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August 31, 2004

Marat Safin



Q. Talk about struggling on the hard courts. Are you not getting the right feel? What's been happening?

MARAT SAFIN: Yeah, not enough confidence. Not enough confidence to beat these guys. Best result that I made this summer on hard courts was the quarterfinals in Cincinnati. Just coming here and without confidence, it's a little bit tough. Especially the first round against Thomas, he's coming back and playing well. He's full of confidence. He's a tough player to beat. But not enough. Not enough these days.

Q. Does 2000 here feel like ages ago to you, more than just a few years ago?

MARAT SAFIN: Four years is what it feels like. Yeah, but that was a little bit different story. I had no fear. I had nothing to lose basically. And I was coming here, I was full of confidence. Even though I almost lost two matches in a row, against (inaudible) and Grosjean. I could have lost also in the second round and third one. Broke through, then I won the tournament. So these kind of matches you have to win. But right now wasn't my day. Just not enough. I didn't play good enough to beat this guy.

Q. Sometimes players, former champions here, will say when they come over the bridge into New York, they see the tennis center at a distance, it changes their whole feeling. Do you have that feeling about this place, or did you?

MARAT SAFIN: What, they try to be tennis players, they try to be a little bit too smart or what?

Q. They get a very special feeling.

MARAT SAFIN: They're just a tennis players. What feeling you can have? You coming here. It's a Grand Slam tournament, of course. You want to win. That kind of feeling. But I don't know what they're trying to say to you, like they have a different view of life, I don't know. I don't think so.

Q. Did it change your life?

MARAT SAFIN: It change my life. But the tournament, I won the tournament. I don't think I'm coming over the bridge, I see the stadium and I am going crazy. Yeah, it's a place of my job. And of course it's a good feeling when you're playing well and whenever you're winning, but not like every time you cross the bridge, you see (looking in awe). I don't know what they're trying to say, seriously. Maybe themselves they don't know.

Q. Did playing the Olympics feel like a job, or was that something altogether different?

MARAT SAFIN: The Olympic Games is special. First of all, you're playing for your country. Second of all, you're playing for yourself. With all the respect it has, this competition has a lot of thousands years, whatever, history and everything. So for every player, every athlete, it's very important that event. So basically it feels really special. You live in a village atmosphere, you live in a village with other athletes, you compete. If you get a gold, it's like big thing for yourself, just a great achievement in your life.

Q. So just to be there is very unique.

MARAT SAFIN: Especially, yeah. Just participating in these events, it's cool.

Q. Then to come here after that, was there a sense of being deflated? Was it any different coming into The Open?

MARAT SAFIN: No. I mean, all the Grand Slams is a special feeling, of course. It's just, you know, because you're playing something huge, that (inaudible) result. Winning this tournament can change your life. Basically it's doing good for yourself. You're fighting to win the tournament. By winning this tournament, you go to the next level.

Q. Does today's loss eat you up? Are you terribly disappointed? Can you move on?

MARAT SAFIN: I am terribly disappointed. I really am. I had a lot of expectation for the tournament. I feel bad, yeah. To be honest, I'm feeling not really happy with myself. But it's already past so I cannot change it. I have to make some -- take something positive out of it.

Q. How come you didn't show that much emotion during the match like you usually do?

MARAT SAFIN: Okay, this is the answer. First of all, whenever I try to show emotions, nobody likes it. When I don't show emotions, nobody likes it. What the hell do you want me to do (laughter)? Whenever I show emotions, everybody is criticizing me and complaining, like, "Why you break so many racquets? Why you shout?" Whenever I try to be calm, I try to be concentrated, is not good enough. So tell me how I should be, please (smiling).

Q. Sometimes emotion lifts a player, but you didn't seem to get inspired at all.

MARAT SAFIN: Inspired and emotion is different things. Don't mix it up.

Q. After you won the third set, you didn't get off to a good start in the fourth.

MARAT SAFIN: Yeah, but I was there. I had my chance in the first game. Basically one or two points that make the difference. Then, what, shout, criticize, fight with the umpire? I have no power for this. I'm trying to fight against Enqvist. It's already good enough for me. I try to be there. I didn't want to waste my energy shouting and throwing racquets. By the way, I throw two times the racquet. At least it was something (smiling). No, I'm joking. But I really try to be a little about it calm and I try to just play -- try at least to play concentrated and just follow what the coach said. But wasn't good enough.

Q. When you have time to yourself, when there's no one around, you can just think about yourself and your game, does it occur to you that you are very likely the most gifted player in men's tennis?


