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Old 11-10-2009, 08:09 PM   #3106
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Default Re: News & Articles Part 3 - The Return of the Yeti

Agassi should return titles says Safin – Well, he’s right, of course and bravo to him for having the balls to say it out loud.

"I'm not defending the ATP, but what he said put it in a delicate position," Safin said –Yes, you do. And if they don’t offer you some interesting position, they are a bunch of fools. Or do they?

"If he is as fair play as he says he is, he has to go to the end," Safin said. "You know, the ATP has a bank account and he can give the money back if he wants." – Bitch’s right.

The 29-year-old Russian said he isn't going to write his autobiography when his career will be over. – Pity. That must have been thrilling in a orgiastic decadent way … Hopefully, Tursunov will…

"Me, I don't need money," he said. – Verrryyy glad to hear it!!! I would hate my personal favorite “from rags to riches” needing money.

"The question is: Why did he do this? What is done is done. Does he hope to sell more books? It's absolutely stupid." – Homegirl being opinionated as usual… Please, just don’t get into politics!
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Old 11-11-2009, 02:47 PM   #3107
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Default Re: News & Articles Part 3 - The Return of the Yeti

Just posted @ BleacherReport:

http://bleacherreport.com/articles/2...-down-swinging



Game, Set, Career.

Marat Safin waved goodbye to the ATP Tour Wednesday after a powerhouse performance against Juan Martin Del Potro at Bercy.

The final scoreboard showed a 6-4 5-7 6-4 victory for the Argentine, but Safin gave his best performance of the year and came away with warm cheers from a supportive crowd. Following the match, tournament organizers presented him with a key to the city where he's won three times.

The Russian came to play, not submit to a farewell beating. He served 15 aces to DelPo's 11, saved seven break points, and found winners in every corner. The storied backhand down the line was on display, and Safin challenged the U.S. Open champion with his signature touch of finesse at the net.

It's been said that on any given day, Safin is the game's greatest talent. Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, among others, are consistently better. But no one has been blessed with so many natural gifts for the sport as the mercurial Russian.

Those gifts were showcased in two of the finest matches ever played: the 2000 U.S. Open final, a demolishing of Pete Sampras, and the 2005 Australian Open semi-final where Safin dealt a crushing blow to Federer's 26-match winning streak.

Though injuries and self-berating kept Safin from seriously challenging Federer's dominance over the last decade, the big man leaves tennis with an immeasurable gap to fill.

Finding a replacement for the prototype body, the marquee good looks, and the fighting spirit won't be so hard. Del Potro matches Safin in height and build, Fernando Verdasco and Feliciano Lopez hold their own in the cover model category, and any number of players bring heart. But who else has all these traits combined with the larger-than-life showmanship, brooding intellect, and sharp wit? Will there ever be a tennis star -- not player -- as complete as Marat Safin?

Asked in his closing ceremony what his greatest memories of tennis are, he swiftly answered, "Today. . . . this is the day where all my memories will be in one box. I'm closing one door, hopefully another door will be opened."

Safin once said, "On court, some secret features of a character start appearing. You can't hide anything." He has famously been an open book both on the baseline and in the press room, but one well-kept secret is his post-retirement plan.

The 29-year-old says he wants to achieve more, taking up another profession. He's hinted at studying law and business, but gives no specifics, saying only that he'll begin with time on a beach somewhere to decompress.

When asked whether he'll simply disappear, he reassured fans, "You'll see me." And, we will. Safin plans to make an encore appearance in January's Hong Kong Tennis Classic exhibition.

As the jumbotron in Paris aptly read today, "Merci, Marat. A bientot." Thank you, indeed.

Story: Andrea Nay
Photo: Reuters
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Old 11-11-2009, 02:52 PM   #3108
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Talking Re: News & Articles Part 3 - The Return of the Yeti

Marat is the most real person on the planet he says what he want to say he is intact I love you my little Tatar
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Old 11-11-2009, 04:30 PM   #3109
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Default Re: News & Articles Part 3 - The Return of the Yeti

Yes, please, let us see you again Marat!
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Old 11-11-2009, 06:40 PM   #3110
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Default Re: News & Articles Part 3 - The Return of the Yeti

He said he might play some seniors I think, If he is, I'll be there.
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Old 11-11-2009, 08:48 PM   #3111
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Default Re: News & Articles Part 3 - The Return of the Yeti

Quote:
Marat TV: Knocking Out the Federer

Posted 11/11/2009 @ 3 :30 PM


The long, ragged farewell was brought to a suitable end today. Marat Safin, 6-foot-4 champion of the past, lost his last match to a 6-foot-5 champion of the future, Juan Martin del Potro. You might say a torch was passed—both guys beat all-time champions at the U.S. Open as 20-year-olds to win their first majors—except that I’m not sure del Potro is looking to pick this particular torch up and run with it.

