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January 19, 2007

Marat Safin


THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Start with your thoughts on the match.
MARAT SAFIN: Well, I had everything in my hands. I mean, the first set was a very important one for me. If I was a break up, if I would have won the first one, I think I would have had more chance and I would be a little bit more comfortable on the court and a little bit more confident. But unfortunately I lost my opportunity.
And then even losing the second set, then he was a little bit more pumped up than me because it took me a little bit down, the first one, the opportunity there.

Q. How is your hand? Do you feel any pain?
MARAT SAFIN: Well, no, I can survive (laughter).

Q. Do it get caught underneath you when you went for that volley, or how did you actually do it on the court?
MARAT SAFIN: Yeah, jumping because I slide on the surface and it took off my skin.

Q. What about the rain and the discussion with the referee?
MARAT SAFIN: This is the kind of thing that I'm so disappointed with the officials that I can't imagine how to describe what I feel. Right at that moment because you're feeling really that you have no chance of winning or prove something to them, because they just -- they are so -- they have been so pathetic on this subject. It was a joke. And I really am just so disappointed that really, the people, they are so blind, they don't want to see anything, and I'm just going to say it in front of everybody because it's a nonsense for me.
Because they were cleaning the court from inside, but nobody cleaned the court outside. And it had been like really wet. And I'm showing to them. And the guys are saying, No, you have to play. Why I have to play? Why I have to put my health in doubt? Because we're using all the court. And if I slip and if I get injured and if something happens... No, you have to play.
I said, No, I'm not playing. They said no, started counting. Because the guy comes and says for me it's not wet. The guy never played tennis in his entire life. He comes with the shoes that aren't even tennis shoes, and he's telling me and I'm professional and I know when it's wet and when it's not wet, and he's telling me it's not wet. How ridiculous and how the person just can be this way?
And of course the time is counting. And the guy, of course, proving to everybody that he is the guy who is ruling and he is the guy working for ITF and he can put me fine or whatever I say. If I am saying something with the F word or something he doesn't like, then I get a fine and I'm getting the warning and then the penalty point. Eventually of course I've got a warning because he says I said F word. I said, yeah, whatever, everybody says (laughter).
So anyway, it was really, really pathetic what they did today.

Q. How close to the court were the patches that you thought were unplayable? How close to the court were they?
MARAT SAFIN: Well, just right outside of the doubles line.

Q. Right there?
MARAT SAFIN: Yeah, literally. We should have just wait three, four minutes. It doesn't kill anything. And just the guy, of course -- Andy took the momentum. The guy is absolutely putting me pressure to go and play. Why I have to suffer? Why I have to just run around when the court is slippery?
It's not like I'm trying to prove something. Just I don't want to play when it's wet. It just takes two minutes to dry. Let's wait and then we'll play. Well, of course, because they're broadcasting on the television, so of course they have to put pressure on the players to move the match.
I'm sorry, but just two minutes doesn't make anything. So they can put another commercial . What's the big deal?

Q. At one stage it looked like you had two opponents, Andy and the umpire, given those sort of circumstances. But did you try and get over it rather quickly and refocus on the match or did it bother you for a while because I noticed at a couple of points the umpire called a ball out and then it was challenged and it was actually in, and it happened on two occasions.
MARAT SAFIN: Well, he's a really nice guy outside of the court. Nothing against anybody. But on the court, you have to stop with this thing of I'm your friend. We are out of the court, and we have to forget it. He's getting paid for this. I'm getting paid for what I'm doing. We have to deal with the situation. Then he's overruling the ball that is in. So if you are so sure, it must be out, but he's overruling the linesman. The ball is going 250 kilometers per hour. He's overruling. I am challenging the ball is in. And he says, Listen, I made a mistake. So in this case, what should I do? Put him a fine? No, I cannot do that.
Whatever I was saying, what I was saying in Russian, he's saying, Listen, be careful what you're saying. So he's all over me and all over every person who's playing on the edge of doing something wrong. He's already putting you pressure.
And then afterwards they are complaining that we're not showing any emotion. So where is this barrier to make sure that we have and everybody understands? Afterwards we're fighting because we're not showing anything, and then we are fighting on the court because we are showing too much.

Q. It looked to me as if he was trying to prove he was right.
MARAT SAFIN: But just in a way I wanted to get out of the situation that I was a little bit too much in a match and I was getting a little bit too nervous about it. So it kind of was also a subject for me just to loosen up a little bit, shout at him and whatever (laughter). And getting a warning, I think, was pretty good, and I had my opportunity.
But just the fact it was a little bit too much for this kind of a match and full crowd. Andy was playing great. We both were playing great. What I was asking was just for two minutes of a pause and that's it, and give us a little bit of a chance just to rest. What's the big deal?

Q. Thankfully it moved on and the match was very good.
MARAT SAFIN: Thank you for that.

Q. Do you see differences or improvement in Roddick since the last time you played him?
MARAT SAFIN: Yeah, well, he's more solid. At first, he couldn't volley. He was having a lot of problems with his backhand even the one he just was playing crosscourt. Right now the guy is moving. You have to move him around to be able to catch the backhand on the run. Otherwise he's very confident, very solid player from the baseline.
Jimmy, I think he did a great job and he's putting pressure. He's trying to go to the net. And I think he's -- Jimmy, he's doing a pretty good job with him.

Q. How close are you to being back at the level you were two years ago?
MARAT SAFIN: Very far (laughter). Unfortunately very far. Because the problem is that I had a very difficult career because I've been injured every second year. So whenever I was playing good, I was getting injured. To come back, the guys are already moving on and improving the game. And Federer is so far away that nobody is going to catch him maybe in 20 years. And Roddick is improving. And Nadal -- I never played against Nadal because I was getting injured and never getting close to him.
The fact of coming back, it's very important to try to come back quickly and try to catch up with other guys. But it takes much longer time, and of course you have to be much stronger mentally, improving, working twice hard as the other guys.

Q. You were saying that the older you get the more you think of goals and that sort of thing. Do you think you thought too much? You seemed really tentative giving the initiative away.
MARAT SAFIN: When you are starting to feel the momentum, you kind of recede. But sometimes it's a little bit tough for yourself to push it and try to make sure that you are playing more aggressive. Sometimes you wait a little bit for the mistakes so you try and be too smart. The simple thing is that you just have to move, play more aggressive and maybe lower percentage.
But otherwise if you try to make him make any mistakes, unforced errors, it's a little bit less injury, and that's what happened today. I was waiting too much for his mistakes, and that cost me the match.

Q. Do you think you still have it in you to be a competitor with the best players? It would be a terrible shame if you started to think you weren't.
MARAT SAFIN: No, no, no, I'm trying to be positive actually after this match. I'm been very close to win it, and it could be the other way around, that's for sure. I think if I continue this way, just it will start -- it will be better and better, I'm very sure.
I'm not on the negative side, that's for sure, but just has to be a little bit of positive activity and more aggressive, and everything is going to be all right.

Q. How tired were you at the end of the fourth set? How were your legs feeling?
MARAT SAFIN: After the first I was pretty tired. But then after the second I was pretty good. Fourth I was there, but just everything that fall on my head, opportunities, fighting with everybody, the chair umpires, getting the warnings, that kind of... Physically I was pretty okay.

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