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Old 01-05-2003, 02:40 AM   #31
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Testing time for Safin

By JOHN THIRSK
05jan03

TOP seed Marat Safin faces a draw full of minefields in the adidas International, starting today.

The volatile and unpredictable Russian, who world No. 1 Lleyton Hewitt classes as the most dangerous competitor on his day, must overcome a difficult first-round match against Belgium's Olivier Rochus.
Safin will have to blank out his loss to the diminutive Rochus in the first round at Wimbledon last year.

A likely quarter-final between Safin and No. 6 seed Andy Roddick shapes as a serving duel.

The other potential quarter-final in the top half is an affair between defending champion Roger Federer, the No. 4 seed from Switzerland, and French Open champion Albert Costa, of Spain, the fifth seed.

Federer and Costa are among five competitors in the star-studded line-up who competed in the eight-man Tennis Masters Cup in Shanghai in November, which was won by Hewitt.

Safin was there alongside third-seeded Carlos Moya and his Spanish teammate Juan Carlos Ferrero, the No. 2 seed who took Hewitt to a heart-stopping five-set final.

The bottom half of the draw sets up an all-Spanish semi-final between world No. 4 Ferrero and No. 5 Moya, the player who defeated Hewitt four times in succession last year.

Two former World No. 1s, top seed Jennifer Capriati and Lindsay Davenport, seeded six, are scheduled to meet in an all-American women's semi-final in the top half.

The draw was not kind to Australian wildcard Nicole Pratt, who will meet Davenport in a first round.

The bottom half of the draw could see Belgians Kim Clijsters, seeded two, and Justine Henin-Hardene, seeded three, meet in a semi-final.
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Old 01-05-2003, 04:39 PM   #32
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Talking Interesting article!

Safin gives girls the flick
January 6 2003

The giant world No 3 from Russia will have fewer distractions in the stands than he did last summer, reports Jessica Halloran.

There will be no "beautiful bench". The blondes, with plunging necklines, the trio who adorned the Australian Open stands last year, had nothing to do with Mr Marat Safin.

Revelation No 1: they were not part of his entourage. There's no such thing as a "Safinette".

"Let's put it this way, I have nothing to do with these ladies. I'm not going to explain, but I have nothing to do with that, I swear to God," Safin said firmly.

"They were friends of my friends that asked me to get them tickets . . . I got them tickets, it's not a problem."

Revelation No 2: "They are not my types." Safin said this with a little grin - but he meant it. What is his type? "My type? Not this type."

And don't expect a new, authorised bench this summer. "Just myself - coach, doctor," he said.

No blondes, even though Safin clearly stated at the open in Melbourne last summer: "You have to admit I have an unbelievably beautiful bench." Not that they have anything to do with the giant Russian.

Safin's skin was a patchwork of sunburn yesterday after he practised on Rebound Ace. But his -30C Russian tan should soon disappear under the Sydney sun.

After working with five different coaches in the previous three seasons, Safin is back in Sydney with Denis Golovanov, whom he appointed last November. Golovanov is an "old friend" Safin grew up with.

"I make a deal with him for one year and let's see if we can do some great things this year," said the 22-year-old who is ranked No 3 in the world and is the top seed at the adidas International at Homebush Bay this week.

"It's difficult to find a guy who can coach and travel with you all the time and you can trust. I know him really well. I don't know if it's the right decision - a bad decision or a good decision - but it's a decision I made because I couldn't find any other guy I trust."

Safin would love nothing more than to win a grand slam event and be No 1 in the world.

"That's my goal [to get both], it's too much maybe, but that's the draw, we live because of the dreams."

But to achieve this "dream" he said some glitches in his game must be fixed - glitches he describes as "not a tennis thing" but a "mental thing".

"Sometimes my concentration just goes away in the game and it's difficult to [get it to] come back," he said.

"That's why sometimes I'm suffering. I understand this. I know what I have to do but it's really, really tough to bring myself to this level.

"I'm trying and I'm trying, and I'm growing up. I'll be 23 soon and I'm hoping I'll manage to bring this level to my game."

Safin said even though Lleyton Hewitt had shown less than stellar form at the Hopman Cup last week, the world No 1 would still be a real threat at the Australian Open.

Safin believes it's "more important not to play real well before a big tournament" because some players wear themselves down.

"It's better to start slowly and win a couple of matches," he said.

Safin was also philosophising about his life at yesterday's press conference. Softly spoken with his gentle hand gestures, he said his life was all about living for the moment.

