Marat Safin



"New Balls Please"
ATP Calendar 2001


Marat Safin have pulled out of this year's Championships with injuries earlier today.

Marat Safin pulled out of the year's second Grand Slam tournament on Monday. Safin withdrew with wrist injurie. Safin told tournament organizers that it would be at least three weeks until he was able to play again.
Safin withdrew before his scheduled third-round match at the Australian Open earlier in the year. But he has played 14 consecutive Grand Slam tournaments dating back to the US Open in 1999 and 19 of 20 consecutive Grand Slams since joining the ATP circuit.
Safin reached the final of Barcelona last month but has not played since losing in the first round of Valencia three weeks ago.

05.15.2003 Humburg, Germany
Injuries to Marat Safin and Mikhail Youzhny have forced Russia to pull out of next week's ATP World Team Championship in Dusseldorf, Germany.
"We had to withdraw from the world team championship because both Safin and Youzhny are nursing injuries," Russia's tennis chief Shamil Tarpishchev told Reuters on Thursday. "That leaves us with Yevgeny Kafelnikov and Nikolay Davydenko, but they don't have enough ranking points to qualify us for the event."
The week-long tournament in Dusseldorf involves the world's top eight tennis nations based on their players' ATP rankings.
Tarpishchev said Youzhny, who lost to Argentine Guillermo Coria in the third round of the Masters Series tournament in Hamburg on Thursday, had aggravated a wrist injury.
Safin, who was forced to miss the Hamburg tournament as well as last week's Rome Masters, is suffering from a nagging wrist injury and also has a problem with his leg.
"Safin's injury is more serious," Tarpishchev said, adding that the 2000 U.S. Open champion might even have to pull out of the French Open, which starts later this month.
Safin and Youzhny led Russia to their first Davis Cup title with a dramatic 3-2 victory over holders France in the Paris final last December. Russia also finished second in last year's World Team championship, losing to Argentina in the final.
Safin, 23, has had a turbulent year so far, battling with various injuries.
The Russian injured his left wrist at the Australian Open in January, forcing him to withdraw from his third round tie against German Rainer Schuettler.

05.09.2003 Humburg, Germany
Marat Safin pulled out of the Tennis Masters Hamburg withdrew because of a wrist injury.

05.05.2003 Rome, Italy
No. 6 seed Marat Safin pulled out of the Tennis Masters Roma with a left wrist injury that re-occured during his practice on Sunday with Andy Roddick. He tried to practice on Monday, but couldn't. He's returned to Moscow to go see his doctor.

04.29.2003 Valencia, Spain
Second-seeded Marat Safin was beaten in the first round of the Valencia Open on Tuesday, two days after the Russian retired in a tournament final because of fatigue.
Marat Safin lost to Franco Squillari of Argentina 6-4, 5-7, 6-2.

04.27.2003 Barcelona, Spain
Carlos Moya claimed his first title on home soil Sunday as Russian star Marat Safin retired in the fourth set of a one-sided Open Seat Godo final on the Spanish clay.
Safin came into the final on the back of a magnificent win over Juan Carlos Ferrero, and began strongly as he eyed a first title in six months after struggling with various injuries.
Following a tight start to the match the Russian claimed the first break in the 11th game and and served out the set.
But from that moment on home favourite Moya took control, breaking in the first game of the second set before racing clear.
After dropping the first three games of the fourth set, Safin chose not to continue.
"I just couldn't carry on," said Safin. "I came into this tournament after a month out with injury and it was impossible."

04.26.2003 Barcelona, Spain
Marat Safin of Russia beat top-seeded Juan Carlos Ferrero of Spain 6-4, 6-3 Saturday to advance to the final of the US$1.08 million Open Seat Godo.
Safin, who won the tournament in 2000, was unstoppable.
The match started evenly, with both players holding serve until the 10th game, which Ferrero opened by serving a double fault. He did the same thing at the end of the game, handing the fourth-seeded Safin the first set.
Safin ran off five straight games in the second set. Ferrero, who won the tournament in 2001, came back to win three but Safin clinched it, ending the match with his 12th ace.
Safin will play Carlos Moya, who defeated Agustin Calleri of Argentina 7-6 (2), 6-2 earlier in the day on clay at the Real Club de Tenis in Barcelona.
Moya said Safin would give him a tough match.
"When he's playing well, he can keep you from playing your game. It should be an exciting match for the fans."

04.25.2003 Barcelona, Spain
Marat Safin overcame two match-points against him to oust defending champion Gaston Gaudio 6-4, 4-6, 7-5.
Safin, the 2000 Godo champion seeded No. 4, barely managed to topple Gaudio in a grueling two-hour, 44-minute match.
Safin looked to be cruising to victory in the middle of the second set, but a determined Gaudio fought his way back. In the third set, Gaudio had two match points at 5-4, but was unable to convert.

