RUSSIAN MAXIM INTERVIEW 2003
Marat Safin never asked the eternal question:" Why do I exist in this world?" From his childhood years he knew exactly what he was made for - in order to overcome pain and fury, and to run around a green court, chasing after a yellow ball. He became a top sports star, the guest of kings and Presidents, the permanent hero of telecasts and the dream of millions of girls worldwide. But was this enough to make him feel like he has succeeded in life? - Even Marat doesn't know yet.
So here is a conversation with the tennis-player about bananas, ugonshchikakh [??} and the leader of the world proletariat.
" Safin lifestyle " - what is that?
I do not have a [ lifestyle] concept. [ I live by ]The word of honor.
So lets use this conversation to find out. Do you have any philosophical concept of a supernatural existence?
Probably, there is [something] - somewhere. I will look deeper when I need to at a convenient time.
If I was Marat Safin, then each morning when I woke up I would say:" Thanks, Lord, for the fact that I am Marat Safin ". Do you do that?
No. I say:" Thanks for the fact that I had parents, who selected a profession for me.Thanks for the coaches, who taught me everything that I know.Thanks for sponsors, who believed in me ".
Doesn't this heavy load of appreciation oppress you?
No. Finally I realised that there were many forces who came together at the beginning to make me who I am.
Tell me honestly - do you love tennis? Does the game itself still please you? - or are you tired of it?
In my opinion everyone should take pleasure out of what they do for as long as they can.
Especially, if you do well at it. Did you actually play since you were five months old?
No, certainly not. This crazy myth arose after my mom - an excellent tennis player herself and a good trainer - she described in an interview that she took me on court, because there was no-one to babysit me. I wasn't taught tennis until later - from about the age of five. And I didn't show any special ability, by the way, since I really did not want play tennis.
If you had not become a tennis-player - what would you have done?
It always seems to me a pointless thing - to sit and to think: 'what would happen, if life had turned out differently?' Well, I would not be a tennis-player - I would have become a football player. Probably, a bad one. Or I would be involved in business? In any event, I wouldn't be me, but some other man with an entirely different fate.
By the way, about fate. I look at you: you are twenty three years old, you are beautiful, rich in success - a world star. Through such an impression, it would seem there is nothing left to wish for. Is it not boring to live, having done so much? Is there no feeling, that there is nothing thing more to strive for, to want, nowhere to aim?
I hate this term:" star ". Stars - they are in space, just large spheres of heated gas. But me - I'm Marat Safin, a normal person, with problems, pleasures and troubles. What does it mean - " nothing left to want "? Naturally, I want to be the number one again.
Yes but you've already achieved that - where do you go now?
Again, become the number one. Do it again and again. This is life in sport - to constantly win in order to feel happy.
Well, are there other things that please you? - Things that have nothing in common with the racket and the balls?
Certainly. I love life in general - with all its elements. Simply, I treat them without fanaticism.
And what is your present pleasure? Give us specifics. In the casino, for example, do you love to risk things? As a person, who lives frequently in Monte Carlo, you are obliged to visit the gambling institutions...
I go sometimes - but not for the game, but when I am meeting with friends. The last time I played was a year and a half ago.
And did you lose a million?
I won five hundred dollars.Then three days in a row, I ate supper in restaurants with the pleasant thought, that I was eating for free.
You love to eat well?
That's not the right word. But for me it is constantly necessary to observe a diet.
Yes, I know that the tennis-players eat bananas - around the courts there's always bananas. You've probably exhausted an entire plantation of these fruits?
Bananas? I hate them ! I was overfed them as a child. No, but I do love a good borsch, beetroot soup, cutlets - with fried potatoes, chesnochkom[??] ?
What else do you like? Nice cars?
I admit it.
To press the gas pedal to the floor at the speed of 300 km an hour?
Well no, this pleasure is for those who want to become organ donors. I'm not ready to give my benefit to these people yet; therefore I drive accurately. But good cars please me - and who doesn't love good cars?
Once, your BMW was stolen. If they are reading this interview, what would you like to say to them?
Guys, since you had chance to take the car and not get caught, then I hope that it gives you happiness. Let someone get pleasure from this situation.
Are you always so kind and generous?
I'm not very generous - I don't make enough money to send gifts to strangers. But I love to give gifts to people close to me.
For example, to women?
For example, by them. [the thieves?]
You love women in general?
I sincerely believe that all women are excellent - each in their own way. No two in the world are the same.
Therefore to stay with just one is not possible?
Don't put someone elses strange ideas in my mouth. On the contrary, I consider that it is the perfect ideal when you find the one, and I hope that this will happen to me.
And what type of woman will have the best chance with you - a fellow celebrity?
Famous girls don't interest me particularly.
You do know that in this edition of Maxim number you will be included in a " fashioncollection " with Anna Kournikova? She will be on the cover of the periodical, and you will be in the fashion section.
It is good, I have nothing against Anna. We, by the way, were in the same sports school together.
Did you pull her by the plaits? [hair]
No, even then she was well-known, so she was more likely to be pushed by her crowd of friends!
So her plaits were reliably protected from you?
Yes I didn't want to hurt her. [???]
Does that mean, you will search for yourself a simple and modest girl, simply a very beautiful girl?
Why " very beautiful "? Beauty - this not the most important thing, it's the basic character of a woman [that's important]
But in what essence?
In her soul, in her nature, in her mind.
Do clever women scare you?
No. I try to read alot.
And what are you reading?
I'm interested in the phenomenon - he was this weak, small person but he knew how to impose his will on millions of people.
......who never held a racket in his hands.
This indeed is a gift - to subordinate itself to those surroundings. A very special talent.
Where do you have more fans - in Russia or in Europe?
Here, in Russia.
People often approach you on the streets, in the cafe? Does this irritate you?
On the whole, no. True, it's unpleasant, when you sit in a restaurant, for example, with friends, and toward you suddenly charges a complete stranger and he begins to recite a lecture: " here you did this incorrectly, and on the return he was weakened, but in the last set you did not know how to be focussed? "
And what did you do? Stand up and argue with him? [ give neck]
No. I said " thanks alot, next time I will try to play better "
You have an iron endurance.
You learn to live with it. But someone on the street often approaches you and begins:" You are Safin ? No, really- Safin? No, sorry, you are just similar to Safin." Therefore, when they ask me, who I am, usually I say that I'm a cousin or brother of Safin.
This proves that you are modest?
It's very foolish to prove what you are. But life is too short to waste it on trifles.
Interviews by Tatiana Oleynik from " MAXIM " - " Maxim fashion" (osen'/zima 2003)
Russian source: marat-safin.narod.ru
Translated by Ruth