November 18, 2004
THE MODERATOR: Questions for Marat, please.
Q. You were very close today to win the first set, to win the second set. What went wrong?
MARAT SAFIN: I couldn't beat him here. Can you imagine if I beat him here, what's gonna happen (smiling). Just a little bit unlucky. It's like I always say, the tiebreaks are a lottery. I had my chances. It could go both, you know, like 7-6, 7-6, to me. But, unfortunately, just wasn't my day. Was not the day. I did everything right. I couldn't say that I made a huge mistakes. The volley, yeah, but the volley is also like little bit unlucky, because just maybe one shot. But I had chances before to break him, and it sucks but... I'm not sad. I'm not sad. I'm still alive. I still have a chance tomorrow against Tim, and hopefully, the way I'm playing, I'm really glad that I'm playing well. I'm feeling each time better and better. It's a little difficult to play outdoors, tough conditions. But it's pretty good.
Q. So what would happen if you beat him here?
MARAT SAFIN: I don't want to think about it, what would happen. What would happen to the tournament, to the crowd, to the people? I don't know. I don't want to think about it.
MARAT SAFIN: Are you serious?
MARAT SAFIN: (Smiling). I don't want to make him sad. His hometown.
Q. It's my understanding that you didn't want to have the replay being played on the big monitors. Why was that? Is it true?
MARAT SAFIN: I didn't mind the replay, but the thing is when you are playing the point and there is -- they are showing the same time the match, it's a little bit, you know, the eyes automatically are going somewhere. So you cannot concentrate basically on the court. It's kind of difficult a little bit. But between the points, why not? I don't care. They can put anything they want. Just during the points, it's a little bit disturbing.
Q. Also, you seemed to have played a great match, but it seemed like the short balls gave you a little trouble, or you got a little unlucky on your approach shots.
MARAT SAFIN: I didn't really feel comfortable with this. I don't know, like for some reason I couldn't make a decision, you know, what to do. Because is also like on important points I didn't want to risk it, I want to risk it, then I thought that just maybe I should stay back and try to, you know, try to play with him from the baseline because I have more chance to beat him from the baseline than just I think - how you say? - more stable, better on baseline than him. So just keep him on the baselline and try to win the point Sometimes I should have gone and I didn't. Sometimes I went. So basically not really consistent, you know. I couldn't make a decision.
Q. Marat, it's been a while since you last played Tim. Is there one of your matches in the past which stands out in your mind?
MARAT SAFIN: Which one?
Q. Is there one? Or do you not remember them?
MARAT SAFIN: Again, again.
Q. Is there one of your previous matches with Tim which stands out for you?
MARAT SAFIN: Not really. No.
MARAT SAFIN: (Laughing).
Q. What do you think the key is going to be to tomorrow's game then?
MARAT SAFIN: Just who's gonna be more focused and who's gonna be more like -- who have more balls, you know - seriously. It's all about. Because the match, it's really important match for both of us. Who's gonna win is gonna go to the semifinal. Who gonna go for it. This kind of game, he has a very difficult game, serve and volley all the time, putting pressure. Me, I would have to stay -- try to stay focused and sometimes go for it on the passing shots. Be more, I would say -- just be able to go for it sometimes, because I would have to. I would not have to try and stay -- and play the points from the baseline. You have to create omething, because he can play from the baseline, he can volley. He has pretty good serve. So you have to go for it, play your game, not be scared of missing.
Q. Today it looked like Andy was mixing it up a little bit on his backhand against you. He hit quite a few single-handed backhand slices and sometimes ripping it with his two-hander. Did you find that was throwing your rhythm at all, by depriving you of pace sometimes with that slice backhand?
MARAT SAFIN: Not really. Just, you know, because he knew that if he plays only topspin, topspin to me, backhand, he doesn't have any chance - not even close. So he had to do something else, which is slicing, try to mix it up a little bit more, forehands, backhands, try to keep it low so I don't be able to create anything from the position.
Q. So you don't think he particularly executed --
MARAT SAFIN: No, he have to do it. He was doing smart, you know. Otherwise, he would run a lot. But he was making -- trying to keep it low, so I would not be able to make winners, not going down the line strong. It was pretty smart from him.
