The soon-to-retire (and marry??) Marat Safin gave an entertaining interview after winning his first round match in Cincy yesterday. The difference between him and Federer? Roger’s simply a tennis “fanatic”:
Q. You’ve had your motivational ups and downs in your career. What do you think keeps someone like Federer so motivated all the time?
MARAT SAFIN: Being a fanatic.
Q. About what?
MARAT SAFIN: About tennis. In a nice way. I think you have to really love what you’re doing. You have to love it and you have to be a very great competitor, otherwise there is no — I cannot understand him. Even though he’s on top of his game, and the tournaments he’s got, he wanted to be the best of all-time, so he achieve. Obviously he gonna go for it and try to win a couple more. He’s playing great tennis and he enjoys it on the court. He’s a player. He’s a real player deep inside of him.
Q. More than a lot of other people that are playing?
MARAT SAFIN: Well, he has more ability than others. Maybe a lot other players. Like Murray, he’s a player. You can see that he knows what he’s doing on the court and he knows exactly at what moment what’s he gonna do, and he reads the point pretty well. Same. They’re pretty similar to each other. Federer probably he has a nicer technique, but the rest is very similar to each other.
Q. But Murray is young 20s and Roger is 28.
MARAT SAFIN: That is what I’m saying. They love to play and participate in the game. It’s like they enjoy the moment. They enjoy being on the court. Some people, they have more stress and they’re not really enjoying and they’re not really having fun in the tough moments. But them, they enjoy it. The tougher it is — like Nadal, for example. Same thing.
Q. Were you describing yourself as maybe someone that finds it sometimes stressful and doesn’t enjoy those moments always?
MARAT SAFIN: Well, I’m not — I don’t like any sports. For example, I would not play soccer. I would not play hockey. Basketball I hate. I never watch any sports on TV. It’s amazing, and I’m a tennis player. But I don’t like it, the competition. For example, if I have to play soccer against neighborhood, I will play for ten minutes and then I get bored. I’m not a player.
Q. How did you last this long at this level?
MARAT SAFIN: It’s a miracle, huh? It’s a miracle.
And guess what! Marat really might be planning a post-retirement visit to the Patagonian Penguins:
Q. I know you went on a big mountain climbing expedition a while back. A year from now you’re not gonna be playing tennis. Any other hobbies that you can elaborate on that you’ll be doing to get away from the game?
MARAT SAFIN: At least I can do the things that I want to do. I don’t have to go to Australia, so I can go to South America and spend some time in Patagonia. I have plenty of time. I have plenty of things that I — I never go to Hawaii, because we have only two months of rest. One month you have to practice, so we have nothing to do. We cannot allow ourselves to ski, to learn something new. We can’t do basically anything for 12 years.
Will Marat, inspired by Roger’s off-court happiness, be including a honeymoon as part of his post-retirement adventures ? Bob Larson’s Tennis News‘ ticker had the following:
“Nastya Osipova, a soloist with the Russian pop group Blestyachie, and Safin’s old girlfriend, according to the Russian press, will soon become his wife. A convinced bachelor, Marat Safin is finally ready to marry. The wedding date is unknown, but according to sources Safin has already proposed marriage.”
Of course the term “Russian press” is open for interpretation and marriage rumors are a tabloid specialty. Let’s hope reporters in Cincy ask Safin to confirm.
True love, Safin style:
Retirement and marriage? That’s just too much heartbreak for one Safin fan. Personally, I’m hoping the tabloids are just doing their jobs and making stuff up.
Thanks to DowntheLine! for spreading the rumor!