March 12, 2003
PACIFIC LIFE OPEN , Indian Wells, California
M. SAFIN/M. Philippoussis 6-4, 6-3
An interview with: MARAT SAFIN

MODERATOR: Questions.

Q. It seems you were more quiet on the court today?

MARAT SAFIN: Yeah. I had no power because I was actually very sick last night. I took some antibiotics. I'm feeling like a little bit weak. But just I try to stay focus and try to finish, try to do -- try to play a little bit faster, you know, like stay calm and try to concentrate from the first point, just play my game. I was successful.

Q. What were you sick with? Was it a flu?

MARAT SAFIN: Just sick from my stomach, throwing up, and I had fever last night. I had to take some antibiotics.

Q. And now it's better?

MARAT SAFIN: Yeah. But still I feel a little bit, you know, like I don't have too much energy. So I'm trying to survive.

Q. Do you think it was something you ate?

MARAT SAFIN: Probably. It cannot be from anything else.

Q. There's been a lot of talk about Pete's retirement. What do you think he's going to do? What do you feel? What would you do if you were in his place?

MARAT SAFIN: Yeah, but I don't know what he has in his brain. I mean, he's doing whatever he wants. Probably he doesn't want to play for the moment at all. I don't know. I cannot judge the guy who was the best player of all times, and the guy who won 14 Grand Slams. So I'm not the person to judge here.
He has to do whatever he feels like. If he feels like playing, great. If he doesn't want to play, better for him.

Q. If you were ill, how were you able to play so well?

MARAT SAFIN: I don't know. Probably he didn't play his best match definitely. He was missing quite a lot of balls. I was focused. He's a kind of a guy that is not like you have to run a lot, you have to play a little bit more short points, try to -- just try to return his serve, don't let him to push you. He's not the kind of player like Hewitt where you have to run a long time and try to do something unbelievable strange. You have to play your game and try to just stay focused, that's it.

Q. You said the other day that your dream was to win Roland Garros, the French Open. What will you change in your preparation for the tournament? Are you going to play less tournaments or different?

MARAT SAFIN: You can't to change a lot. It's a little bit tough schedule. You have like three Masters Series in a month, and then I have to play. It's a good preparation to play Dusseldorf, because I know I have to practice, but it's a nice tournament to play. The same thing. Very important to stay focused from the first match you're playing at French Open, so you play less sets than other players. That's the main thing.
Try to work out, you know, physically. Yeah, you have to be very good prepared physically. That's it. Try to prepare yourself mentally also for long matches and for these kind of like against really tough players, you have to be focused, be at your best shape.

Q. Are you being attended by a physician? Are you seeing a doctor for the problem you say you have?

MARAT SAFIN: No. I have a masseur, he's also a doctor. I had to take some antibiotics. Just cannot stay a long time in the heat, getting worse. But I'll be okay. I'm still young. My body can survive.

Q. In terms of your religious belief, are you of the Islamic faith?


Q. Do you practice any of the rituals?


Q. Were your parents Islamic?

MARAT SAFIN: Yeah. They don't practice either. Just my grandfather.

Q. Was he Russian?

MARAT SAFIN: No, he's not Russian. He's Islamic also, Muslim.

Q. Where did he come from, may I ask?

MARAT SAFIN: If I start to explain geographically, it will take a little bit longer. It's from part of Russia.

Q. Have you talked with Wayne Ferreira and Jeff Tarango about the association that the players want to build up around next week?

MARAT SAFIN: It's a little bit subject that I don't want to discuss. You will know. Anyway, you will know soon. But just is a thing that's a little bit private.

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