"This is the best time . . . enjoy every moment of your life, every day and not regret afterwards," he said. "It's really important to enjoy what you are doing, enjoy the way you are living because time is running really fast, every year faster and faster and your best times are when you are young."
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Old 01-05-2003, 04:50 PM   #33
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Thanks AS for the article

I still find it hard to call Golovanov a coach. Sparring partner, good friend - yes. But not a coach. At least not the one that Marat really needs.

Let's see the outcome of this new partnership of Marat.
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Old 01-05-2003, 04:51 PM   #34
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thx a lot my sweet andy !
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Old 01-06-2003, 05:05 AM   #35
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thanx Andy for the article!

zosse, i agree with you. Denis is no coach. First of all, he's what, 22 yrs old? i've never heard of a 22 yr old coach. what can he teach Marat that Marat doesn't aldready know.
But as you say, lets give their partnership a chance. Maybe he helps Marat more than we give him credit for.
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Old 01-06-2003, 05:08 AM   #36
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SAFIN BACK, WITH NEW BLONDE

By PAUL MALONE

Sunday Herald-Sun, January 5, 2003


He's back and he's brought a new blonde with him.

Marat Safin, remembered for the bevy of blonde friends he assembled at the Australian Open last year as much as his power tennis, will again have heads turning this summer in the direction of the players' box.

Russia's world No. 3 has arrived in Sydney to begin his pursuit of Lleyton Hewitt's world championship crown as top seed in the $1.6 million adidas International, which starts today.

But there was no sign of Moscow model Katja Bestojeva, 22, who gained almost as much television exposure as Safin last January as she sat with two other blonde members of the Russian's "family."

Bestojeva sat in tight-fitting clothing at Melbourne Park along with Safin's three coaches and two more blonde supporters, Russian student Anna Gorski and Melbourne sales executive Di Vekoso.

Safin was understood to be travelling to Sydney with Amit Naor, an Israeli coach he had worked with on and off for two years, masseur Anatoly Glebov - and none of his 2002 blonde cheersquad.

The charismatic Russian instead flew in yesterday with Glebov, hitting partner Dennis Golovomov and a new blonde friend, understood to be Russian.

"Marat never has difficulty finding female supporters," a tour insider said. "His little black book would be pretty impressive."

Vekoso got to know Safin last year after an introduction bty Victorian player Mark Philippoussis and Gorski met him at a South Yarra restaurant early in the 2002 Australian Open.

Safin's coaching retinue and female supporters have been a cause of wonderment since he gained extra popularity with his 2000 US Open win.

Three men - Naor, Glebov and Roberto Brogin - wore 2002 Australian Open accreditation tags that read "coach, Marat Safin."

"He needs people around him who give him motivation and make the ambience around him quite relaxed," Brogin said. "He likes to go to restuarants and likes to speak to girls. But Marat makes noise if he goes to the discotheque."

Safin had a short-lived coaching association with former world No. 1 Mats Wilander in 2001, ending with Wilander mystified by Safin's approach to his game and the company he kept.
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Old 01-06-2003, 06:44 AM   #37
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Safin set to open 2003 campaign

7sport.com.au ... 06 January 2003 05:01pm

Marat Safin opens his quest to displace Lleyton Hewitt from the year-end No.1 tennis ranking on Tuesday when he takes on Belgian nemesis Olivier Rochus at the adidas International in Sydney.

Safin, the world No.3, is top seed in Sydney, but won't be underestimating the 63rd-ranked Rochus, who shocked the Russian in the second round at Wimbledon last year.

"It's a great chance for revenge," Safin said. "It was not my best match at Wimbledon."

On his day, few can match Safin's explosive power and deft shot-making and he has already signalled his desire to knock Hewitt off his perch.

On a bad day, though, Safin can be horrible.

The 22-year-old is aware of his shortfalls and said he was working hard on improving his concentration in order to fulfill his rich potential.

"Everybody has something but is missing something," Safin said.

"Lleyton Hewitt is an unbelievable fighter but he doesn't have big strokes. He doesn't have an unbelievable serve, unbelievable forehand and backhand.

"Sampras has an unbelievable forehand, but he is not really good on backhand.

"There is not one player who has everything. It's impossible.

"Take Agassi. He's an unbelievable baseline player, but he's not good at the net. He knows that everybody knows he has no clue at the net. (lol)

"Take anybody you want ... I have my problems also.

"My problem is not a tennis thing. It is mentally. Sometimes my concentration goes away in the game and it is difficult (to get it) to come back.

"That's why I am suffering sometimes. I understand this, I know what I have to do but it is really, really tough to bring myself to this level.

