|Browse by Sport
|Find us on
SAP OPEN MEDIA CONFERENCE
January 31, 2007
MODERATOR: Thank you, everybody, for your patience here. Marat is a two-time Grand Slam champion, a former World No. 1, and most recently added to his resume a Davis Cup title in December. He's going to be making a San Jose debut in 10 days. So Marat, welcome. From myself and all the staff at the SAP Open, we want to welcome you to San Jose for the first time.
MARAT SAFIN: Thank you very much.
Q. You'll be playing here on Tuesday night, February 13, feature match at 7:30?
MARAT SAFIN: Yes.
Q. Obviously you made a big splash here in 2000 when you beat Steve. Are you surprised you haven't won more majors since then?
MARAT SAFIN: No, because I had my chances. I made the finals in Australian Open, and I won two times; and since then I been injured a couple years. Every year I finished the round. I got injured the next year.
So it's very difficult to make a come-back straightaway, win a Grand Slam. So if I wouldn't be so much time injured I would do much better.
But otherwise I'm satisfied because I could, a lot of people didn't win any.
Q. Where do you see your game right now?
MARAT SAFIN: Well, improving. And have very difficult, in the Australian Open I had my chance against (inaudible). But otherwise I'm playing very well and moving forward this season, and I think I'll have my chance to come back and I will definitely take them.
Q. Marat, why did you decide to play San Jose this year?
MARAT SAFIN: Well, kind of I want to change -- I wanted to change something because I've playing for the last few years in Europe.
And I decided why not try something in the states and a little bit earlier, just think of all the tours around the states, why not try it. I want to be doing something else rather than playing in Europe.
Q. Marat, after the Australian Open, the talk seems to be that there's Roger and then there's everybody else, that he's playing on a completely different level. I'm just wondering what your thoughts are about the way Federer is dominating the sport right now?
MARAT SAFIN: Obviously he's the best one on the tour. And he's going to be probably, if everything goes the same way he's going to be the best player of all times.
And nobody can stop him because nobody is as consistent as he is. And nobody is as talented as he is and the way he sees the game.
So, unfortunately, nobody can compete with him and be at the same level. And I don't see anybody to be there next to him. And even (inaudible), I don't think he'll be able to make, he will challenge Federer in the next year.
So I don't know, something has to happen to Roger for us to be somewhere near him.
Q. What do you think about Andy's game right now? You obviously had an exciting match against him, and he's going to be in San Jose next month as well?
MARAT SAFIN: Well, he improved a lot. He's been playing some aggressive tennis, and he's improved his volleys much better backhand. And this work he's done with Jimmy Connors has given him the strategies on the court, much more confident and of course his game has improved and he worked through a lot of stuff.
And I think he's much more a solid player as he used to be before.
Q. Where are you right now? Where are you calling from?
MARAT SAFIN: I'm in Moscow right now.
Q. Where are you?
MARAT SAFIN: Moscow.
Q. Obviously Hawkeye has played a real role with the electronic scoring. What are your thoughts on that? Do you see a change in the chair umpires? Are they doing their job? What are your thoughts on that?
MARAT SAFIN: Well, it's kind of, there's a lot of controversies with these things because some people like it and some people don't like it. And it gives us an advantage just in case. At an important point, you can (inaudible) the chair can decide the match.
And in this case I think the Hawkeye is the right thing to be there, even though some people don't like it.
But I think it's quite a good idea because it's difficult for the chair umpire to judge sometimes because the ball is flying so fast, he can't really see it and it's difficult for them to make a right decision.
Q. And also you've had a lot of times when you've been off the tour and had to sort of come back, and the whole tennis world saw what Serena did coming out of nowhere to win. What are your thoughts on her performance?
MARAT SAFIN: Well, I think she did a good job, even though I didn't see one match of hers. But I think it was very incredible because she was ranked 81 in the world, and I know that Petrova almost beat her. And pretty impressive score on the finals against Sharapova. She might have been playing great tennis and I'm pretty happy for her because to come back and win the Grand Slam, it's really nearly impossible.
Q. Speaking of Davis Cup, you obviously just came off a big win there, kicking off again next week. When you look at the U.S. team on paper, it's quite powerful with Roddick and Blake and others and it's more than 10 years since we won the championship. Why do you think it's so hard for U.S. to win on clay overseas; it seems to be its weakness?
MARAT SAFIN: It's not your favorite turf. There's nothing wrong about it. The players who play on the hard courts, it's just the way it is. You don't have many clay courts in the states. That's why a lot of Germans are on the hard courts. That's why they keep playing on the hard courts until they become professionals, but from there to try to learn how to play on clay, it takes much longer time than to learn how to play from clay -- move from clay to the hard court.
Q. Even again on paper it's a very strong team, do you see them as the underdog going into the Czech Republic or do you see them as the favorite?
