As of Monday, Dinara Safina is the No. 1 female tennis player in the world. She and her brother are the only brother and sister to have been world No. 1s in tennis, a remarkable feat for themselves and also their parents, who have had a big influence on their careers. The Independent, U.K. has a must-read article on the WTA’s new top player – her past, present and future.
Here are some choice excerpts from the Independent’s article – including a truly touching vow from li’l sis to big bro. (Click here to read the original in full – highly recommended!)
On being Marat’s sister:
“Every day,” the 22-year-old Russian sighed. “I’m still his younger sister. It doesn’t matter. When I walk around I still hear the crowds, saying: ‘Oh, this is the sister of Marat.’ I think I’m going to be his little sister for ever.”
On her dedication to tennis:
“For me it’s tennis first: tennis, tennis and tennis,” she says. “I don’t do anything besides tennis. It’s my life and I’ve chosen it. I have what I have left – maybe eight years of my career – and I want to give all my body to this. At least when I finish my career I can say: ‘OK, at least I was honest to myself, I gave everything’.”
On her chances of winning a Major:
“If I continue to play like this and I am fairly fit I think I will get there sooner or later. Next one, I hope. If not, I think there are going to be many more chances. What I would like from my next final is just to go out there and enjoy it. If I can play without pressure I will let my body just go. This is the key. I just need to let my racket talk and not think about anything else.”
And, finally, a vow worthy of a Shakespearean sonnet:
*Five years ago the French newspaper L’Equipe asked Marat Safin to interview his sister. For his final question he asked her what she thought of him:
“You’re my God. When you play, I love watching you. When you lose, I’m even sadder than when I lose. When you’re hurt, I suffer. When you talk to me, I drink your words. When you come to see me playing, I’m beside myself with joy. I hate hearing or reading something bad about you. I know you are hard-working and that you do everything you can to be No 1. For me, you have the biggest talent of any player and I don’t have half of your talent. The only thing I have more of than you is that I like working more than you do, I could be doing only this for 24 hours a day, and I know that’s not so with you. In any case, if you don’t practise for three days, you’re still as strong. If I miss one practice, I regress and I’m unhappy. It makes me cry, just like when I went to school and had bad marks. I want to do everything perfectly.“
Wow, poor Dinara! Can you imagine how miserable it is to be such a hard core Marat Safin fan? No wonder she can’t muster the strength to win a major. Perhaps it will help her when her brother retires – she’ll be able to funnel all that energy into her own career!
If you want more on the Safin/Safina siblings, click here to read Christopher Cleary’s entertaining piece in the NYTimes.