"I'm trying and I'm trying and I'm growing up. I'm going to be 23 soon and I'm hoping that I'll manage to bring this level to my game."
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Old 01-06-2003, 10:44 AM   #38
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LOL Marat Especially about Agassi

The boy seems to be maturing and bringing more analysis and rational things in his interviews. I like it
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Old 01-06-2003, 11:31 PM   #39
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Here's a cute article from the Daily Telegraph.

A bad case of writer's block
By James Hooper
January 7, 2003

IT sounded like one of those dream assignments - play tennis against world No.3 Marat Safin.

Cool. Marat and Hooper. Tennis star and sports journalist. Maybe we'll become mates. When we shake hands I expect the big Russian to be as cold as a vodka on the rocks but am pleasantly surprised.

"So you're not going to use me as target practice," I ask.

"No. I've already been practising for a couple of hours so you will just be the target," he replies.

He's a temperamental cus tomer who regularly serves the ball at more than 200km/h. The type of sports star who despises scribes who write all these nasty things about him.

Court nine of the adidas International, Marat Safin down the opposite end, with a large crowd gathering to watch me be embarrassed.

And so, let the game begin.

Safin starts off nice and easy, instructing me to play forehands and backhands with a smile that makes me suspicious, before starting to speed things up a bit.

Five minutes pass and Safin is laughing as I attempt a double-handed backhand that makes me look more like a wood-chopper than a tennis player.

A tournament official tells me to take a step back and watch for a minute. Safin is going to demonstrate the full power of his serve. The big-hitting tennis star fires down three rockets that make me turn as white as the Russian snow.

He looks over and motions towards me with a smile -- it's my turn.

The first ball bounces and then flies up off the court at my head. All I can do is shuffle left and point my racquet in the air. More smiles from Safin.

He politely tells me the next one is going to be aimed at my forehand.

To my astonishment the ball actually hits the racquet and goes back over the net. Safin hits it back and I hit it back again.

There's a rally on!

Next, 11-year old James Slee, from Killarney Heights, is picked from the crowd for a hit against his hero.

The kid knows how to hold a racquet and within a matter of seconds he's already upstaged me. I think I'll stick to reporting.

The Daily Telegraph
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Old 01-17-2003, 07:56 AM   #40
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AUST OPEN - Chips and lobs
By GRANTLEY BERNARD
14jan03
SOME players need to go through qualifying to get to the Australian Open. Other needs to go through rigmarole.

Big Russian Marat Safin apparently ran into a few problems when he boarded his flight from Sydney to Melbourne and was told the bag housing his racquets was too big to be considered cabin baggage.

The Purple Goat reports there was some debate between Safin and the cabin crew, who suggested the bag be placed in the cargo hold. Safin, though, was not being separated from his tools of trade.

The runner-up in last year's Open final indicated he would allocate a couple of racquets into various overhead lockers as the umming and aahing continued beyond scheduled departure. Eventually a compromise was reached, the racquets were stored, Safin took his seat and the flight left about 10 minutes late.
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Old 01-17-2003, 02:17 PM   #41
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Thanks for the funny article.
Good boy Marat. Stand up for yourself.
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Old 01-17-2003, 02:43 PM   #42
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Strangely, that's the only type of news we've been getting about Marat lately. Even Misha gets more media attention

Nobody is picking him as a true contender for the title and I think it is good. Marat is quietly progressing through the draw. But tonight he'll have a very difficult match. If he fights as hard as he did protecting his stuff, he'll win
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Old 01-17-2003, 05:56 PM   #43
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VOTE FOR MARAT ON ATP SITE.TEHY HAVE YOUR FAVE PLAYER POLL AGAIN!
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Old 01-17-2003, 08:08 PM   #44
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I think Marat likes it also that he doesn't get too much attention. He just does his thing and nobody expects anything from him. Sometimes he found it hard to play with so much expected from him, but now he can do his thing and progress slowly. I'm really hoping to see him win here and IMO he's capable of doing it this year.
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Old 01-18-2003, 01:03 PM   #45
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The start to this year is quite disappointing for Marat. Two tournaments - two withdrawals Well, but he is still undefeated and that's probably the only good thing about that. I hope he'll be fit for the Davis Cup.

I post his interview below:

Marat Safin Withdraws
Saturday, 18 January, 2003

Transcribed Interview

MODERATOR: Questions for Marat.

Q. What's the reason for your withdrawal?
MARAT SAFIN: My wrist is bothering me, and I decided not to play.

Q. Disappointed?
MARAT SAFIN: Yeah, kind of.

Q. When did you feel the pain for the first time?
MARAT SAFIN: In the first match. I fall down, and then I hit the backhand a little bit too late, and I felt some pain here. Afterwards, for the second match, they put me injection, so I didn't feel in the second match. Afterwards, at night, I had my wrist really big. Just I couldn't move it. So no reason to play.

