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Marat Safin

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Marat Mikhailovich Safin (Russian: Марат Михайлович Сафин; Tatar: Marat Mixail ulı Safin pron. Mah-RAT SAH-fin; b. January 27, 1980) is a Russian (ethnic Tatar) tennis player who started his professional career in 1997. He is one of the top tennis players in the world and is known for his big physical presence, mercurial talent and aggressive power play.

Contents

Tennis Career

Born in Moscow, Russia, Safin is the son of top ten tennis player Rausa Islanova and Misha Safin, and is the brother of tennis player Dinara Safina. Misha managed the local Spartak Tennis Club where Safin trained in his youth aside several up and coming tennis players, including Anna Kournikova, Elena Dementieva, and Anastasia Myskina. At age fourteen he moved to Valencia, Spain, to access advanced tennis training programs which were not available in Russia. Safin gained the attention of the tennis establishment in 1998 with his consecutive victories over Andre Agassi and the defending champion Gustavo Kuerten at the French Open.

Safin held the No. 1 ATP ranking for a brief period of 9 weeks during 2000. In that year, he won his first Grand Slam tournament at the US Open by defeating Pete Sampras in straight sets and was immediately hailed as the new star to dominate tennis in the future years. However he failed to live up to the hype and succumbed to inconsistent performances, generally commented to be a result of his notoriously volatile temper. In addition he suffered a succession of injuries which affected his game and, in 2003, resulted in his absence for the majority of the season.

Safin has reached three more Grand Slam finals, all in the Australian Open in the years 2002, 2004 and 2005. He has cited nervousness as the reason for the loss in the first of them, and physical exhaustion for the second. He defeated home-country favorite Lleyton Hewitt in the third to secure his second Grand Slam in five years. En route to the final he defeated top-ranked Roger Federer in an epic five-set-long semifinal match, showing unusual calmness and superior shot selection to match Federer stroke for stroke. He later described the encounter "a brain fight". Safin's phenomenal win snapped Federer's 26-match winning streak and put a dent in his supposed invincibility. Safin is widely recognized as the player who can test Federer the most with his talent and his arsenal of powerful shots.

Safin has won five ATP Tennis Masters Series titles during his career. His first was in 2000 when he won the title in Toronto, Canada. He holds a record-tying three (2000, 2002, and 2004) wins in Paris, France, and one in 2004 in Madrid, Spain. In 2004, Safin reached the Semifinal of the Tennis Master's Cup in Houston, but was defeated by Roger Federer, 6-3, 7-6(18). The second-set tiebreak was the third tiebreak of the score 20-18 the Open Era.

After winning the Australian Open early in 2005, Safin attributed his recent revival and his more consistent performance to the calming presence of his new coach Peter Lundgren, saying that "I never believed in myself before at all, until I started to work with him." Lundgren was formerly a coach of Roger Federer, but they parted ways at the end of 2003. Safin hired Lundgren in the following year. All the talk about Safin finding his consistency was a false dawn, however, as he crashed out in the early rounds of all seven tournaments he played between the Australian Open and French Open. In June, shortly after an unsucessful French open campaign, Safin made a surprise final appearance at the Wimbledon tune-up tournament in Halle on grass, his least favorite surface by his own admission. He lost the final narrowly to the defending champion Roger Federer.

Safin is a popular figure among both fans and commentators. His tendency to become overly emotional during matches, credited for several of his losses, has resulted in spontaneous court behavior. He is noted for having smashed numerous rackets and, at Roland Garros in 2004, pulled his shorts down to his thighs after winning a point in a third round match against Felix Mantilla. This behavior, and the support he receives from legions of female fans, has resulted in Safin receiving distinction as a player capable of generating celebrity for a sport which experiences slumps in popularity.