Q. Physically.


Q. You are. But there may be something lacking emotionally that's holding you back. What do you do about that?

MARAT SAFIN: You're really killing me. Okay, let's put it this way. Other people also are very talented. Not one untalented player could be in a Top 10 or Top 20. Show me one untalented person. Yes, I'm one of them. There is Federer, Roddick. Talented, right? Yes, don't make the face. Federer, yes. Ferrero, yes. Hewitt, Moya.

Q. Safin.

MARAT SAFIN: Safin is No. 13 still. There's like a bunch of other people that really have something great in their game. Otherwise they would not be there. Tell me one limited person who would be No. 1 in the world. You would say Hewitt. It's not true. Believe me, the guy has so much. He has huge balls and he has so great physically that it's a joke. I mean, whenever it comes to the really like important point in a match, he gives the best passing shot of the year probably. And it is like this. Yes, I'm part of it. Thank you very much. But still I have to fight, you know.

Q. Why can't you be there?

MARAT SAFIN: I'm there, 13 (smiling). I'm trying. Believe me, I'm trying. I'm trying for myself. First of all, I'm trying for myself. I'm not trying for anybody. I really feel bad when I'm not getting to the finals, when I'm not getting to the semifinals of the tournaments. It really bothers me. It really bothers me the opinion of society. Yes, it is. It is bothering me, because everybody expecting me to win the tournaments. Because I was in 2000, I was No. 1 in the world, and I finish No. 2, and I won the US Open, everybody expect for me to be there again. But, believe me, for some reason, I'm trying, I'm fighting. It's just costing me too much. I'm trying. I'm trying and I'm pushing myself. I try to change something. I'm looking for the coaches. I'm talking to Peter Lundgren. It's not like I'm wasting my time. I don't want to waste my time. My time really costs a lot of money.

Q. What would you say to your fans? You beat Roddick and Agassi, get to the final of the Australian Open, then the rest of the year is very disappointing. What would you say to the people?

MARAT SAFIN: What I can say to myself? What I can say to most of the fans? I don't know.

Q. If you could change one thing after your great run in Melbourne for this year, what would you change?

MARAT SAFIN: If I go back to Australian Open? What you say?

Q. After.

MARAT SAFIN: After the Australian Open? Don't change anything, because everything was perfect. But just I couldn't -- I couldn't get any further than the third round. I had the opportunity. I played well in Monte-Carlo. Lost semifinals. And then by the way of French Open, I was unlucky, really unlucky. I started to feel well and I started to play better and better. Since then, basically my results are really like really dropped. So just, you know, I'm waiting for the better times and I'm doing all the job. It's not like I'm wasting my time, wasting the time of my coach. I'm paying him money. So basically I'm really interested in playing well, as well he is. And I'm working. Believe me, I'm working quite hard to be there. But for some reason, is not enough.

Q. Was today's loss more your fault or the fault of Thomas?

MARAT SAFIN: If I would lie to myself, I would say is Thomas, Thomas' fault. But I don't want to lie to myself. A part of it, a huge part of it is my fault because I let him play well. He took a chance and he's experienced enough to take this advantage.

Q. What did he do that gave you trouble?

MARAT SAFIN: I mean, he played quite well from the baseline. He was really taking advantage of any small, slightest chance I was giving him, he was taking it. Like I would say the breakpoints, he took straightaway. He took them straightaway. I had a lot of breakpoints in the first set. Love-40, I had, to go just 4-2, then 5-2, finish the set. Because if I would win the first set, it would be completely different story.

Q. After Todd Martin retired last night, he was asked what has been the best shot he faced in his career. He surprised some by saying Lleyton's backhand passing shot. You just mentioned that, too. Would you agree with Todd? What is special about his passing shot?

MARAT SAFIN: Hewitt's?

Q. Yes.

MARAT SAFIN: Just he makes impossible possible. Like when you go to the net, you're not -- he's not scared. You don't have so much confidence with the volley. Wait. Whenever you go to the net with normal people, you can -- sometimes they don't make it, they just drop you on the hand and that's it. You just put wherever you want, the volley. Against Hewitt, whenever I go against Hewitt to the volley, you can -- I don't know, you cannot predict. You're not sure hundred percent that you will win the point. He will make like unbelievable, incredible passing shot out of nowhere. You know, is giving you confidence. Giving you confidence to attack all the time, you're really choking before you go to the net. Then you start to make mistakes.

End of FastScripts….

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