Remember when Ivanisevic used to say every game he played, there were three players that could surface anytime: Good Goran, Bad Goran, Crazy Goran. The same could be said about Marat Safin.

A larger than life persona and one of the most charismatic tennis player ever, Marat is a man capable of blowing away any opponent or blowing up himself. A man capable of overwhelming the great Pete Sampras to win the US Open at only 20. A man capable of pulling down his shorts to celebrate a point. A man capable of showing up for a tournament with two black eyes.

Marat Safin

I’ve always been a big fan of Marat: sometimes I loved him, sometimes I hated him but now I really miss his game, his humor and his crazyness.

Part 1: 15 to 8
15 – Shanghai 2009: Just shut the fuck up and play
14 – US Open 2009: Everybody is an underachiever
13 – Hamburg 2000: a beer with Guga
12 – Hopman Cup 2009: black eyes
11 – US Open 2008: foot fault
10 – Wimbledon 2007: the spaghetti
9 – French Open 1998
8 – Wimbledon 2008: worst challenge ever?

Note: it’s not a ranking of Marat’s achievements, these are just 15 moments of Marat’s career which reflect “Marat being Marat”.
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A: Andy Murray
After his semi at Wimbledon and his impressive win in Montreal, Andy Murray seemed ready to win his elusive maiden Grand Slam. Ousted by big server Marin Cilic in the fourth round, Murray has perhaps finally learned that to win a major one must act more than react.

B: Bernard Tomic
Australia’s hottest tennis prospect won his second junior GS title, defeating Chase Buchanan in finals. At just 15 years and three months, Tomic became the youngest junior GS winner in history in Melbourne in 2008. He has now decided to shift his focus on his professional ranking.
Do you think he will emulate Andy Roddick, winner in juniors in 2000 and in seniors in 2003?

C: Caroline Wozniacki

Caroline Wozniacki, 2009 US Open

First major final for the 19yr old Dane, who had to face only one seed to reach the final: in the fourth round against reigning French Open champion Svetlana Kuznetsova, Wozniacki rallied a break down in the third set to win 2–6, 7–6(5), 7–6(3). But she couldn’t put an end to Clijsters’ fairytale comeback.

D: Djokovic Novak
In his semi against Federer, he never acted like he could win. He tried to revamp his image following his 08 US Open faux-pas but it’s perhaps time for him to revamp his game.

E: Esther Vergeer
Forget Sampras, Federer and Lendl, Esther Vergeer is the most dominant player ever, and you probably never heard of her.
Unbeaten since January 2003, the 28 yr old wheelchair tennis player won her 8th US Open title, her 139th singles titles.

F: Flavia Pennetta
The 27 yr old italian had a terrific summer with wins in Palermo on clay, in Los Angeles on hard court, and an entry in the top 10 ranking. Flavia lost only 6 games in her first three rounds at the US Open but saved six match points against Zvonareva to reach the quarter finals, where Serena defeated her in straight sets.

G: Gonzalez Fernando

Fernando Gonzalez, 2009 US Open

The hard hiting Chilean made it through to the quarter finals for the second time of his career, beating 7th seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the fourth round. He then played two close sets to Rafael Nadal, before falling in 3 sets in an empty Arthur Ashe stadium.

H: Henin Justine
“I do think that [Henin] is planning something” Clijsters said. “She’s always been very competitive as well, and the way she ended her career still seems strange to me. I do think that she will come back.”
She was right indeed. Two weeks after Clijsters’ triumph at Flushing, Henin announced her comeback.

I: Isner John
Isner, the giant turned giant killer was the last American standing in the men’s singles draw at the U.S. Open. The Georgia University graduate stuned Roddick in the thid round in a five set thriller: 7-6(3), 6-3, 3-6, 5-7, 7-6(5). He then bowed out to Spain’s Verdasco in four sets in the next round.

J: Juan Martin Del Potro

Juan Martin Del Potro, 2009 US Open

Juan Martin Del Potro ended Federer’s five year unbeaten streak at the US Open to win his first Grand Slam title.
“I had two dreams this week” said Del Potro during the trophy ceremony: “One was to win the US Open and the other is to be like Roger”. “One is done, but I need to improve a lot to be like you”.
With a monster forehand and a consistent backhand, the Argentine possesses all the weapons to become the next number one.

