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August 5, 2004

Marat Safin


THE MODERATOR: We'll open it up for questions with Marat Safin.

Q. You had never played him before. How did you approach this match? You must have been a little bit worried to play him for the first time.

MARAT SAFIN: Yeah, it's a little bit tough opponent to play. No rhythm. I mean, he serves incredibly well. So I have to be really focused and wait for opportunities because -- for your chances. So I had a chance in the first set. I had a few breakpoints. Then in the tiebreak just you have to be focus. There always will be one point if you will miss, or also the second serve, then you have to take advantage of it. But it's kind of just one, two points makes a big difference in that match. So it was try to stay focus, try to hold my serve, and hang in there and wait.

Q. What are you the most happy of in your game?

MARAT SAFIN: That even that I stayed quite focused. I managed to return, I managed to have my breakpoints, quite a lot of chances to break him even though that he was serving well. I mean, five, six breakpoints, that's a big deal against him. And even though I couldn't take my chances, but I was there. That's a good sign.

Q. You had a bunch of breakpoints. We didn't see the point that you won, you got your break in the third set. I think he had already saved a couple. What happened?

MARAT SAFIN: Basically he made the double-fault. But I don't think so. But they called it out.

Q. You seemed to have a lot of people cheering for you out there. Is that common for you in the early rounds, do you think?

MARAT SAFIN: I don't know what's common. If the people, they enjoy it, that's great. I don't think they're just cheering me they want me to win, they want to see also a good game. Must be like they like me, they like my game. I'm happy for them (smiling).

Q. Do the fans play a part in a match for you?


Q. Do you find the fans play a part in a match for you?

MARAT SAFIN: It's kind of good to have some support. I mean, of course it's good. They are really into it. I heard some people, that they were. No, it's good to have some supporters even though that there was a match on center court. And they were really, the people, they were really into it. I mean, not so many of them, but, still, they were really trying to help me and try to give some advices and supporting me. That's good. That's good.

Q. You play with some emotion and personality, obviously. Do you try to, to some extent, play to the fans and win them over?

MARAT SAFIN: Can you repeat that?

Q. Do you attempt to get the fans on your side by showing personality on the court?

MARAT SAFIN: No, I'm not trying. I'm just trying to win the match. That's my main goal. I mean, when you are winning, everybody's just -- they like it. I mean, the people, they really like the winners; they don't like the losers. So when you are playing well and your main goal to win, then you are kind of playing good tennis and feeling comfortable on the court and you have some great shots so the people, they love it. They always like to see some great shots. That's what it's all about, is entertainment. Is nothing else. Entertainment, sport. The people, they pay not just to see the boring match and just, you know, to kill the time. They're coming here and they want to see tennis - great points, they want to see personalties, they want to see athletes fighting and all these things. So basically you have to give them.

Q. You've been up to No. 1, then you had some struggles and injuries. Do you sense there are a lot of tennis fans rooting for you to get back up there, they're cheering for you now?

MARAT SAFIN: Apart from that, also I'm doing for myself. I'm not doing for anybody else. It's not so easy, though, to come back and try to come back strong and all of a sudden become No. 1 in the world. It takes a little bit of time. I've been out for quite -- almost for a year. So I need to get used to -- you need to come back, first of all, to get the rhythm, to get the confidence back. Because sometimes if you are injured and you are a little bit scared, also it can break again, not just of the injury. So is little bit more mental, mental problem. Just, you know, like you have to get through this and you have to work harder because you lost already one year. If you didn't play for a year, you're losing that touch, you're losing the eye, you're losing the feeling, you're losing most of the things of the game. And you need to bring it back, and then you can fight for No. 1 and try to do some great things on the court.

Q. What kind of things did you do to occupy your time during that year? Was it hard to find something that interested you?

MARAT SAFIN: Anything except tennis (smiling). Anything.

Q. Was it hard to come up with things that interested you?

MARAT SAFIN: Believe me, there are very interesting things in life except tennis. I mean, tennis is great. But also there is -- is not the only thing in life that can a person have. And, believe me, there is much more things than that. Tennis is a part of your life, a major part of your life. But if you are not playing tennis, there is plenty of things to do.

Q. Do you find motivation a little bit easier to come as you go along the week rather than first round?

MARAT SAFIN: I mean, the motivation kills -- what kills motivation? Kills if you lose in the first round, it kills the matches that you are fighting and you are trying as hard as you can and losing 7-6 in the third and then you are just like, you know, 7-6, 7-6. I lost to Bjorkman, for example, in Halle 7-6 in the third. I lost in Wimbledon tough match. I had the opportunity to win in three sets and I lost it. Then I lost to Kiefer 7-6 in the third. So how you can find the motivation? I mean, motivation automatically goes away. Because you are trying and you are trying so hard that it's just killing you from inside. So when you have the opportunity to win, then the motivation comes back - I mean, with the matches and the confidence coming back. Once you have the confidence, you enjoy it more, tennis. You don't struggle any more on the court. You just go there and you play and you enjoy it because you can do things that normally you do playing good.

Q. Therefore, as you get to the quarterfinals, it's easier because you've got some wins?

MARAT SAFIN: Now we're talking about something. If you lose the first round, second round, it's not interesting actually. It's just basically you didn't achieve anything. So if you're in the quarterfinals, it's already something that can become something bigger. Once you have quarterfinals, then ambitions, motivation, ambitions, they coming back. You want to achieve more and more and more.

Q. You don't know who you're going to play, but can you say a few words about Hewitt and about Henman.

MARAT SAFIN: I mean, it's gonna be tough match for both of them. I mean, Henman, he can play great tennis. Hewitt is always tough, he's always running, he's always fighting, and he gonna be there for as many hours as he need to be there. I mean, against Hewitt it's little bit difficult just because he's all the time fighting, and you have to be there for 100 percent every game, every point, even though if you are winning he can come back from out of nowhere. With Henman, the problem is that he can serve well, he has great volleys, and he has a very aggressive game. So you have to be pretty focused and take your chances - basically like today. There's one, two points that makes a big difference. He serves well. He improved a lot - improved a lot. I mean, he can play from the baseline, he can go to the net. I mean, the volley, he's just one of the best now in these days. From the baseline, he improved. He can run with you. If you're not 100 percent, he will just -- he will beat you quite easy.

End of FastScripts….

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