makes excuses for Paris Masters exit
When you have surrendered a title you battled so hard to win,
you can be entitled to a moan or two.
But Russia's Marat Safin, who was knocked out of the Paris Masters
in the third round on Thursday, left nothing to chance when
it came down to explaining his 6-4, 6-4 surrender at the hands
of Sweden's Andreas Vinciguerra.
The former U.S. Open winner and world No. 2, who had clinched
the title here in a thrilling five-set win over Mark Philippoussis
twelve months ago, offered up not one, two or even three reasons
why he may not have been at his best - but six explanations
as to why things did not go according to plan.
In order of appearance at the Russian's post-match inquest,
- "I have played six weeks in a row. I'm tired. Too much
time on the tennis courts."
- "In Russia, a lot of people came to the tournament. You
have to meet the press. Too much going on around us. I couldn't
handle it anymore."
- "I had problems with my back this year. I couldn't recover.
I couldn't make any good results."
- "I started to change racquets."
- "They could have put me on the center court in Paris.
I think I deserve it."
- "On Court One, the lights are different. I can't see
very well in those lights."
It's all a long way from this time last year when the 21-year-old
from Moscow had won his first Grand Slam title at Flushing Meadows,
collected seven tour crowns and had stashed away a healthy $3.5
million for his 12 months work.
Safin entered 2001 at No. 2 in the world but his season has
only picked up in recent months as he finally shrugged off his
nagging back problems to reach the semifinals at Indianapolis
and the U.S. Open before winning two tournaments in Tashkent
and St. Petersburg.
"It's been a strange year and a bad year," said Safin
whose defeat by Vinciguerra ended what slim hopes he had of
making it to the Masters Cup in Sydney later this month.
"Now I need to prepare myself for next year and try and
get in the top five. That's my goal. I am not interested in
being number six or seven. You can't get motivated that way.
"I'm happy that this year has finished. I couldn't give
anymore, but that's life. I was dead out there against Vinciguerra,"
said Safin who has still to decide on whether or not to continue
working with coach Mats Wilander next season.
"Some things need to be improved - we both know that. We
will have to sit down and talk about it."
Copyright пїЅ 2001 Nando Media
Copyright пїЅ 2001 Agence France-Presse