Best of Marat Safin – part 1

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”.

15 – Shanghai 2009: Shut the fuck up and play

After his loss to Tomas Berdych:
“Just come on; just grow up a little bit; 26 years old; just deal with that. If you’re losing, just be a man; be a man and lose as a man.
Don’t pretend like you are injured and then you start running around and start to hit winners and then all of a sudden you pull the hands up in the air after winning the match?
So then of course the guy will say: ‘No, I’ve been injured but then I felt a little bit better’. Of course he will find 10,000 excuses. Still, it’s not enough. You’re playing or you’re not playing. If you’re playing, so just shut the fuck up and play.”

14 – US Open 2009: Everybody is an underachiever

Marat played his last major at US Open 2009. Ousted by journeyman Jurgen Melzer in the first round, he quits tennis without any regrets:

“In the history of tennis, every single player is an underachiever”

“Agassi should have been winning 15 grand slams. Sampras should have been winning 20 grand slams. Federer should be winning 25 already. Everybody could do better. I should probably have won a couple of more, but I’m pretty satisfied with what I did.”

Tell me what you think of that. Given his talent, do you think Marat is the biggest underachiever in tennis history?

Marat Safin, 2009 US Open

13 – Hamburg 2000: a beer with Guga

After an epic battle in the finals of Hamburg (remember when Masters series finals were played in best of five sets ?), Champion Gustavo Kuerten and runner-up Marat Safin toasted each other with a glass of beer at the post-match news conference.
Can you imagine Federer and Nadal having a beer during a press conference after Wimbledon’s final?

A few months later, asked if he had designs on emulating Kournikova and emigrating soon to the U.S, Safin responded:

“Oh, so you want me to kill myself? They don’t even let me drink a beer in this country.”

12 – Hopman Cup 2009: the black eyes

Safin arrived in Australia sporting two black eyes after celebrating the new year in Russia:

“I won the fight, I’m good, I’m OK. I got in trouble in Moscow but it’s OK, I can survive. It’s just a small problem. I wasn’t in the right place at the right time.”

11 – US Open 2008: foot fault

Marat Safin

A surprising semi finalist at Wimbledon, 2000 US Open winner Marat Safin didn’t make the headlines for his (lackluster) game but for his outburst during first round match against journeyman Vince Spadea.
Safin was upset by a foot fault called on a second serve:

“It’s stupid rules that somebody made in, I don’t know, 1850”

“I just want to have a nice match, win or lose, and whatever happens go home,” Safin said.
“That’s it. I don’t want to face foot faults and all these things. So I don’t have to put myself together, let’s try to calm down and play some tennis.
The guy from Vince’s side was shouting every five minutes ‘Come on Vince. Come on Vince.’ It’s annoying. So you need to really concentrate on that.
But unfortunately I have to. I have to do that. But I wish I could play normal tennis and enjoy my matches sometimes.”

At least, Marat didn’t threat the line official, unlike a certain someone

10 – Wimbledon 2007: the spaghetti

Marat hates Wimbledon, and lets everyone knows it:
“You have to wear white, be nice and polite to people. I do not like this tournament. We got 20 pounds for lunch, I have a coach and a masseuse, and one portion of the most uneatable spaghetti costs 12 pounds. A portion of tasteless strawberries with cream from a sachet costs 5 pounds, coffee another 5. The rest of the food is horrible – fish and chips … What’s really unappealling is disrespect. How can you give such a treatment to people?”

Marat Safin, Wimbledon

9 – French Open 98: the tennis world discovers Marat Safin

On his Grand Slam debut, he beat Andre Agassi and defending champion Gustavo Kuerten in the first two rounds. Ranked 116th, Marat lost to Cédric Pioline in the fourth round in a 5 set thriller: 7-5, 4-6, 6-7 (5-7), 6-4, 6-4. Since then, Safin has always been a crowd favorite in Roland Garros, while a run to the 2002 semi-finals remains his best performance.

8 – Wimbledon 2008: the semies and the worst challenge ever

Ranked n°75, Safin discovers he can play well on grass and reaches the semies in Wimbledon after surprising wins over 3rd seed Djokovic, Stanislas Wawrinka and Feliciano Lopez. Federer wins in straight sets but Marat entertains the crowd as always: worst challenge ever?
Even Federer and the umpire can’t help but laugh…

Please share with us your favorite Marat’s moment. Read: Best of Marat Safin – part 2.

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