Q. Is there a diagnosis?
MARAT SAFIN: Yeah, is a cut in the ligament.

Q. A what?
MARAT SAFIN: A small cut.

Q. In the ligament?
MARAT SAFIN: Yes.

Q. Do you know how long you will be out?
MARAT SAFIN: The doctor says two, three weeks. Vacations (smiling).

Q. When you say you're kind of disappointed, are you looking forward to a little bit of rest now?
MARAT SAFIN: Yeah. Yeah, some time off, because of long season last year, I have a few weeks now off. It will be good. Is good for me.

Q. Will you be ready for Davis Cup?
MARAT SAFIN: I'm not sure. Not sure. I will see. I will check every week. I will try to do something to help to recover and we'll see. But I'm not sure for Davis Cup will be ready.

Q. What sort of treatment do you have to get for this sort of injury?
MARAT SAFIN: Not much you can do. Ice, laser. Doctors, they know.

Q. Mostly rest?
MARAT SAFIN: Yeah.

Q. Do you feel like you've been very unlucky in Australia this year? The shoulder in Sydney, now this wrist.
MARAT SAFIN: Yeah, but I'm unbeatable in Australia (smiling). Yeah, actually was very bad luck. I started to play well in Sydney, I got injured with problems with my shoulder. Here, very first match, just got injured. Because I'm already in second round, I start to play better. To fly 24 hours here, you know, leave from here without any success is not really good. That's life. What you can do?

Q. You've talked a lot about the long season, more time off. I'm wondering if you're going to reduce your schedule this year? Do you think these injuries are a result of playing too much last year?
MARAT SAFIN: Yeah, because everybody's getting injured. As you can see, tennis is becoming too physical. Everybody's trying to play tournaments and everybody -- because level of tennis is so high, the bodies of the players, they cannot anymore. So that's why you need to take a few weeks' rest. Every time you play two, three weeks, you also need to take a few weeks off, otherwise you cannot, because the body is getting tired really fast.

Q. Will you play less this year, do you think, than last year?
MARAT SAFIN: Even if before I played like around 35 weeks a year, so now if you're playing 25, is more than enough. I've been playing last year not so much actually. Play 25 weeks. You cannot play less. In the Masters Series, with Davis Cup, with Grand Slams, it's becoming already 19 weeks. But you also have to play a few tournaments, some other tournaments. So it's already 25.
And the schedules, we don't have rest at all, the tennis players. So it's difficult.

Q. I know you're no longer in the tournament. Who do you think might get through your quarter of the draw, Blake or Federer? Who do you think might win the title?
MARAT SAFIN: I didn't even see the draw. I don't really care. Definitely the best one who's in the best shape right now. The same people like Federer. But everybody can play tennis. Everybody can be in the semifinals. I don't need to just say the names. Everybody can be there, even the people who are not seeded can also play great tennis. We'll see. I really don't know.

Q. You've spoken about drug testing. Do you still feel the same way, that you're not in favor of it, it's too invasive in players' lives?
MARAT SAFIN: Yeah, but the people, they're not taking anything, so they don't have to be scared. I'm not scared. I believe, and I still believe, the player to be able to play great tennis, you don't have to take -- you don't need to take drugs, you know. Just to play a tennis match, you can have the vitamins, all these things, but you don't need to take drugs to be able to play a match of the year.

Q. But you don't think it's necessary to do testing?
MARAT SAFIN: Of course, why not? We've been doing test like every year since I'm playing. We are doing drug testing, so why not? They don't have to go too deep. That's their decisions. I'm not scared. Just whatever the people, they say, we do. If it's good for tennis, that's great. If it's a great idea to make drug testing, I'm okay with that.

Q. Have you been selected at random this week for any blood testing?
MARAT SAFIN: No.

Q. Did the doctor advise you to not play?
MARAT SAFIN: Yeah. I asked. I can feel myself I cannot just hold the racquet. I spoke to the doctor. He said, "Just don't do that."
Still a long time to go. The year is just beginning. Just one tournament, why would I destroy all my season? I prefer to stop now, even if it's a Grand Slam. Still the health is more important than the rest of the things.

Q. When do you go back to Russia?
MARAT SAFIN: Today.

Q. If you cannot play Davis Cup, what will be your next tournament?
MARAT SAFIN: I will try to come back for Rotterdam for indoors, play a few weeks before the Masters Series, Indian Wells, Miami, play a few matches. I'm not sure I'm going to be ready for Davis Cup. I'll try to do my best. But otherwise Rotterdam, Dubai.

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