GTT buddy Lorrie sent us these links to Marat Safin’s last press conference at the Kremlin Cup this week (after beating Nikolay Davydenko, Marat went out to Korolev in the second round.) The video is in Russian (non-Russian speakers will enjoy casting Safin into their fantasy James Bond film) but the English transcript shows Marat at his feisty best with the Russian press.
Marat, we’ll never confuse you with a monkey*, especially if you’re wearing a suit!
Q: Please make a comment on today’s match.
A: It didn’t go my way. I didn’t play well couple of rallies, the service was worse than yesterday.
Q: What can you say about Korolev’s tennis?
A: He played excellent, besides he was lucky. He served well, there were no serious faults. He did all well.
Q: What do you think about his chances for this tournament?
A: If he always played at this high level, he would have great chances. He could go straight to the final and win. At the same time he had nothing to lose when he played with me today. He young, ambitious, no great expectations lie upon his shoulders. That’s why he played without strong pressure. He continued to play well, struggle, fight and make the striking shots.
Q: To sum up all your career achievements what could you mark as the most memorable? US Open and your winning against Sampras, maybe, or match point against Federer?
A: It’s difficult to compare because it was at the different period of my tennis career. I won Sampras at the beginning of it. Australia Open impossible to compare with US Open. Before Australia Open I was dreaming to win Grand Slam, I was so nervous and stressed. I felt very excited on the courts at that time and it was difficult to play there. US Open just came to my arms itself. Well, I consider that my second part of the career was more important than the first one. Because the first one was based on the fortune, I was lucky that’s all. In case of acknowledge something I had to face tough moments, in this occasion everything depends on your temper. Thanks God, I proved to myself, that I’m a good player that could handle almost every situation. If I won only US Open I thought it would be just an occasion. The most important trophy is Australia Open, I guess.
Q: There were deserved victories.
A: Oh, yes. They were really tough because I felt that I had to win not because I wanted but I had to. That’s why I felt at ease.
Q: Would you like to bring back the time when you beat Sampras?
A: I would never again be 20 years old. You come out on the court and have no clue what’s happening. You are just lucky. You don’t even think what would happen if you lose. Even if I had lost US Open nothing would have happened. It would be said that nothing serious happened. He is still perspective. But when you have to prove something and first of all to yourself that is more complicated. When you are in top 10 you have to prove. It’s not that easy.
Q: Tomorrow in Kazan a forum is starting named “Russia is a sport empire”. Were you invited as a honorable guest? How would you feel if they keep inviting you to such events as a ceremonial bystander?
A: No, that is not for me. I wouldn’t like to be there and sniffing around like a monkey. I wish I could make decisions and to be productive. And not just to wear a nice suit and grin from ear to ear. That’s not for me. I was invited to Kazan, I just don’t have time to go there.
Q: What would you like to take up after playing the last match? Maybe to go on vacation for a couple of years?
A: I’m really an ambitious person. So I let myself to go on vacation for 2 years. Otherwise it would be tough to catch up. I would like to stay in sport. Where else can I go? I see the problems and needs of sport and I am aware of players’ psychology. Sport is similar everywhere. You face the same problems. Sport is my life so I’ll keep dealing with it.
Q: Tarpischev says that he is planning to make you the ambassador of the Kremlin Cup men’s event to attract players and to enhance the status of the tournament. Could you please comment on your role?
A: I’m already doing this. The case depends on money. If there is money then how much? I could start telling you anything. What’s the reason of casting pearls? To do something one needs money. You won’t earn anything for a pretty face. (don’t tell Kournikova that – ed.)
Q: And are Kremlin Cup victories as important as Australian tournament? In which year was it more pleasant to win – in 2002 or in 2006?
A: I’ve already forgotten about them. First time we didn’t even expect that everything would come out. That Misha will show such results. Even he didn’t expect it. And the second Davis Cup was a usual one. Our opponent was Argentina. To lose at home could be quite upsetting. It’s good that it worked out. Nalbandian is a serious player who won 2 points for his team. If we failed somewhere it would be an offensive defeat.
Q: Would you like to go politics and support a political party?
A: Which one? “Edinaya Rossiya” of course.
Q: That’s the place where you can make decisions.
A: What decisions? I am saying again that I would deal with sport issues. That’s my specialty. I like sport, enjoy it. My future depends on me. Only my incentive is not enough to achieve something.
Q: You mean somebody should promote you?
A: Of course it’s desirable someone to promote me. The most important is me to be needed. If I am not needed then no one needs to promote me only because I am a good guy. Everybody knows me. It is always decided on top.
A: Well, I’m not such a selfish man. Why always money? The idea is to do something that makes sense. Don’t make me look selfish.
Q: I’m not talking about you.
A: You mean everybody, don’t you? (laughing)
Q: Can do you forecast Kuznetsov’s and Korolev’s future?
A: Why shall I explain? I haven’t seen Kuznetsov at all.
Q: At all?
A: I have seen him in locker’s room. Korolev is playing for 2-3 years already. There are some nuances in his play. I think he knows what to do. What else can you say about them? Perspective youngsters.
Q: How do you see your future? What can replace adrenalin in your life?
A: We have a lot that can works as adrenalin. There is no problem with that especially in Moscow. We’ll see. The key thing is to have a choice.
Janko Tipsarevic and Mikhail Youzhny will play in the finals of the Kremlin Cup on Sunday.
*Although Safin himself is no monkey, he and his sister appeared to have a pet monkey at one point. Click here for evidence.