Q. You say your focus will be very important against Tim. Your focus of late, going back through Madrid, Bercy, has been very, very good. Your racquet manufacturers must have almost been wondering what was happening with no request for racquets coming through.
MARAT SAFIN: With the racquets?
Q. Yes. One racquet went against Andy. Is that a good sign or is that a bad sign for you? Do you fear that the anger might be coming back?
MARAT SAFIN: It's not even a sign. Just it was one moment that I really -- I was really pissed off at myself because I had opportunity on Love-40, 15-40, actually, 6-5, and he just went -- when he went to the net and my forehand, he just, you know, like tried to put pressure on me. I'm such a gentleman, I tried to pass him. I should have just go for it, for his body. Because I had basically no other choice. I chose to be a gentleman, and it cost me $120,000 today (laughter).
Q. Was it a conscious decision to try and be a little calmer, try and cut out all the --
MARAT SAFIN: No, but I didn't. I was pretty calm. Just one point, one point that just really pissed me off.
Q. Going back a couple of months, going back to...
MARAT SAFIN: Yeah. I have to be a little bit more calm. That's what Lundgren tried to explain to me. I can break a racquet, but basically you have to, you know, try to keep it -- try to be more calm, just it's better for me this way.
Q. Apart from that point in which you went for the passing, was there any other thing that you would have done differently after the match and now recognize that there was a very, very slim difference between you and Andy today?
MARAT SAFIN: Are you asking what I would change, also?
MARAT SAFIN: Something else?
Q. After the fact, what you would have done.
MARAT SAFIN: Not to make a dropshot on the important moments and just place it, place the volley. The tiebreak, not trying to play it nice, just play it very simple. Sometimes go for the angles. I had to go for the angles instead of just, you know, hitting strong balls, you know. Try to -- a couple of things, but basically nothing. I did nothing wrong.
Q. Other than the tournament, what are your feelings on instant replay for the umpire? You know, because there's so many bad calls in the Grand Slams. Do you have any feeling on that? Do you think that will come about?
MARAT SAFIN: Yeah, but you cannot check the marks every single time. You have to have like three opportunities you are allowed to change, and you should use them. Like, for example, if five sets, you have five times; if three sets, you have three times. Otherwise, I know some people, they are checking all the marks, like from the first game. And this just -- otherwise, it's going to be too much.
Q. Could you talk about the experience of facing Roddick's serve compared to, say, Pete or a Wayne Arthurs or a Rusedski, guys like that?
MARAT SAFIN: All of a sudden -- he's serving well, really strong and really well-placed. All of a sudden, he just -- the serve just breaks down. He's not really stable, but he managed to serve -- for example, like today, he managed to serve really well on the very important moments, like in the tiebreaks. And when I had chances, you know, he was serving for the first serve all the time. All of a sudden, you know, he can serve like whole game with second serve. That gives you a huge chance to break him.
Q. What do you think of his second serve?
MARAT SAFIN: He can come up with the good ones. Really surprise even for him, I guess, a couple of times.
Q. You've been very consistent today sending balls back to Andy's backhand. What is your tactics? Talking about the game with Tim Henman, he slices the ball more than Andy probably.
MARAT SAFIN: No, but he doesn't play only -- he has actually better backhand than the forehand, I guess, because his forehand sometimes just breaks down. You cannot do much from this backhand because he slices, he puts it very low, he puts pressure on you. You know, going to the net and make a passing shot from the low ball is a little bit difficult. But from the forehand, he doesn't really hit unbelievable winners like Andy or Roger. So you can just play to his forehand as a normal shot.
Q. And are you going to practice with the doubles game tomorrow before the match to be prepared for passing shots, for the volleys? To be prepared for Tim's game, I just want to know if you are going to practice some doubles games with someone who can help you to play better at the net?
MARAT SAFIN: No, no, I played already enough matches this year, so enough matches, enough -- I have enough experience to play against these kind of guys. So just when I will warm-up, it will be enough. I don't have to have a special warm-up, you know, with a guy who is going to slice me all the time from the baseline and from the backhand. I don't need that. You are ready mentally. If you are mentally prepared for that, it's okay, it's enough.
End of FastScriptsâ€¦.