But Safin’s loss was appropriate, and so was the manner in which it transpired. As usual, he showed flashes of flowing brilliance, and as usual, he couldn’t summon them at the very end of a tight match. For today, let’s remember one of the exceptions to that Safin rule, the best match he ever played, and one where he summoned his flowing brilliance all to the way into the 15th round.

If any match is worthy of a music-video treatment, if was Safin’s 9-7-in-the-fifth-set win over Roger Federer, the man he called “the Federer,” in the semifinals of the 2005 Australian Open. That’s the treatment it gets here, to the tune of the Who’s “Baba O’Reilly.” And once you get used to it, it does add a certain momentum to these highlights. My favorite line from the song—“I don’t need to be forgiven”—might even sum up Safin’s career as he walks away.

—Unlike most YouTube highlight reels, this one doesn’t show entire points. It’s cut all the way down to the memorable strokes. It gives you an idea of what these guys were doing best that day, and how many shots still stick in the collective tennis memory from this match.

—On Federer’s side, there’s a drop shot that’s threaded so finely it can only be described as vicious. There’s a shot-hop backhand pass that could be sent off in a time capsule as an example of his smoothness under pressure. There’s a skyhook overhead, and an inside-out backhand return winner that seems to shock Safin. And there’s the ill-advised tweener he tried at match point in the fourth set. He didn’t need to hit it, and the choice cost him.

—On Safin’s side, there’s a half-volley drop shot winner that shows off McEnroe-like touch. There are numerous thudding backhands up the line, culminating in the best of the evening, the one that brought Federer to his knees on the final point. And then there’s the get Safin made and the lob he hit over Federer to save that match point in the fourth set. Did we know he could run that fast?

—Safin’s confidence and determination grow as these highlights accumulate. He has said that winning this tournament was very important to him because he needed to prove to himself that he could take home a second major. He was never a guy who could keep that level of belief up for long, but perhaps doing it this time was enough for him. He’ll always know that he really was that good.

—The match reminds me of the del Potro-Federer Open final in many ways. You have a taller, heavier hitter trying to batter through the skinny, springy Federer and his wildly curving shots. In both of those matches, as well as in the 2008 Wimbledon final, Federer almost snuck through a match where his opponent was playing lights-out, only to lose in the end.

—Fittingly, this one ends on a high note. You can see some exhaustion from both guys in the fifth set, but after nailing all those backhands down the line, Safin puts the last one even closer to the corner. That’s how accurate he was with it that day. Federer finally succumbed, but he forced Safin to throw the final punch and literally knock him to the ground.

—I may miss Safin's handshakes the most. Win or lose, he was always respectful of his opponent; he always realized it was just a game—in some ways, he was too gentlemanly. At first I was surprised by his harsh reactions this week to the Agassi revelations. But then he was always a guy who believed in the solidarity of the players, that it shouldn't be every man for himself. It makes sense that he would see Agassi as betraying that.

Notice also his muted celebration here. It was exactly like his muted celebrations after both of his Slam wins. He doesn’t want to revel in his opponent’s defeat, and he knows that winning a tennis match is not the most important thing in this world. That attitude might have hurt him as a player, but it made him a favorite of everyone who played with him and those of us who watched him. He was one of the guys. And in his “failures”—to master his nerves, to discipline himself, to live up to his potential—Safin was one of us.

***

There's more from me on Marat over at ESPN.com. Paris talk tomorrow.
From Steve Tignor's blog at Tennis.com
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Old 11-11-2009, 08:56 PM   #3112
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Default Re: News & Articles Part 3 - The Return of the Yeti

Steve Tignor has Marat fever today. (This is the ESPN.com blog mentioned at the end of the above post)

Quote:
Five things we'll miss about Marat

Wednesday, November 11, 20009
Posted by Stephen Tignor, TENNIS.com

Bet on it: At some point in the near future, you will hear the following words. "I wish tennis still had guys like Marat Safin, crazy guys who would smash all their racquets. That's when the game had personality."

In this way, Safin is destined to become the modern-day Ilie Nastase. Like Nasty, he was blessed with otherworldly talent, but not with the mental discipline to consistently make the most of it. Each ended his career with two Grand Slam titles, but each will be remembered primarily as a charismatic character rather than a champion.

That's only fair, but there will be more to miss about Safin than just his ability to splinter a stick. Here are five aspects of the man and his game that tennis will be poorer without.