MARAT SAFIN: I think they're the favorite, but you can't underestimate the Czech, because they're a solid team. But I think on paper your team is looking better, but definitely has a lot of (inaudible) in the Czech Republic and they have pretty good doubles, as well as you. So every single match can decide the score in a tie.
So it's kind of very equal but on paper, of course, the states look better.
Q. Speaking of instant replay, I know they don't have any in San Jose, is it your feeling there's a growing comfort of players using the system. I talked to several players in Australia actually stop this point to middle because they were wanted to check the call whereas in the beginning I didn't see that very often?
MARAT SAFIN: I think it's okay. We have to get used to it, but I think it's a good idea, because I know people have been complaining before that one wrong call from the chair decided the match on the wrong side, want an opportunity to check it for themselves, I think it's a very good one.
Q. Do you think it's a growing comfort in using the system?
MARAT SAFIN: Yes.
Q. I've been wanting to have you here the past six or seven years, and when you come to San Jose, what do you think about the player field, Roddick and Blake and Murray and Fish and what's your call when you come to San Jose?
MARAT SAFIN: I think it's pretty good tournament for the past, I don't know how many years, but -- well, since I've been playing already they have always a good draw. I guess it was always telling and (inaudible) was going there a lot of times and Murray won a tournament. This year they have a pretty good tour. And I think it's going to be very interesting and I want to come there and try to win it.
I didn't win a tournament for a long time and I'm looking forward to do it there. Why not? It's going to be my first one in two years.
Q. Were you surprised that Andy didn't put up a better showing against Federer?
MARAT SAFIN: It's difficult for me to judge. But I was pretty sure that Federer was going to win. And it's sort of the way it is because Roger feels very comfortable against Roddick. And I was not surprised, but it was very easy. But the last few couple of matches it's been easy also.
So with all due respect to Andy, I think he's a great player. I think Roger, he's way too good for all of us.
Q. What does a loss like that do to a player's confidence?
MARAT SAFIN: Nothing, because you're not losing to somebody, some yo-yo guy; you're losing to number one, the one who won 10 Grand Slams and one of the best players in the history of tennis. So it's nothing to I think to worry about.
Q. On coaching, what's your view? Do you think coaching is overrated in tennis? Or is it really that important?
MARAT SAFIN: Well, it's important. Everybody takes it how you want. Some people they like to have somebody just to be comfortable and not to be lonely. Other people they need to work on some shots and some people they need to get the confidence somehow.
So everybody takes a different approach on those aspects. And, trust me, it's not really easy to travel alone around the world for 30 weeks a year. And you know it's nearly impossible. So you need to be with somebody. And need somebody to hang out because the tennis is a very personal thing, sport. So we need some support. We need some kind of good environment around you.
So I think you need to have somebody with you for, not full time, but somebody who knows about tennis.
Q. But in the case of like Connors and Roddick, can somebody really come in there and have that big an effect on their game?
MARAT SAFIN: Andy has improved a lot since he's been working with Jimmy. So I think in his case he played a very big role.
Q. Marat, could you describe your personality and your approach to tennis?
MARAT SAFIN: Again?
Q. Could you describe your personality and your approach to tennis?
MARAT SAFIN: Well, I don't know. I have to live how I want to live. That's how I am and it doesn't matter if people don't like me, but it's how I see the world, how I am. I couldn't judge. I think it's more for the people and for the (inaudible) for them to judge how they see me. But the way I'm living, I'm pretty satisfied that's how I am. Or is it somebody likes it, it's good; somebody doesn't like me, I have nothing to worry about.
Q. I think you were quoted in Australia as saying that it's more important for you to be a normal person than to be number one. Is that true?
MARAT SAFIN: Well, I want to live my life. It doesn't matter -- of course I want to be number one in the world. But I don't want to also, I want to live and enjoy my life.
So if it's fate, then it's fate. It was fate six years ago. So it's nothing wrong about it, living my own life, how I see it with being number one in the world and just some people -- there's a lot of different personalities in the world of tennis and the world of sports. So everybody sees it a different way.
And I see it this way and differently, of course, that I want to become number one in the world again. In my case I was already. So again I would like to do that.
Q. You've had more success against Pete Sampras than against Federer. Do you think Federer is better than Sampras and, if so, why?
MARAT SAFIN: Well, for the moment Pete has more Grand Slams than Federer. But Federer has the potential to become better than Sampras. So (inaudible).
Q. On your better days, do you have a chance to beat Federer?
MARAT SAFIN: I would love to think this way. But I think in this case it's very difficult. Very difficult. But why not? We all can dream and all the dreams are for free.
So hypothetically, yes. But theoretically, it's completely different.
Q. And do you live in Moscow or do you have homes elsewhere?
MARAT SAFIN: Well, I travel around -- I come for a few days Moscow just now. And I've been in Spain and I came to Monaco. So I am with everybody everywhere and I don't really have a home.
Q. Do you like that style?
MARAT SAFIN: I enjoy it. I'm only going to be one 27.
End of FastScripts