Safin Working With Rosset During Clay Court Season

By Richard Pagliaro

In his continuing quest to find a full-time coach, Marat Safin has settled on someone he can look up to пїЅ 6-foot-7 Swiss Marc Rosset пїЅ to serve as his coach during the clay court season.

The tallest player on the ATP Tour along with Germany's Alexander Popp, Rosset carries some successful clay-court credentials. He reached the Roland Garros semifinals in 1996 and teamed with Jacob Hlasek to win the 1999 Roland Garros doubles title. Though the 31-year-old Rosset has not officially retired as a player and has little coaching experience, Safin said he is happy with the progress he's made working with the former eighth-ranked Rosset.

"Marc Rosset is helping me at this moment, he's trying to help me," Safin said. "Already, three weeks together and we're doing well."

The 2000 U.S. Open champion and former ATP leader in smashed racquets has gone through coaches faster than he once went through racquets. Safin has hired several coaches in his five-year career including Rafael Mensua, Briton Tony Pickard fellow Russians Andrei Chesnokov and Alexander Volkov, seven-time Grand Slam champion Mats Wilander and most recently, his business manager, Amit Naor, who still works with Safin.

During his run to the Australian Open final in January, Safin was accompanied by a sizeable entourage including coaches, trainers and attractive female friends making, which made the friend's box at Rod Laver Arena look a bit like a coaching convention attended by the Laker girls. The 22-year-old Safin has hired Amit Naor, his manager, as his coach for the time being despite Naor's limited experience coaching elite pros.

Though his coaching situation has been a position in transition, Safin is satisfied with his recent play.

"I'm playing well, I'm satisfied. I am confident," said Safin. "I think I'm going to be dangerous on clay, very dangerous. The way I'm playing at the moment I have a big chance. I hope this year I can finish No. 1, it would be a great present for me."