The sound of his shots
If greatness in tennis were measured sonically, Safin would be the player of the era, not Roger Federer. Whether he was practicing around the corner from you, or playing in the final of a major, there was no mistaking the thudding echo of the ball coming off his strings, especially when he rifled a winning backhand up the line.

Speaking of that backhand …
Safin squandered much of his talent, but he had such a surfeit of it that he still made a lasting contribution to the sport's evolution. When he debuted in the late-90s, he was one of the first men to take the two-hander up the line for a winner on a regular basis. Until then, the inside-out forehand, as developed by Ivan Lendl and Jim Courier, had dominated. The all-around slugfest that characterizes the men's game today was born.

His sense of honor
After his final match Wednesday, Safin said, "I've been great to everybody, even if I had a few fights with chair umpires." More than his achievements, this seems to have been what Safin valued most. His solidarity with his fellow players didn't help him win matches; if he lacked anything essential as a player, it was a killer instinct. But I'll miss his postmatch handshakes, and the respect he showed his opponents whether he'd won or lost. It was the same respect that led him to keep his celebrations muted even after he won his Grand Slams. He was one of the guys.

His human side
The popular belief is that Safin was too much of a hothead to be a champion. But his problem may have been that he was too normal. He didn't love having to get up and hit the same shot over and over and over every day. He didn't love answering questions about his life. He often couldn't master his nerves in close matches. He had good days followed by bad and found it hard to keep his eyes glued to the ultimate goal. Does this sound like anyone you know? Yourself, perhaps?

His fans
Tennis needs champions and warriors, but a good-looking rogue doesn't hurt, either. You could always tell one of his matches was happening just by the feeling in air around it -- there was an edgy sense of anticipation. The court overflowed with fans who were waiting -- hoping -- for the big guy to blow a gasket. Just like I'll miss hearing his strings hitting a ball, I'll miss walking into a side court at a Slam and hearing the crowd's buzz. It wasn't a buzzy, really; it was a titter. What other proof of Safin's value to the sport do we need? A million girls around the world can't be wrong.

http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/blog/...48&name=tennis
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Old 11-11-2009, 08:58 PM   #3113
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Default Re: News & Articles Part 3 - The Return of the Yeti

Requiem for a Ramblin' Man

by Pete Bodo

As anyone on the planet who's even remotely interested in tennis knows, Marat Safin is now officially retired from tennis. It's the last we'll see of him. I'm not sure I'd take that one to the bank. More than one tennis player has left the game to fling himself off the dock in the real world, only to fall. . .and fall. . . and fall. Never hit the water. Fall back up and find himself at the edge of the dock again, racket in hand, ready to backtrack to the ATP Tour for one last fling, or on to senior tour, where he can find one of the most satisfying, irreplaceable experiences of the athlete's life - the bonhomie of the locker room.

It may not seem like sitting around buck nekkid but for the towel wrapped around your waist, scratching your privates, while you banter and tell war stories is all that rich or enlightening an experience, but most career pro athletes aren't the kinds of people who aspire to graduate to brain surgery or playing violin for the New York Philharmonic. They inhabit a carefully sublimated world of daily warfare, in which the stress of battle is such that you require no further mission or objective for any given day. Just get through it, and worry about tomorrow tomorrow.

Competition is self-justifying and addictive, unless you happen to be really bad at it. Then you tend to pooh-pooh it's value, and the extent to which it can bestow a degree of basic, almost physical honor on those who master it's demands.


The day a player, especially one of Safin's ability and stature, wakes up with no combat to contemplate, seems at first both a gift and a novelty. That wears off quickly enough. Before long it can seem mostly lonely. That's one reason you'll never find me criticizing a player who's either trying to hang on when the game has passed him by, or who comes trotting back to the game like a lost puppy after being unable to land with a big splash in the real world. Hang on until they drag you away with a team of horses; it's unlikely that as productive and satisfying as whatever comes next may be, it will ever be as vibrant, or framed in such gloriously simple terms as the game. Living life in the monochromatic blacks and whites of Ws and Ls, and the emotions and relation-shaping understandings that come with them, is a privilege and luxury.


I once asked Jimmy Connors what he would most miss when he retired (and as callow as Connors was, he had a surprisingly wise grasp of what leaving the game means), and he didn't say a word. He just slowly raised his hand and imitated the motion of someone clapping.

