The Championships WimbledonWednesday, 25 June 2008
at Wimbledon, England
M. SAFIN bt N. Djokovic 6-4, 7-6, 6-2
An interview with: MARAT SAFIN
THE MODERATOR: Questions for Marat.
Q. Did you start to become a grass court player
MARAT SAFIN: By winning one match?
Q. An important match.
MARAT SAFIN: For me it was important, but also I took
advantage that he was under a lot of pressure because he's fighting for
No. 1. So I need to take advantage of that.
Q. How did you play?
MARAT SAFIN: I played well because I think the
courts, they has been getting slower and slower throughout the years. So
it's not any more like they used to be like eight years ago. It was
really fast, and now you can play from the baseline and nobody even
getting close to the net.
Q. So you're not surprised by yourself?
MARAT SAFIN: Well, I just had to do what I had to do:
serve well and try to stay with him. And also he didn't impress me with
his game today. I could read his serve. I could return. I could stay
with him from the baseline, and that's it.
Q. How would you rate your game today on a scale of 1
MARAT SAFIN: I mean, it's tough. I didn't play great
for a long time. I don't remember how does it feel.
I would say I played solid.
Q. Is it a 5 or 8?
MARAT SAFIN: I hope I can play better than that.
Q. When was the last time you played that well?
MARAT SAFIN: Long time ago. I don't even remember.
Long time ago.
Q. Novak said it was a case of him playing badly
rather than you playing well. Would you agree with that?
MARAT SAFIN: Yeah, well, he's a nice guy, a great
answerer and great for you guys. I think he scored some points over
there by saying that, yeah, he played well and everything.
But he had small chances. He didn't take them.
Whenever I had a chance I went for it, and I just played, like I said,
solid, took my chances.
Q. When you walked off, the BBC man asked you about
your next opponent. You implied you didn't expect to get past Djokovic,
and you didn't know who you were going to play next. Is that right?
MARAT SAFIN: Yeah, true. But if you have a second
round against Djokovic, the guy won the Australian Open, semifinals of
French Open, winning the tournaments left and right. You play against
him, and the last time I won two matches in a row was I don't remember
when. So what do you expect? Of course that you are not really in a
position to look anything after the second round.
Q. What do you remember of the things you've said
about Wimbledon last year and in the recent past, and how do you feel
about Wimbledon now?
MARAT SAFIN: What did I say? The strawberries are too
expensive. It's true. They don't have enough for dessert. It's true.
Only the coach is allowed to come in the locker room is also true.
Because some physios, they cannot come inside the locker room. I'm not
complaining about that.
I was right I think in what I said. I didn't make any
lies, so I think I was right there.
Q. What do you like the most about Wimbledon, and
what do you dislike the most about Wimbledon?
MARAT SAFIN: Thanks for the people to make the courts
Q. Novak said when you played in Australia 2005...
MARAT SAFIN: He still remembers that?
Q. Yes. He said he had great respect for you because
he practiced with you as a junior. He said today it might have been a
factor in this match that he had too much respect for you.
MARAT SAFIN: That's good to know. Thank you.
Q. Do you think?
MARAT SAFIN: I hope so. I'm still older than him. I
hope it will stay the same way and he'll have the same respect to me as
he had three years ago. It works for me.
Q. You looked very fit today. Do you think was this
the key to play at this level?
MARAT SAFIN: I'm fit since November last year, but it
doesn't really help me to make any results earlier in this year. So just
I came out actually in the middle of the year, which is surprisingly --
I'm surprisingly happy that finally I came, because I started to get a
little bit desperate because I've been working really hard week after
week, practicing and putting myself together.
The results are not coming, not coming. You need to
be really strong mentally to continue to play this game.
Q. You expected to be back in Russia tonight?
MARAT SAFIN: Yeah. There is a flight at 8:30 leaving
every evening, so I was almost there.
Q. Have you booked another flight, or not till a week
MARAT SAFIN: There is a flight every day. 8:30,
arrive at 4:00 in the morning in Moscow. Everything is under control.
Q. You had a ticket for this flight?
MARAT SAFIN: It's one phone call.
Q. We see Russia is doing well in the football at the
moment at the European Championships. What does it say for Russia?
MARAT SAFIN: I try to keep up. The guys are
surprising me in soccer. I never expect them to play such a great
soccer, aggressive, playing unbelievable game. Now we're the favorites
to win the European Championship. With the game they're playing right
now, they should. They deserve to win.
Q. How have you managed to keep faith in yourself?
You're working hard, going out, playing matches, wins aren't coming,
month after month. You get on court today against arguably has been the
best player of the year and showed some pretty good stuff.
MARAT SAFIN: Well, but just you need to have a little
bit of commitment with yourself, you know, try to set some goals. You
cannot just drop it in the middle of the year. After three months if the
results are not coming, I think you should give yourself a chance, you
know, and try more.
Because also it's a little bit sad to see other
people winning and working only the half part of the time that I'm
doing, that I've been spending on the court lately. I've been working
unbelievably hard, unbelievable pre-season. Even though the results are
not coming the beginning of the season, I was losing left and right.
Still I'm going to the gym and still doing my things.
I think it's time for results to come. And I think just it's -- of
course, it's tough. Of course it's tough to push yourself day after day
when you are losing and you are losing and you are losing, get back on
the court, get back in the gym and do your routine.
Q. I was expecting you to be at Roland Garros for
your sister's final.
MARAT SAFIN: Yeah, she didn't send me the charter.
That's why I didn't come.
Q. Is this the kind of result that would keep you on
the tour? Is this the sort of victory you need?
MARAT SAFIN: Well, of course, these victories are
always welcome because you've been working really hard for that.
Results, especially when you are not really in the best shape and this
result is coming to you, you need to take advantage of it, take the most
of it, enjoy it, and use the advantage that other people, they saw the
match and they started to respect you.
You are full of confidence by playing well. It's not
like you played terrible tennis. You did your stuff, you're serving
well, and you just look forward and just go for it as far as we can and
take advantage of the confidence that you got from this match.
Q. If you play on the Centre Court like today, it's
like the place you feel you belong to?
MARAT SAFIN: Yeah, but you need to go through the
stages. I played on Court 11, which is almost in another club. But still
you need to go through these kind of matches to be able to play on the
Centre Court. I think my ranking drop, so where you expect me to play?
I'm 75 in the world and I'm playing against the Italian guy. Actually,
not many people they care about this match. Actually, I was surprised it
was a full stadium on Court 11.
So these matches you need to get through. Even though
they're tough, everybody's nervous, the other guy is playing well. You
don't have any challenges there, the Hawk-Eye. The chair umpire may be
half sleeping, but you need to get through these matches to be able to
perform well and have a chance on the Centre Court.
Q. Against Seppi, next match, you have to play on a
small court. What do you think about your opponent?
MARAT SAFIN: Well, I don't mind to play the third
round on a smaller court, you know. I don't think we're gonna be playing
on Aorangi, I hope. This for me is not the worst case. I think I played
all over the places. I played in really terrible places, so it doesn't
It's the third round. Still playing great tennis. I played really
well, and I'm looking forward to get through the third round even though
he's winning his matches also.
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