Marat Safin – the most popular man in China at the moment – was celebrated today at the China Open after his quarterfinal match against Rafael Nadal. He lost the match 3-6, 1-6 but said he felt like he was playing some good tennis, considering he wasn’t practicing anymore. (Huh? You know Fabrice Santoro is still practicing.) Regardless, it’s always nice to see Marat being Marat – and I love how much he obviously hates all the fuss:
“Watching you play brings me another kind of pleasure!” Uh huh.
Here’s the rest of the video:
“It’s nice to see something from Djokovic because he never beat me!” HA. And at least Dinara didn’t say “You’re my God!” again.
Here’s some more from Marat’s presser**. Notice he doesn’t deny or confirm those marriage rumors.
Q: Can you tell us what you plan to do afterwards?
SAFIN: Well, I’ll take a couple of months off and just relax and do basically nothing because I’ve been doing this for 24 years and I have had to wake up and have a schedule 365 days a year. I want to get out of the system. So I will enjoy two months off of tennis, and then I’ll try to start to figure out something. But definitely stay into sports.
Q: Did you have any idea that they would hold a ceremony today? And if not, which part was the most touching?
SAFIN: Well, I kind of had a clue but didn’t know it would be so official. First of all, I think the whole ceremony was great – great videos, pretty funny ones. It was nice for the organizers to do this for a player and very nice to see every person in the stands being there and supporting me and cheering for me rather than Nadal. But basically to see all of them, the fans, that have been supporting you for so many years just to say “bye bye” is a very nice feeling. If I could thank each personally, that would be great, but I said everything there. It’s hard to describe the feeling I have now, and it will never be enough but thank you and it is deep from the heart.
Q: You have already left tennis, but your sister will stay and face a lot of difficulties. What are your suggestions for her?
SAFIN: Well, it’s a tough sport. It’s not a team sport; you can’t blame others on the team. It’s just you and how you can manage yourself along on tour and she is getting stronger and managed to get into first spot. It is already a big deal because no one expected her to be anywhere close, even in the top ten. She isn’t doing great, but she has ups and downs and hopefully she can recover from that and she will. Sometimes you have to deal with the difficulties and I think she has. What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger. So, if she is positive in this small crisis, she will be a great player.
Q: How did you feel when you saw your sister in the video at the end? Did you know she was going to be in it?
SAFIN: Well I knew she was going to say something and it was nice to hear and it was a nice touch and thanks for that. She’s a good sister, so she is doing the right thing.
Q: Right after retirement, are you going to get married and have some kids?
SAFIN: Well sooner or later I am going to have to have kids, so yes, I will work on that.
**Whoops! Copied and pasted the wrong presser at first – think it was Elena Dementieva’s! Sorry about that!
In non-Marat news, Nadal plays Cilic and Djokjovic plays Soderling in the semis. If I could pick ’em, I’d vote for a Nadal vs. Soderling grudge match! But look our for Nole – if he beats Soderling, he’ll be back up to No. 3.
On the women’s side: Bartoli plays A. Radwanska and Kuznetsova will play Petrova.
In Tokyo, Tsonga will play Monfils and Youzhny will play Hewitt.
Click here for the weekend tennis TV schedule.