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Marat Safin, Wimbledon, June 25, 2008
   

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The Championships Wimbledon
at Wimbledon, England

 

Wednesday, 25 June 2008

 

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 suddenly?

 

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 to 10?

 

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 slower.

 

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 on Monday?

 

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 really matter.

 

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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