Titles (16)

Legend (Singles)
Grand Slam (2)
ATP Masters Series (5)
Tennis Masters Cup (0)
ATP Tour (8)

Singles (15)

No. Date Tournament Surface Opponent in the final Score
1. Aug 23, 1999 Boston, USA Hard Greg Rusedski (UK) 6-4 7-6
2. Apr 24, 2000 Barcelona, Spain Clay Juan Carlos Ferrero (Spain) 6-3 6-3 6-4
3. May 1, 2000 Majorca, Spain Clay Mikael Tillstrom (Sweden) 6-4 6-3
4. Jul 31, 2000 Toronto, Canada Hard Harel Levy (Israel) 6-2 6-3
5. Aug 28, 2000 U.S. Open, New York, USA Hard Pete Sampras (USA) 6-4 6-3 6-3
6. Sep 11, 2000 Tashkent, Uzbekistan Hard Davide Sanguinetti (Italy) 6-3 6-4
7. Nov 6, 2000 St. Petersburg, Russia Hard Dominik Hrbat (Slovakia) 2-6 6-4 6-4
8. Nov 13, 2000 Paris, France Carpet Mark Philippoussis (Australia) 3-6 7-6 6-4 3-6 7-6
9. Sep 10, 2001 Tashkent, Uzbekistan Hard Yevgeny Kafelnikov (Russia) 6-2 6-2
10. Oct 22, 2001 St. Petersburg, Russia Hard Rainer Schuettler (Germany) 3-6 6-3 6-3
11. Oct 28, 2002 Paris, France Carpet Lleyton Hewitt (Australia) 7-6 6-0 6-4
12. Sep 13, 2004 Beijing, China Hard Mikhail Youzhny (Russia) 7-6 7-5
13. Oct 18, 2004 Madrid, Spain Hard David Nalbandian (Argentina) 6-2 6-4 6-3
14. Nov 1, 2004 Paris, France Carpet Radek Stepanek (Czech Republic) 6-3 7-6 6-3
15. Jan 17, 2005 Australian Open, Melbourne, Australia Hard Lleyton Hewitt (Australia) 1-6 6-3 6-4 6-4

Singles Finalist (10)

  • 1999: Paris AMS (lost to Andre Agassi)
  • 2000: Hamburg (lost to Gustavo Kuerten)
  • 2000: Indianapolis (lost to Gustavo Kuerten)
  • 2001: Dubai (lost to Juan Carlos Ferrero)
  • 2002: Australian Open (lost to Thomas Johansson)
  • 2002: Hamburg AMS (lost to Roger Federer)
  • 2003: Barcelona (lost to Carlos Moya)
  • 2004: Australian Open (lost to Roger Federer)
  • 2004: Estoril (lost to Juan Ignacio Chela)
  • 2005: Halle (lost to Roger Federer)

Performance Timeline

Tournament 2005 2004 2003 2002 2001 2000 1999 1998 1997
Australian Open W F 3r F 4r 1r 3r - -
French Open 4r 4r - SF 3r QF 4r 4r -
Wimbledon 1r - 2r QF 2r - 1r -
US Open 1r - 2r SF W 2r 4r -
Tennis Masters Cup SF - rr - SF - - -
Finals reached 1 5 1 3 3 9 2 0 0
Tournaments Won 1 3 0 1 2 7 1 0 0
Win-Loss 7-1 52-23 12-11 56-26 45-27 73-27 39-32 17-18 0-1
ATP Race points 200 612 93 569 384 824 N/A N/A N/A
Year End Ranking 4 66 3 11 2 26 49 213

External links

  • Profile (http://www.atptennis.com/en/players/playerprofiles/default2.asp?playersearch=Safin%2C+Marat) on ATP website
  • Marat Safin.com (http://www.maratsafin.com/) Official website
  • The Guy From Russia (http://www.theguyfromrussia.com/) Fansite
  • Safinator (http://www.safinator.com/) Fansite

Template:Tennis World Number Ones (men)bg:Марат Сафин de:Marat Michailowitsch Safin es:Marat Safin fr:Marat Safin ja:マラト・サフィン kn:ಮರಾತ್ ಸಾಫಿನ್ nl:Marat Safin pl:Marat Safin sr:Марат Сафин sv:Marat Safin

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