Photo by JACQUES DEMARTHON/AFP/Getty Images via Daylife
Marat Safin saved three match points today in the first round of the Paris Masters, a tournament he’s won three times in his career (a record he shares with Boris Becker). Watching him nearly flame-out against Thierry Ascione, a stocky 28-year-old French qualifier ranked 168 in the world, confirmed what his fans have long suspected and what Marat’s known for longer: he’s done, finished, good as dead on the ATP tour.
But Safin got a stay of execution today, serving himself out of trouble in the ninth game of the third set and finally winning the match, 7-3, in the tiebreak.
The ironic thing about my jailhouse metaphor is that Marat sees the end of his tennis career as a life-saver, not a death sentence:
“It’s beautiful what people see on TV, when you’re on the court, and there are all those people in the stadium,” Safin told the AFP in Paris. “But nobody sees the other side of it, when you have to do the massages, when you have to practise, when you have to do a lot of things. I haven’t been able to do a lot of the things I want to do.”
“Also, after a certain time, you live in a state of what feels almost like continuous stress. I want to get out of it, just so that I’m able to breathe.“
And what will the tournament organizers give Marat Safin at his final sendoff? A trophy representing the keys to the Bercy arena.
Juan Martin del Potro is his next opponent. Ah, free at last.
AP Photo/Michel Euler via Daylife
Okay enough of my doom and gloom. Here’s some of Safin at his best, against the best:
Anyone else just enjoy listening to these rallies? (Thank you to whoever made the video for not putting an annoying techno song over the action.)