04.23.2003 Barcelona, Spain
Fourth seed Marat Safin also advanced peacefully after a solid straight set win, 6-3 6-3, over Finland's Jarkko Nieminen.
Russia's Safin put to work his strong serve and thunderous forehand to force Nieminen to run form one side of the court to the other and wrap up the encounter in one hour and 20 minutes of play.
After grasping the first set, a relaxed Safin let go of his serve to go down 0-2 in the second. But his determination pulled him through winning 5 consecutive games taking the win.
Safin, who won the title in Barcelona in 2000, will face defending champion Gaston Gaudio of Argentina.
"My game is to play quickly and get the pressure on my opponents," said Safin, who is playing his first event in a month after suffering an ankle injury.
"I have a system on court. If I lose that, I lose everything. I need to keep motivated and aggressive."

04.22.2003 Barcelona, Spain
Former U.S. Open champion Marat Safin returned three weeks after an injury scare and defeated Spanish qualifier Salvador Navarro, 7-5, 6-2, on Tuesday to reach the third round of the $1.08 million Open Seat Godo.
The 23-year-old Russian, who received a first-round bye as a top-eight seed, struggled in the first set but found traction in the second to defeat a man who beat him at a Challenger event six years ago.
The fourth seed, Safin learned his tennis in Spain after being sent from Moscow as a teenager by his mother, who also was his coach.
The brother of WTA Tour member Dinara Safina, Safin won the Barcelona title in 2000, the same year he claimed a Grand Slam trophy at Flushing Meadows with a win over Pete Sampras.
Safin has not played since the Tennis Masters Series event in Miami, where he lost his opening match to Italian Davide Sanguinetti. He injured his ankle in Argentina before Russia's 5-0 Davis Cup loss three weeks ago.
Navarro broke Safin to even the first set at 5-5, but Safin broke back, then saved four break points to win the set. He took the momentum to the second set, winning the first four games.
"The ankle is better," he said. "It's been three weeks since I have played a match It's difficult to come back. You are lacking in confidence and you are scared to move around the court.
"When the match began, I was a little bit too nervous. After the first set, I began to build up my confidence and find my rhythm."

04.21.2003 Barcelona, Spain
In doubles first round Gustavo Kuerten (BRA) / Marat Safin (RUS) lost to duo Gaudio / Nalbandian 4-6, 3-6.

04.20.2003 Barcelona, Spain
Marat Safin will test himself against a trio of clay-toughened Spanish fellow seeds when he returns to action at the 1-million-euro Barcelona Open starting Monday.
The 23-year-old Russian has not set foot on the red dirt this season and last competed at the hard-court Miami Masters, where he lost in his opening match to Italian Davide Sanguinetti after a first-round bye.
Safin fronted up for Russia's 5-0 Davis Cup hammering this month in Buenos Aires but was unable to play due to injury.
Seeded fourth at the Real Club de Tenis, Safin begins with a bye and then will face either Slovak Karol Beck or a qualifier.

04.11.2003 Monte Carlo, Monaco
Former U.S. Open winner Marat Safin is withdrew with an ankle injury from the $2.45 million Monte Carlo Masters tournament.

04.05.2003 Buenos Aires, Argentina
Russia’s defence of the Davis Cup is over after Argentia won the doubles rubber in the Davis Cup by BNP Paribas quarterinal in Buenos Aires today.
After Lucas Arnold and David Nalbandian’s 36 64 63 63 victory over Yevgeny Kafelnikov and Mikhail Youzhny, achieved today in two hours 36 minutes, the Argentines now hold an unassailable 3-0 lead and are through to the semifinals. There they will face Spain, with Spain holding the home advantage September 19-21, although as both countries favour clay this may not be as much of a decisive factor as it often can be in Davis Cup.

04.04.2003 Buenos Aires, Argentina
Defending champions Russia made a disastrous start against Argentina as the home side raced to a 2-0 lead in Buenos Aires.
Nicolay Davydenko crumbled to a 6-2 6-2 7-5 defeat to David Nalbandian in the first match of the tie.
Senior Russian Yevgeny Kafelnikov saw his bad run of form continue as he crashed to a 6-4 6-0 6-2 defeat at the hands of Gaston Gaudio.
Russia captain Shamil Tarpishchev must now rely on victory in the doubles rubber on Saturday if his team are to have a hope of turning things around.
His gamble to select Davydenko over the higher-ranked Mikhail Youzhny has already backfired.
But there is a slight chance Marat Safin could return from injury to partner Kafelnikov in the vital doubles match.