K: Kim Clijsters

Kim Clijsters, 2009 US Open

“I am looking at this as a second career, not as a comeback, as I am now in a situation where not everything revolves around tennis 24h a day.”
In only her third tournament since her come back, she won her second US Open title, becoming the first mom to win a major since Evonne Goolagong in 1980.

L: a little LOVE for Safina?
Dismissed by her peers and the media for her Grand Slam collapses, Dinara Safina was furious at the organisers for shifting her 3rd round match from Arthur Ashe to Louis Armstrong stadium. But no matter the stadium, a loss is still a loss: she was defeated by Petra Kvitova, ranked 72.

M: Marin Cilic
Marin Cilic scored the biggest upset of US Open 2009, defeating Andy Murray in the fourth round 7-5 6-2 6-2. Despite a set and a break up, he lost against eventual winner Juan Martin Del Potro in quarter finals.

US Open Trivia

– The US Open has been played on 3 different surfaces: it was originally played on grass until Forest Hills switched to Har-Tru clay courts in 1975. In 1978, the event moved from Forest Hills to its current home at Flushing Meadows, and the surface changed again, to the current DecoTurf.
Jimmy Connors is the only player to have won the US Open on all three surfaces.

– The main court is located at the 24,000-seat Arthur Ashe Stadium, named after Arthur Ashe, the African American tennis player who won the inaugural men’s final of the US Open in 1968.
Court Number 2 is Louis Armstrong Stadium, which stood as the main stadium until the completion of Ashe stadium. Court Number 3 is the Grandstand Stadium, which is attached to the Louis Armstrong Stadium.

-In 1970, the US Open was the first Grand Slam tournament to use the tie breaker. At the time, it was a 9 point playoff with the first player to 5 winning. The US Open is still the only Grand Slam tournament to use tie breakers in the third set for women and the fifth set for men.

-In 1975, the US Open became the first Grand Slam tournament to hold matches at night. Fewer than 5,000 fans turned out to watch the very first night match

Tracy Austin is the youngest singles champion. She was 16 years 8 months and 28 days when she won in 1979. Besides Austin, Maureen Connolly and Martina Hingis also won the women’s singles title before their 17th birthdays.

Pete Sampras is the male youngest singles champion. He was 19 years and 28 days when he beat Andre Agassi in 1990.

– The longest match on record in the history of the U.S. Championships came on Sept. 12, 1992, when Stefan Edberg and Michael Chang played for five hours and 26 minutes in the men’s singles semifinals, before Edberg won 6-7(3), 7-5, 7-6(3), 5-7, 6-4.

– In 2006, the US Open became the first Grand Slam tournament to implement instant replay reviews of calls, using Hawk-Eye.

– In 2007, Roger Federer became the first men’s singles player to win 4 consecutive US Open.

Roger Federer’s day look:

2010 US Open: Roger Federer Nike outfit

2010 US Open: Roger Federer Nike outfit

2010 US Open: Roger Federer Nike outfit

2010 US Open: Roger Federer Nike outfit

2010 US Open: Roger Federer Nike outfit

2010 US Open: Roger Federer Nike outfit

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Manuel Santana, Andres Gimeno, Manuel Orantes, Sergi Bruguera, Carlos Moya, Albert Costa, Juan Carlos Ferrero: all of those spanish players won at least one Grand Slam tournament.
But without a doubt 8 times Grand Slam winner Rafael Nadal tops them all. Australian Open, French Open, Wimbledon, Olympics, Davis Cup, he won it all.
The only one trophy missing is the US Open, a major won by two fellow countrymen: Manuel Santana in 1965 and Manuel Orantes in 1975.

Manuel Santana, now director of Madrid Masters Series, was the first Spaniard to win a Grand Slam title: in 1961 he defeated Nicola Pietrangeli in 5 sets to capture his first Roland Garros title. Three years later the two met again in final and Manolo needed only 4 sets to regain the trophy.

In 1965, in a game totally dominated by Americans and Australians, Santana became the first European to win the US title since Henri Cochet in 1928! He defeated South African Cliff Drysdale in final, one of the first players in the game to use the two-handed backhand.

The ever charming Santana became a national hero in Spain one year later when he won Wimbledon against doubles specialist Dennis Ralston.

Manuel Santana - Wimbledon 1966

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