I don't know if this has been posted yet (if yes, sorry
Marat Safin suffers as does the furniture after semi-final defeat to Roger Federer
By Mark Hodgkinson
Last Updated: 12:42pm BST
Even the furniture is not safe when Marat Safin is on Centre Court.
The Russian once suggested that it was perfectly acceptable to break a racket on court, and OK to smash a chair, but "you can't destroy a racket and a chair in the same match, as there has to be a limit - otherwise this is the tennis of a sick person". So Safin was not just trying to break frames in yesterday's semi-final with Roger Federer; he was also threatening to break his own racket-trashing rules.
For the first two sets of his straight-sets defeat, Safin kept it together. But, in the third set he showed what Novak Djokovic called the Muscovite's "mental instability". This was Safin's first appearance in the semi-finals of Wimbledon, and he played some decent tennis, but the 28-year-old could not deal with the brilliance from Federer.
There was no disgrace in that. With Bjorn Borg looking on from the Royal Box, Federer played the sort of tennis that demonstrated why he could tomorrow win a sixth successive Wimbledon title, which would take him past the Swede's five in a row. There was rarely a moment when Federer was in anything but total control.
But Safin was never going to go quietly. In the opening game of the third set, Safin attempted to kick a ball away in annoyance, but the ball rolled under his swinging foot, which drew a few laughs on Centre Court. But there was much more to come from Safin. He yelped and he bashed a racket against the grass. And then, just before sitting down for one change of ends, he whacked his racket with all his strength against a chair. Somehow the chair survived. Still, the umpire was obliged to issue Safin with a warning for racket abuse.
This anger towards inanimate objects is a family trait
; during this year's French Open, his younger sister, Dinara Safina, covered a line judge in flying, shredded geraniums after she took a swipe at a courtside flower-box.
Safin probably was not far off a warning for 'furniture abuse'.
"Marat is always very fiery as a character," said Federer, a 6-3, 7-6, 6-4 winner.
So Safin remains the sport's No 1 for stylish, entertaining tantrums. And his official ranking? He went into the tournament as the world No 75, but he has been on a fabulous run here, including beating Djokovic in the second round, and on Monday morning he will be back in the top 40.
Where does he go from here? Safin's talent for hitting a tennis ball has never been in doubt. He has a hulking physical presence on a court, a whipcrack forehand, and a hole-puncher of a serve. And that is what brought him the 2000 US Open title and the 2005 Australian Open title. But Safin has never found much consistency in his career.
Safin said: "I never lost my passion for the sport, otherwise I would have stopped a long time ago because for sure I'm not doing it for the money. We love to suffer and we love to win."
The Russian was certainly "suffering" on Centre Court yesterday. And so was the furniture.