This may be germane to Safin's prospects on day one of his new life, because he always seemed to be something like the quintessential "ramblin' man" romanticized in pop and country music. On the surface, the ATP tour was an ideal place for someone as seemingly footloose and emotionally shiftless as Safin. In another life, he might have been one of those lifelong backpackers, traveling from one hostel to the next, from one "experience" to another, the day taken up by travel, eating, finding a place to wash your socks. He always seemed more willing to see what the day brings, rather than seizing it.


Has there ever appeared to be anything permanent, or seemingly commitment-driven, in Safin's life? Not that I'm aware of, but I won't pretend to see into his soul. Perhaps he's spent the past three years salting away his earnings and planning to build a school for children left homeless by earthquakes. Somehow, I doubt it.

What I just wrote non-withstanding, I wouldn't underestimate the way Safin was able to survive and thrive on the world tennis tour. Because there's another, counter-intuitive truth in play. A certain kind of novelist might be tempted to model a deracinated, existentalist type of character on Marat Safin. But the reality is that so many of the players who have done as well as Safin are highly-focused and driven, organized, calm, and basically domestic. In other words, everything Safin is not. Underachiever? Not when you measure Safin by the yardstick of temperament; if anything, his extraordinary degree of talent managed to triumph on many big occasion over his powerful slacker gene. He was a player of the highest quality despite himself, not because of it.


Safin was much-loved partly because, like many other handsome, healthy, smart young men, he resisted the temptation to even try to make more of himself than he naturally desired. Has Safin ever shown even a smidgen of commitment to anything but his own desire to be true to himself - a trap into which many a potentially "good man" or woman has fallen? Safin was more bad boy than good man; being a tennis player he was able to get away with it. But that isn't the best preperation life after the game.


The world is littered with unhappy women who thought they could take a Safin-esque kind of guy and reform him, inspire him to be an achiever - to bend to the pressure and join the vast majority of men who embrace the call of responsibility, hard work, even family-building. But all his adult life, Safin seemed hellbent on clinging to something like his authenticity.Maybe he just wanted to stretch his youth to its fullest. He never let the challenge of success, or the voices of those who spoke for it, put him on a straight and narrow path. He had no interest in donning the same hair shirt Pete Sampras put on, or in using tennis as a tool for rehabilitation and making peace with the world, a la late-stage Andre Agassi. A ramblin' man just doesn't do that kind of thing.


There are dozens of Marat Safins knocking around the bohemian precincts of any city, but very few of them drop in to New York or Melbourne to pick up the odd Grand Slam title. This underestimates the work Safin put into becoming the player he was, but remember - that work, those endless hours in the hot sun, those long days spent following the same color-by-numbers schedule, is always done long before you ever heard even the name of the player in question. And it's done by players who never came close to becoming what Safin is - a multiple Grand Slam champion and former no. 1. Safin mastered a skill at a young age, and well-enough, and with enough additional, slowly-developing advantages (mainly, size and power, if not outstanding durability) to have become the best player in the world.

Grand Slam title are great, but there's a special, sometimes overlooked distinction to having been the best player in the world, no matter how brief your dominion. That ranking is more a validation than a singular achievement; it's like having made the summit of Mt. Everest. Nobody will ever climb a higher mountain, who cares if they insisted on taking the hike two, three, seventeen times? Once you've been no. 1, you're a no. 1 forever. That others were no.1 before you, or will be after you, makes no difference at all. Everyone's tenure in that position is, in terms of real time, absurdly brief. So everyone who's been there is, in some vital way, equal.

A common theme when we talk about Safin is self-sabotage; it's a useful strategy for any person who doesn't want to change, or grow up, or lose touch with some situational nexus that's enabled him to feel secure, and tucked into a personal comfort zone. I'm not the only one who thinks that Safin's soul and mind are a pinata that any therapist would give his eye teeth to whack. And truth be told, he never seemed more like. . . himself. . . than when he just made a mess of some match and gave the assembled press a good half-hour worth of self-bashing and dark, fatalistic introspection. He may be a narcissist, he certainly was a ham. But let's not confuse that with Safin being a phony; for he certainly was not that. The term "drama queen" should not be gender specific.

One thing I loved about Safin is that he was nearly impossible to interview. You just didn't have question-and-answer sessions with the guy. He saw through the way a typical interview seeks easy, simple answers to questions that, to him, probably open more doors than they aim to shut. You might ask him a question, and he would then talk about something that may or not have anything to do with what you were trying to get at. It was like he was covertly saying: I know the game you're trying to play here, and it's not going to work. This wasn't necessarily because he held journalists in scorn; it was more an expression of his fundamental ambivalence, and a fleeing from rather than drawing toward things like clarity, resolution, taking a position. At some level, he was very much a live-and-let-live guy. He was at his worst when you tried to pin him down on something, at his best when you gave him a chance to cut to the chase and deliver an opinion.