04.03.2003 Buenos Aires, Argentina
Defending Davis Cup champion Russia finds itself on the defensive before a single shot has been struck in its quarterfinal tie with host Argentina. Former No. 1 Marat Safin, who won two singles matches to help Russia capture its first Davis Cup championship in history with a 3-2 victory over France last December, said today a twisted right ankle will prevent him from playing singles in this weekend's tie.
Unheralded Nikolay Davydenko replaces Safin in the starting singles lineup and will play Wimbledon finalist David Nalbandian in tomorrow's opening match on the red clay of the Club Atletico in Buenos Aires. Former French Open champion Yevgeny Kafelnikov faces Argentina's Gaston Gaudio in tomorrow's second singles match.
The eighth-ranked Safin sustained a twisted right ankle during his second-round loss to Italian Davide Sanguinetti at the Nasdaq-100 Open final on Key Biscayne two weeks ago. He reinjured his ankle while training for the tie earlier this week and while he plans to partner in Saturday's doubles with Kafelnikov against Lucas Arnold and Nalbandian, the 2000 U.S. Open champion has ruled himself out of singles.
"The injury is now better but I'm not in good shape and that's why I'm not playing," Safin said during today's press conference to announce the draw. "But, in any case, I'll do everything I can to be in the team on the final day."
The 21-year-old Davydenko has only two Davis Cup matches to his credit. Stepping in for Safin, who was out with a wrist injury in Russia's 3-2 victory over the Czech Republic in February's first-round tie, Davydenko lost to Jiri Novak in his Davis Cup debut before beating Radek Stepanek in his second match.
Sunday's reverse singles will feature Kafelnikov vs. Nalbandian followed by Davydenko meeting Gaudio in the final match of the tie. Both team captains have up until 10 minutes before the match to substitute singles starters and up to an hour before the match to change their doubles lineup. Even with a healthy Safin in the lineup, Russia was not necessarily the favorite to win the tie. Without Safin, Russia's chances of winning may be remote.
"We'll do everything possible to overcome these inconveniences and win," Kafelnikov said.

03.30.2003 Buenos Aires, Argentina
From 04 April - 06 April 2003, Davis Cup World Group - Quarterfinal, Russia - Argentina.
Club Atletico River Plate, Buenos Aires, Argentina
This is the third meeting (first meeting in 1985 between ARG and RUS competing as USSR), between these two nations in Davis Cup and so far Argentina has yet to emerge victorious. The tie is also a rematch of last year's semifinal in Moscow, in which the Russians established a winning three rubbers to one lead before Argentina claimed the final dead rubber. The highlight of the tie, however, was the epic doubles rubber, won by the Argentine pair of Lucas Arnold and David Nalbandian 19-17 in the fifth set after six hours 20 minutes. It was the longest match in Davis Cup since the introduction of the tie break in 1989, yet Marat Safin and David Nalbandian returned to the court the next day to contest the fourth rubber, which Safin won to send Russia to the final. That semifinal was played indoors on a medium-paced carpet, so Argentina will be hoping to exact revenge on its favoured clay courts at home this time around. There may not be any rubbers as close as that doubles in Moscow, but the tie looks finely balanced and could turn out to be the clash of the quarterfinals.

03.22.2003 Key Biscayne, Florida, USA
In a surgical display of dissection, spin doctor Davide Sanguinetti picked apart Marat Safin in Miami. The 30-year-old Italian scored a 7-6(9), 7-5 second-round victory to send the seventh-seeded Safin out of the Nasdaq-100 Open.
The San Jose runner-up to Andre Agassi, Sanguinetti calmly combated Safin's superior pace with slices and spins from the baseline.
Safin, who reached the tournament quarterfinals last year where he fell to Lleyton Hewitt, ultimately could not find the answer to the Italian's array of short angles and spins.
In doubles first round Nicolas Escude (FRA) / Marat Safin (RUS) lost to Gaston Etlis (ARG) / Martin Rodriguez (ARG) 6-7(7-9). 5-7.

03.20.2003 Key Biscayne, Florida, USA
Marat Safin got smashed last night. In the shadow of the Grandstand court, the seventh-seeded Safin was engaged in a spirited practice session with Australian Open finalist Rainer Schuettler at the Nasdaq-100 Open.
As a shirtless Schuettler launched strokes from behind the baseline, a sweat-soaked Safin stook at the net and blocked volleys back at the Indian Wells semifinalist. After several sharp volleys, Safin suddenly smashed a swinging forehand volley that blew by Schuettler before he had a chance to react.
A sly smile crept across Safin's face as he nodded to Schuettler than smiled at the crowd that had gathered behind the fence to watch the practice and shoot photos of the former U.S. Open champion.
Even when he's practicing, Safin can still draw a crowd. Tonight, Safin's younger sister, Dinara Safina takes the court against another crowd pleaser Internet Icon Anna Kournikova in what shapes up as an interesting match between a player with promising future in Safina and a player who is trying to reclaim her once prominent past in Kournikova.

