Wilander faces Safin axe after early Paris exits

Marat Safin is not happy
with how his sesaon went (Allsport)
02 November 2001

By Sports.com's MATT MAJENDIE

Marat Safin will decide whether to part company with coach Mats Wilander in the coming week after his season ended prematurely on Thursday.

The former world number one had been aiming for the eighth and final place at the Tennis Masters Cup in Sydney later this month but was finally ruled out of contention when he lost in the Paris Masters Series to Andreas Vinciguerra. He was comfortably defeated 6-4, 6-4.

Afterwards he said he was happy the year was over and he would consider his and Wilander's future as a team for next season.

"We have to discuss things for next year and all these things," the Russian revealed. "Today or tomorrow I will know my future.

"I would like to improve something. I think we both know, so that's why it's important to sit and talk openly."

For Safin it was a disappointing and erratic season in which he struggled early with injury and later with extremely inconsistent form.

He already has his goals for 2002 and after his defeat to Schalken told reporters: "It is not the goal for me to stay number 10, number seven or even number six. For me the goal is to be in top five. Otherwise it's not interesting for me.

"I think it'll be alright if I start the year well. I think I have a big chance to be in the top three."

Safin was made to look sluggish by his unseeded Swede opponent in the French capital on Thursday, and was outpaced throughout the encounter.

He said: "Everything was just mad. I couldn't. Mentally I'm tired. That's the thing. Too many people, too much going on around us. I just couldn't anymore, I just couldn't handle it.

"Today I couldn't put the ball inside the court. Today, I was just dead."