photo via WorldTennisMagazine.com
Sorry, I know this isn’t breaking news, but it’s never too late for a Safin fix, is it? When I saw the above photo posted up on Tennis.com I thought – wow, the seniors tour suddenly got a whole lot sexier (not talking about you, Scud). Marat Safin played his first Seniors Event and his first ever South American tournament last week in Rio as part of the Champions Series with Jim Courier, Mats Wilander, Mark Philippoussis, Cedric Pioline, Wayne Ferreira, Mikael Pernfors and Fernando Meligen.
Here’s something I wasn’t expecting: Safin’s the most wholesome-looking of the bunch:
photo via WorldTennisMagazine.com
From InsideOut sports:
After arriving in Rio, the 30-year-old Safin joined Cedric Pioline and Mark Philippoussis and visited the city’s most iconic site – the Corcovado – and enjoyed the view of the city from the famed statue of Christ. Following his tourist jaunt, Safin then stole the show in the tournament’s kick-off press conference, showing off his humor and charisma that earned him many fans around the world.
“It is almost a comedy that I am back in such a short time,” said Safin of so quickly jumping from the ATP World Tour on the Champions Series circuit. “It is an honor to be playing with these legends.”
When asked by the media if he planned to hit the party scene in Rio, Safin said, “As some of the players are here with their wives, they will definitely be out of my team.”
Courier then said that he would probably spend his time having the national drink of Brazil, the Caipirinha. Safin then replied that he came here to play and to work and that he intends to spend a lot of his time on court and with the kids and the sponsors.
Safin’s trip to Rio marks his first trip to South America and he explained to the media why he never cared to play the ATP South American tournaments. “I am going to explain to you,” he said. “Early on the tour, I learned that it wasn’t interesting for me to play in South America, because here it is too much work and not a lot of money. The tournaments here are ATP 250 and if I come, I play (Fernando) Meligeni in the first round, (Juan Ignacio) Chela or (Gaston) Gaudio in the second, maybe Kuerten and then I would have spent four or five hours to win each match, would maybe lose in the semis and get a prize money of approximately US$10,000. With the taxes and air fares, I would win nothing. That is why I always played in Europe and in the States, on the hard courts that I like better.”
To end the meeting with the media, Safin said that he doesn’t intend to be a tennis coach and that being a coach is much different than being a player. “I am not ready to be a coach and I am definitely not going to follow this career,” he said.
He might want to rethink his career choice soon, as the Senior Tour is proving as frustrating as the one he left four months ago. Safin lost his first round match 7-6 (4), 6-4 to Wayne Ferreira, who’s 38 years old and played his last pro tour event in 2004.
AP Photo/Felipe Dana via Daylife
The more things change the more they stay the same – here’s Safin after his match:
“After 20 minutes of play I was dead,” said Safin, who turned 30 years old on January 27. “I felt yesterday after hitting that I had pain in my elbow, in my knee. I had blisters. It is tough not to play for four months and then try to play. I have to get used again to play at least a couple of times a week. This is new for me.” (via InsideOut News)
Tennis is new to him? Has he been playing too much soccer, lately? Here are some photos from a visit to the Maracana stadium.
Something about the yellow just screams “work release.”
Soccer photos from Soccer Source
A little banter from the press conference:
Caption this, if you dare:
Photo via WorldTennisMagazine.com