03.13.2003 Indian Wells, California, USA
Russian Marat Safin crashed out 6-0 6-1, after Robby Ginepri swept him away in straight sets at the Indian Wells Masters on Thursday.
Safin, the number seven seed, was still feeling the effects of an virulent flu bug that forced a number of players to pull out of matches on Wednesday.
"I didn't feel good," said Safin, who was vomiting and had a fever on Tuesday night. "I didn't have any energy and I couldn't concentrate. But you have to play until the end no matter what."

03.12.2003 Indian Wells, California, USA
Marat Safin lacked his usual power game Wednesday, sapped by a stomach virus that is making its way through the men's and women's field at the Pacific Life Open.
Safin was one of the lucky ones, however. The No. 7 seed managed to quell his nausea long enough to pull out a 6-4, 6-3 second-round victory against Mark Philippoussis at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden.
Jiri Novak, the No. 9 seed, and women's doubles player Paolo Suarez were not as lucky.
Both withdrew Wednesday, joining the three men who pulled out Tuesday with the stomach virus.
Todd Martin and women's defending champion Daniela Hantuchova complained of not feeling well before their losses Tuesday.
Tournament doctor Sam Reber said that since Monday, at least 11 players have complained of symptoms "varying in severity."
"Some have been able to continue playing, and some have had symptoms that have forced them to withdraw," Reber said.
The illness, Reber said, appears to be flu-related and not food-related illness.
It is short-lived, he said.
"They have their symptoms that seem to disappear within about 24 hours, and then they are left with a weakness after that.
But (they) recover fairly quickly," he said.
Safin, who was up much of the previous night with nausea and a fever.
He said that he thought it was food poisoning.
"I was actually very sick last night," he said.
"I took some antibiotics. I'm feeling like a little bit weak, but I just try to stay focused and try to finish, try to play a little faster, stay calm and try to concentrate from the first point, just play my game.
"I was successful," Safin added.
Safin takes on Robby Ginepri in round three after the American's second-round opponent Jiri Novak withdrew.
Men's Doubles 2nd Round
Mark Knowles (BAH) - Daniel Nestor (CAN) (1) defeted Marat Safin (RUS) - Nenad Zimonjic (YUG) 6-3, 6-2.

03.11.2003 Indian Wells, California, USA
Men's Doubles 1st Round
Marat Safin (RUS) - Nenad Zimonjic (YUG) defeated duo Petr Pala (CZE) - Martin Rodriguez (ARG) 7-6(7), 6-1.

03.10.2003 Indian Wells, California, USA
It started as choking and rapidly escalated into sheer strangulation. A frustrated Marat Safin wrapped his hands around the throat of his racquet in rage at the rash of errors emanating from the racquet face.
A prolonged period of inept play saw Safin staring down a 1-4 deficit in the final set of his first-round match against Stefan Koubek at the Pacific Life Open in Indian Wells today. Teetering on the edge of another implosion, the seventh-seeded Safin seemed to be trying to squeeze the life out of his racquet.
Instead, the towering Russian released his hold on his racquet with an exasperated exhale. It was then that Safin finally got a grip on his game and took control of the match. Winning six of the final seven games, Safin stormed back to win 12 straight points in his final three service games and score a 3-6, 6-3, 7-5 victory to advance to the second round.
The climb back from a deep deficit began with a Safin slide. Skidding across the court like a skateboarder shredding skin on a fall down a hill, Safin received treatment for his left foot from trainer Doug Spreen and used the break to mentally regroup.
Holding serve in the sixth in the game, Safin closed to 3-4 when Koubek surrendered serve by firing two consecutive forehands wide. A focused Safin held serve at love on the strength of three aces and a service winner to even the set at 4-4. Koubek was down 0-30 in the ensuing game, but held for 5-4.
Strong serving saw Safin hold at love again with another ace to level the set at 5-5. In the 11th game, Koubek fought off a pair of break points at 15-40, but blasted a backhand long to end one of the longest rallies of the match and give Safin another break point. A loud noise outside the stadium could be heard in the midst of the rally, but play continued. Koubek unsuccessfully argued the noise was a distraction and his concentration seemed to crack as he hit a forehand long to drop serve and hand Safin a 6-5 lead.
A confident Safin closed out the match at love to survive the closely-contested match.