What Safin brought to the game, for better and sometimes worse, was a Big Personality. That's quite a contribution, when you consider the extent to which tennis is personality drive - both in terms of how personality shapes players' careers and results, and also in why and how people love and follow tennis. With the increased level of commitment required to succeed at tennis, and a relatively new but ever growing premium on becoming, for want of a better term, one-dimensional, Safin was something of a throwback.

Tennis will be a poorer game if the day ever comes when there isn't a Marat Safin ramblin' around and that day, alas, is here.
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Old 11-11-2009, 11:16 PM   #3114
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Default Re: News & Articles Part 3 - The Return of the Yeti

Quote:
If greatness in tennis were measured sonically, Safin would be the player of the era, not Roger Federer. Whether he was practicing around the corner from you, or playing in the final of a major, there was no mistaking the thudding echo of the ball coming off his strings, especially when he rifled a winning backhand up the line.
Hallelujah! I've never seen anyone else put this in writing, but it's all too familiar.

The first time I saw Safin practice, he was thud, thud, thudding aces one right after another. I'd never heard a ball come off a racquet like that before.

There's a section of side courts in Cincinnati back by the parking lot. Later that week, after he'd lost and presumably left town, I turned that corner to come in for the morning session. Because of the mesh backstop, you can't quite make out who the players are. But, I heard the same "thud, thud, thud." I got through the entry gates, went over to those courts, and sure enough, there he was . . . hitting with Fernando Gonzalez the day after they'd both lost.

Skip forward to French Open this year. He was practicing on Court 1. Roland Garros does not put out practice schedules, so you're forced to walk court-to-court looking for whomever you wish to see. As we approached the entrance to this particular court, I heard it again: "thud, thud, thud." Could it be? Yep, there he was, echoing even louder because of the empty stadium seats surrounding him.

Someday I'll go on Inside the Actors Studio (we can dream). James Lipton will ask his usual, "What is your favorite sound?" I'll have to answer, "The sound of Marat Safin swatting a tennis ball."

This video comes pretty close, especially toward the end. Turn up your speakers!

Safin Hitting in Cincy
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Old 11-12-2009, 04:16 AM   #3115
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Default Re: News & Articles Part 3 - The Return of the Yeti

Quote:
Originally Posted by aj*smile View Post
Hallelujah! I've never seen anyone else put this in writing, but it's all too familiar.

The first time I saw Safin practice, he was thud, thud, thudding aces one right after another. I'd never heard a ball come off a racquet like that before.

There's a section of side courts in Cincinnati back by the parking lot. Later that week, after he'd lost and presumably left town, I turned that corner to come in for the morning session. Because of the mesh backstop, you can't quite make out who the players are. But, I heard the same "thud, thud, thud." I got through the entry gates, went over to those courts, and sure enough, there he was . . . hitting with Fernando Gonzalez the day after they'd both lost.

Studio (we can dream). James Lipton will ask his usual, "What is your favorite sound?" I'll have to answer, "The sound of Marat Safin swatting a tennis ball."

This video comes pretty close, especially toward the end. Turn up your speakers!

Safin Hitting in Cincy
Well said, AJ! I still remember vividly when I recorded this vid. The "thud" was always overwhelming, especially when he got angry

I sure will miss that thud.
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Old 11-12-2009, 01:57 PM   #3116
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Default Re: News & Articles Part 3 - The Return of the Yeti

Power + stringing your racket at over 65lbs = thud.
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Old 11-12-2009, 02:40 PM   #3117
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Default Re: News & Articles Part 3 - The Return of the Yeti

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Someday I'll go on Inside the Actors Studio (we can dream). James Lipton will ask his usual, "What is your favorite sound?" I'll have to answer, "The sound of Marat Safin swatting a tennis ball."
So true, especially that backhand, it's unmistakable, sounds like a gunshot
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Old 11-12-2009, 08:17 PM   #3118
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Default Re: News & Articles Part 3 - The Return of the Yeti

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Steve Tignor has Marat fever today. (This is the ESPN.com blog mentioned at the end of the above post)
Ah Steve.
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Old 11-13-2009, 08:10 AM   #3119
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Default Re: News & Articles Part 3 - The Return of the Yeti

What other proof of Safin's value to the sport do we need? A million girls around the world can't be wrong.
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I would love to see that!
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Old 11-13-2009, 08:47 AM   #3120
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Default Re: News & Articles Part 3 - The Return of the Yeti

transcript from the press conference?
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