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Shadow 08-29-2003 02:45 PM

Hewitt Says Schedule Hurt Safin
Hewitt Says Schedule Hurt Safin

By Alberto Amalfi

Marat Safin entered the U.S. Open as one of only three former men’s champions and exited the event before he struck a single shot. The nagging wrist injury that has plagued Safin for much of the season knocked him out of the Open, but 2001 U.S. Open champion Lleyton Hewitt said today an extensive schedule may have contributed to Safin’s chronic injury problems.

"I think at the end of the day, you look at how many matches he had to play last year," Hewitt said. "I lost to him in the Paris final, he played incredible tennis, had to fly straight off to Shanghai, he plays in the Masters Cup, has to fly back to Paris to play in the Davis Cup final on a totally different surface. That takes a lot out of you both physically and mentally."

The Wimbledon winner joined the chorus of champions calling for revisions in the ATP calendar.
"I think there’s got to be a way that the ATP or the ITF or everyone has to sit down and work it out and get the (right) schedule," Hewitt said. "I think the reason I got the chickenpox at the end of 2001 was because I was run down from playing so many matches and a Davis Cup final."

Wrestling with the wrist injury that has sidelined him for Roland Garros, Wimbledon and now the U.S. Open, Safin sounds like a man prepared to write off the rest of an injury-shortened season.

"It's all open, I don't know," Safin said of a time table for his return. "It depends on the doctor. I have to find a solution. Anyway it's the end of the season, so I need to find out and be prepared for the next season."

It has been a disappointing descent for a player who appeared destined for dominance when he stormed through the 2000 season seizing an ATP-best seven tournament titles. Safin delivered a dazzling display of championship tennis in crushing Pete Sampras to capture the 2000 U.S. Open crown as he became the youngest man to finish No. 2 since a 19-year-old Boris Becker in 1986. Since that sustained season of brilliance, Safin has won exactly three titles in 30 months. But Hewitt believes Safin, when healthy, is still one of the best players in the sport.

"In my opinion, he’s one of the best players around when he’s on," Hewitt said. "He has the perfect physique for tennis. I think he’s got every shot in the game."

Shadow 08-29-2003 02:46 PM

Re: Hewitt Says Schedule Hurt Safin
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Lleyton Hewitt has blamed Marat Safin's injury problems on a hectic schedule and called for tennis chiefs to address the problem.

Safin, the former world number one who helped Russia win the Davis Cup in France last year, has played in just nine tournaments this season and is absent from the U.S. Open.

"Look at how many tournaments he's had to play," said Hewitt after his second-round win over South Korean Lee Hyung-taik at Flushing Meadows Thursday.

"The game needs a guy like him. He's a great personality for our game...but look at how many matches he had to play last year.

"I lost to him in the Paris (Masters) final, then he had to fly to Shanghai for the Masters Cup, and then fly back to Paris for the Davis Cup final.

"That takes a lot out of you, both physically and mentally. For him it's disappointing.

"There's got to be a way the ATP and ITF (International Tennis Federation) will sit down and work out the schedule."

Safin, the 2000 U.S. Open champion, injured left wrist ligaments at the Australian Open in January -- just weeks after playing for Russia in the 2002 Davis Cup final.

He then suffered an ankle injury in training for another Davis Cup tie in April.

During 2002, the Russian played in 22 events and fulfilled his commitments in various team competitions.

drf716 09-06-2003 11:17 AM

Re: Hewitt Says Schedule Hurt Safin
i bet llleyton is really just missing marat like the rest of one is really more interesting than marat...

Shadow 09-07-2003 09:16 PM

Re: Re: Hewitt Says Schedule Hurt Safin
I think so ... everyone is missing Marat :D
But i think Lleyten is right ... This schedule at the end of 2002 really likely could have affected Marat`s body :( :(

Tennis Fool 09-10-2003 10:38 PM

Re: Hewitt Says Schedule Hurt Safin
Hewitt doesn't need Marat to come back. He can barely beat middle-ranked players :o

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