02.26.2003 Dubai, U.A.E.
Russian Marat Safin has suffered a shock second round defeat to Spain's Tommy Robredo at the Dubai Open, losing 7-5 4-6 7-6 in a marathon lasting two hours and 51 minutes.
Robredo, who had not won a match in his previous four tournaments until his first round elimination of Sweden's Jonas Bjorkman, broke the second seed's serve to take the first set.
Safin levelled the match by breaking early in the second, and the final set remained in the balance right to the end.
The Russian twice held break points to serve for victory, at 4-4 and 5-5, and then twice had to serve to stay in the match, at 4-5 and 5-6.
However, it was Robredo who proved the stronger player in the tiebreak, winning through 7-3.

02.25.2003 Dubai, U.A.E.
Tuesday at the Dubai Tennis Championships , Marat Safin made it through his first round match. Safin won decisively in one of the shorter matches of the day, defeating Alexander Waske 6-4, 6-2 in just over an hour.
Safin:" It’s tough to play well. I was injured for three weeks and I started to play last week in Rotterdam. It’s really important to win titles at the beginning of the year so I can have a lot of confidence and fight for No. 1. People are already winning points and are already maybe a little bit too far (away) for me, but I hope I can get them. Winning titles and getting to the top ten of the Race means I can fight for No. 1."

Former tennis journeyman Denis Golovanov has landed one of the most unenviable jobs in the sport - to tame his temperamental fellow Russian Marat Safin. Safin's fragile temperament has come under the microscope in the past as he often erupts when things are not going according to plan - breaking rackets for fun.
It takes a strong willed person to stand up to Safin and the world number seven believes Golovanov has the ideal credentials to be his coach since he "knows the way I think".
"You have to understand tennis but you also have to understand the personality of the player," said Safin, who overcame Belgium's Xavier Malisse 7-5 6-3 in the first round of the World Indoor Tournament on Wednesday after being sidelined for a month with a wrist injury.
"He knows me really well, we've known each other for 11 years so he knows what kind of person I am and what I need and what I want."
Safin has wasted little time in terminating the services of the numerous coaches he has hired over the years.
In fact, the fiery Russian has worked with five different coaches, including Switzerland's Marc Rosset, over the past three seasons.
Having employed Golovanov after the Paris Masters last year, Safin said: "It's usually difficult when you hire a new coach as it takes two or three months to get to know each other...and to see if you like each other. You need a person to trust and I trust him."
Golovanov has certainly had his work cut out with his new charge over the past six weeks.
Safin, who admits to being "not a very patient person" has suffered both shoulder and wrist injuries since the new season started, which have severely curtailed his on court activities.
But after spending five years on the brutal lower tier challenger circuit, the 23-year-old Golovanov is well aware of the frustrations that go with the sport.
"I helped him (Golovanov) at the beginning of his career with some money but he found it difficult to travel on the tour by himself," said the 2000 U.S. Open champion.
"So I suggested why not come with me."

02.20.2003 Rotterdam, the Netherlands
Yevgeny Kafelnikov got the better of an all-Russian duel, upsetting third seed Marat Safin 4-6, 7-6 (5), 6-4.

02.19.2003 Rotterdam, the Netherlands
Marat Safin took his first steps back on the court following a one-month injury layoff and came up victorious in his test against talented Belgian Xavier Malisse in the first round of the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament in Rotterdam Wednesday. Safin had shoulder problems forcing him to withdraw at the adidas International in Sydney last month and then had to pull out of the 2003 Australian Open when he suffered a small tear in his wrist ligaments. With both losses coming as a result of withdrawal, Safin is technically undefeated on the year at 5-0. Safin, who reached the semifinals in Rotterdam in 1999, but has gone 1-3 the past three years, now meets veteran countryman Yevgeny Kafelnikov in the second round.
Marat Safin: "It's frustrating when you want to play but can't. I didn't touch a racket for three weeks and when I started playing again last week, I still felt some pain in my wrist."
"It's always difficult to play that first match but it (the wrist) was okay today so hopefully I won't have any more problems during the rest of the year."
"Everyone knows that I don't want to lose to him (Kafelnikov) and he doesn't want to lose to me. It will be tough."
The all-Russian second round between the veteran, Yevgeny Kafelnikov and the talent, Marat Safin. Early in his pro career, Marat Safin was mentored at one point by the older Russian, but today Safin carries the banner as Russia's top male singles player. The two haven't met this early in a tournament since they played in the second round at the Telecom Italia Masters on clay, when Kafelnikov emerged victorious. Since then they have played in the spotlight in the final of the President's Cup in Tashkent and the semifinal of the St.Petersburg Open, with Safin winning both.

