PM
http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2005/2/2/sports/10058668&sec=sports


Wednesday February 2, 2005
Lundgren was key to Safin’s win, says Russian chief

MOSCOW: Marat Safin's Swedish coach Peter Lundgren deserves huge credit for the temperamental Russian's Australian Open triumph, Russia's tennis chief said on Monday.

“Without question, Peter Lundgren has been able to get the best out of Safin, which is by no means an easy thing to do,” Shamil Tarpishchev, president of the Russian Tennis Federation and the country's Davis Cup coach, told Reuters.

“You have to give full credit to Lundgren for the way he has handled Marat's temper and channelled it in a positive way.”

Pictures of a victorious Safin covered the front pages of all major Russian newspapers on Monday following his four-set victory over Australian Lleyton Hewitt on Sunday.

“Safin conquered Melbourne,” declared leading sports daily Sport-Express.

“Marat warms up (cold and snowy) Russia,” echoed rival newspaper Sovietsky Sport after Safin overcame a nervous start to tame local hope Hewitt 1-6, 6-3, 6-4, 6-4 in a tense final and claim his first Australian Open title.

Tarpishchev once said that no foreign coach would ever get the most out of Safin because they could not fully understand the secrets of the Russian soul. But Lundgren has made him eat his words.

“Well, he proved me wrong, but I'm not bitter. I'm happy, very happy for both Marat and Peter,” Tarpishchev said.

“It seems like they have found a common bond and you can see how much Marat respects his coach.”

Over the last four years Safin has employed a number of different mentors, including another Swede and former world number one Mats Wilander and Britain's Tony Pickard, once the coach of former Wimbledon champion Stefan Edberg.

But none could get the best out of the often moody Russian. Then he hooked up with Lundgren shortly after losing to Roger Federer in last year's Australian Open final.

Lundgren, who has also coached temperamental Chilean Marcelo Rios, guided Federer to Wimbledon glory in 2003 but was soon dropped by the Swiss.

Safin also praised Lundgren for turning his career around. “He made me believe that I can be a good player and I don't have so much doubt about myself,” the Russian said after his win.

“He understood who I am and I understood what he wants from me. It took us four or five months before the results came. But then once they came, they have continued to come.” – Reuters

wipeout
02-02-2005, 07:18 PM
In winning his second career Slam, Safin deserved superlatives matching those awarded to Federer in 2004. The big game was assuredly there, along with plenty of control and intelligence. His court mobility--especially after the thigh massage--was astonishing for a player his size. His net play was extremely good, in both touch and power volleying and in the overhead. Some of his stretch volleys were as spectacular as I've ever seen. His first serve is crushing and his second serve is amply forcing, while over the full tournament he committed, astonishingly, only seven double-faults. Beating Hewitt in the mind game requires no comment. Looking ahead to the rest of 2005, Safin must be regarded co-equal with Federer.

That's part of this analysis of the big matches of the Aussie Open: :)

http://www.tennisserver.com/lines/lines.html