02.10.2003 Ostrava, Czech Republic
Davis Cup holders Russia beat the Czech Republic 3-2 after Sunday's reverse singles in their world group first round tie thanks to a brave performance by Nykolay Davydenko, who beat Radek Stepanek 1-6 7-6 6-2 3-6 6-0. Earlier, Jiri Novak beat Yevgeny Kafelnikov, who replaced an ailing Mikhail Youzhny, 6-2 6-3 7-6.

01.28.2003 New-York , USA (AP)
Defending Davis Cup champion Russia will be without world No. 7 Marat Safin when it visits the Czech Republic in its first round World Group tie on Feb. 7-9.
Safin, who withdrew from the Australian Open last week with a wrist injury, won both his singles matches last year when Russia beat France 3-2 in Paris in the final.
Instead, Russia will have Yevgeny Kafelnikov, Mikhail Youzhny, Nikolay Davydenko and Igor Andreev against the Czechs in Ostrava.
Jiri Novak, Radek Stepanek, Martin Damm and Cyril Suk will represent the Czech Republic.

01.18.2003 Sydney, Australia
Last year's Australian Open runner-up Marat Safin has withdrawn from the Australian Open with a wrist injury.
The third seed was due to play Germany's Rainer Schuettler in a third-round match on Saturday, but was forced to default the match.
He told a news conference that he had torn ligaments in his left wrist when he fell during his first-round win over Raemon Sluiter.
"In my first match I fell down and felt some pain and in the second match (against Albert Montanes) I had an injection which is why I didn't feel anything," he said.
"It's a small cut in the ligament and the doctors said it would take about two to three weeks to heal.
"I will have ice and laser treatment for the wrist injury, but it basically needs rest."
The 22-year-old had been troubled by shoulder and back problems since arriving in Australia.
He withdrew from the Sydney International last week with an injured right shoulder, diagnosed as inflammation of the rotator cuff.
Safin said that the injury-enforced break would be a welcome relief after having only a few weeks to recover from Russia's epic Davis Cup final win over France in December.
The Russian has been one of a number of players advocating changes to the tennis calendar, saying the break between seasons was too short and was contributing to injuries.
A number of top players, including defending champion Thomas Johannson, pulled out of the Australian Open before it began with niggling injuries.
"Everyone's trying to play too many tournaments and because the level of tennis is so high the bodies of the players cannot take it," Safin said.
"Every time you play you need two or three weeks off because the body is getting tired really fast. We don't have a rest at all now, so it's difficult."

01.16.2003 Sydney, Australia
Third seed Marat Safin warned his rivals that he was saving himself for the second week of the Australian Open after his second-round 6-3, 4-6, 6-4, 6-1 victory over Spain's Albert Montanes yesterday.
The big Russian, runner-up in Melbourne last year, missed last week's Sydney International with a shoulder injury but said he would be at full throttle for his third-round match against Germany's Rainer Schuettler.
"I was trying to throw the ball in the right spot so I didn't [hurt] my shoulder that much," said Safin, who is still using anti-inflammatory drugs to help with the pain. "I am trying to use less power and less energy to be ready for the second week."
The 2000 US Open champion committed 53 unforced errors and was given a warning for racquet abuse in a patchy display on Rod Laver Arena.
But after that moment of frustration early in the third set, Safin began to find his range from the baseline.
He broke the 81st-ranked Montanes soon after and took the third set before rushing through the fourth to wrap up the match in two hours and 10 minutes.
"The [shoulder] pain is going away completely. Hopefully by the next match it will be perfect," Safin said.
His third-round opponent Schuettler, the No 31 seed, defeated Dutch former Wimbledon champion Richard Krajicek 6-3, 7-5, 6-4.
"Schuettler beat Krajicek, so he is playing really good. Every match is going to be tough but I'm on my way," Safin said.
Safin said he was not concerned about the hot form of Andre Agassi. "I don't really worry about him. He is in great form and is physically strong. He came here with his family, so he has to do well," he joked. "But let's see what happens in the second week. You can't judge people on just two matches. Other players can get better in the second week and get more dangerous."

01.14.2003 Sydney, Australia
Marat Safin overcame the loss of a set to quell the challenge of canny Dutchman Raemon Sluiter at the Australian Open.
The Russian came into the tournament with a doubt about his fitness after withdrawing from his last event with a shoulder injury.
The injury appeared not to trouble him - although his opponent did.
Safin took the first set comfortably but Sluiter's clever shotmaking had the third seed struggling in the second set and the Dutchman levelled it.
However, last year's finalist rediscovered his form and won through 6-4 4-6 6-3 6-4.

01.09.2003 Sydney, Australia
Marat Safin says blood testing for the banned performance-enhancing substance EPO is invasive and unnecessary, and that players weren't properly consulted about its introduction in tennis.
Blood testing for EPO -- short for erythropoieten -- is expected to be conducted for the first time at a Grand Slam tennis tournament starting next week at the Australian Open.
Safin, a finalist at Melbourne Park last year, said there was already enough drug testing and that EPO wasn't a big issue in tennis.
"We go for too much. First of all, we have to go for the urine testing, now we have to go to EPO -- I said to the ATP that I don't think it's correct, but they really didn't listen,'' Safin said after withdrawing from the Adidas International on Thursday with a shoulder problem.
The former U.S. Open champion said some people were afraid of needles, others could object on cultural or religious grounds. He said fellow Russian Yevgeny Kafelnikov was one of the people who doesn't a needle put into his vein.
"Not every person can take it, easily,'' Safin said. "Some people, they get dizzy afterward.''
The Australian Sports Drug Agency, which can be commissioned to conduct EPO tests throughout Australia, said only 10-12 milliliters (less than half a fluid ounce) of blood is taken in a dual-test format, which also involves a urine test.
An Australian Open official said it was agreed in principle that blood-testing could be conducted at Melbourne Park. However, he said the blood tests were supposed to be random and, so, wouldn't necessarily start at the Australian Open from Jan. 13-16.
Safin said tennis players didn't need endurance-enhancing drugs due to the nature of the sport.
"I'm sure that nobody needs to take any drugs to be able to play on the court,'' he said. "It's not the kind of sport like cycling, for example, where you have to go to the mountains for six hours. It's one hour and a half of tennis, it's not so much.''
Safin seems to be in a minority of players who oppose the blood tests.

01.09.2003 Sydney, Australia
A shoulder injury forced Marat Safin to withdraw from the Sydney International on Thursday, prompting fears that the Russian may not be fit for next week's Australian Open.
Safin was due to meet Korean qualifier Lee Hyung-taik in Thursday's quarter-finals but had to pull out on medical advice because of problems with his serving shoulder.
"It hurts and I cannot serve, there's a lot of pain," Safin said.
"(The doctor) said it's quite serious and it was better to stop right now."
Safin said he still expected to play in the Australian Open, which starts on Monday, but would ask officials for a late start to give him as much time as possible to recover.
He said he would fly to Melbourne on Thursday night to receive treatment and was prepared to play with painkillers to get him through the first few rounds.
"I need to stop for a few days but I hope I will be okay, I'm not sure but there is a chance," he said.
"I can play forehand, backhand, anything, expect serve.
"I'll be okay but I'll ask for a late start and try to recover."
Safin, seeded third this year, lost to Thomas Johansson in the 2002 Australian Open final.

01.08.2003 Sydney, Australia
He just wanted to get out of there. The heat was fuzzing his thinking, slowing him down. Marat Safin was overhitting, mucking up volleys, but he won anyway. Comfortably, but not quickly, 3-6, 6-1, 6-2 over Finland's Jarkko Nieminen.
On centre court Safin's sweat made his shirt transparent, the heat made his skin pink and relief was obvious on his face when, after one hour and 31 minutes, game, set, match was called.
"It's the atmosphere, it's just so hot. Your muscles, you are quite slow on the court," Safin said afterwards. "When it's not so warm you can think. But here, you just want to finish the point quickly and you want to get out of the court.
"To run for the long points, it's difficult. That's why you try to make them quick."
Safin shuffled through to the quarter-finals at the adidas International at Homebush Bay with an unglamorous win. He made 43 unforced errors - 10 more than his opponent.
Safin's massive first serve also suffered in the heat. He could land only 53 per cent of first serves in, but he still managed seven aces.
Safin said it was worth flogging himself in the harsh conditions because when he took the court for the Australian Open next week he would be well-prepared in the event of sweltering conditions.
"It's good conditions to practise, the heat, windy. So it can't be any worse," he said. "I think it's a great way for practice.
"It was one of the hottest conditions I've played in I think. Maybe Cincinnati, it's also difficult to play."
After the match Safin found an air conditioner to cool down and later a cool shower. He stayed inside, "chilled out", before a doubles match prolonged Safin's pain. Just for a short moment.
As a precautionary measure, Safin retired from his match with Nenad Zimonjic against Thomas Shimada and Paradorn Srichaphan because of tendonitis in his right shoulder.

01.07.2003 Sydney, Australia
It's hot, windy, the players are experiencing niggling injuries and grumbling about the lack of time off between seasons on the men's tennis circuit.
The season-opening Grand Slam tournament - the Australian Open - starts next week in Melbourne.
Marat Safin, losing finalist in the Australian Open last year, said he hadn't had enough time off after helping Russia win the Davis Cup last month.
Rubbing the tender spots on his back Tuesday after a 6-1, 6-4 win over Belgian Olivier Rochus at the Sydney International, Safin said he'd be picking and choosing his tournaments in 2003.
Safin said many of his colleagues were dissatisfied with the short break between seasons on the pro tennis circuit.
"We have the shortest vacations in any sport," the 22-year-old Russian said. "Every other sport ... they have enough time to recover, to have vacations with family and then just to prepare for the next season.
"We have nothing. Last year I had two weeks of vacation. There is no time to do something - if you want to fly somewhere to have vacations, just you can spend like 10 days somewhere."
Safin had a 56-26 record in singles in 2002 and finished the year at No. 3, collecting more than US$1.7 million in prizemoney to push his career total above US$8.4 million.
He had a later end to the year than most, losing all three group matches in the exclusive, season-ending Tennis Masters Cup at Shanghai in November and then helping Russia to a 3-2 win over France in the Davis Cup final in Paris.
He spent a month in Moscow after that, including two weeks of practice.
Safin said he couldn't relax but he couldn't party too hard either because Russia was celebrating the Davis Cup triumph and he had to be on the ball for all his official engagements. He didn't think it appropriate to meet the Russian president with the "smell of alcohol on your mouth."
The former U.S. Open champion was back at work in Sydney, preparing for the Jan. 13-26 Australian Open, but said he'd skip the tournaments he didn't like this season.

01.06.2003 Sydney, Australia
World number three Marat Safin believes he is starting to mature, which will help with his concentration and chances of improving on last year's runners-up placing in the Australian Open.
"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," Safin told reporters in Sydney on Monday.
"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."
The Russian, who has a birthday on January 27, starts his campaign for the year's first grand slam tournament, which begins in Melbourne on January 13, with a match on Tuesday at the Sydney International tournament against Olivier Rochus.
Rochus, the world number 64, beat the Russian in the second round at Wimbledon last year, where Safin was the second seed.
Safin, who lost the Australian Open final to Sweden's Thomas Johnansson last January, while concerned with his own game said he is not the only top player without an all-round game.
"Everybody has something but is missing something," Safin said.
"(Australia's world number one) Lleyton Hewitt is an unbelievable fighter but he doesn't have big strokes. He doesn't have an unbelievable serve, unbelievable forehand and backhand.
"(Former world number one Pete) 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 (world number two Andre) 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.
"Take anybody you want ... I have my problems also."
Safin said of his match against Rochus: "It's a great chance for revenge. It was not my best match at Wimbledon."

01.02.2003 Sydney, Australia
Marat Safin played great tennis in the final of the Davis Cup against France. It was because of him that Russia was able to win the coveted trophy for the first time. The 22 year old won both his singles matches by producing some awesome power; the second one leveling the final that kept Russia’s hopes alive.
Safin will now take a break from tennis and recharge his batteries for the adidas International, 5 to 11 January. The big Russian spearheads a tremendous field that will take to the courts at the Sydney International Tennis Centre at Sydney Olympic Park.
"The year is finished and I was waiting for that so badly but I also wanted to finish the year with a good match and I played it," said Safin. "Now I can go for vacations, watch television and be relaxed for a couple of weeks. Then I will get ready for next year. It was important to finish the year with good wins to give a good feeling for next year."
Safin is regarded as one of the most colourful players in men's tennis and his numerous responses in media conferences won him the "ASAP Most Quotable Player Award" by the International Tennis Writers Association last year. He is a winner of eleven career titles, the most recent one being the BNP Paribas Masters at Bercy in Paris, the same venue that hosted the Davis Cup final. In 2002 he was also a finalist at the Australian Open and a semifinalist at the French Open.
At 1.93m, he is one of the tallest players on the tour and his incredible reach makes it very difficult to pass him.
He speaks fluent Russian, English and Spanish having grown up in Spain where he developed his tennis skills. Marat was named after Jean Paul Marat the French revolutionary who died in 1793.
Safin will end the 2002 season ranked three in the world.
The Moscovite who resides in Monte Carlo, will be joined at the adidas International by four other players who qualified for the recent season-ending Tennis Masters Cup - Roger Federer the defending adidas champion, Carlos Moya, French Open winner Albert Costa and Juan Carlos Ferrero, who was runner-up in Shanghai. Also in the line-up will be James Blake, Andy Roddick and Juan Ignacio Chela, finalist at the 2002 adidas.

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