Safin admits the end is nigh – and slams Agassi
Originally published on: 26/02/10 11:49
After surviving three match points in his opening match at the BNP Paribas Masters 1000, Marat Safin has accepted that he is probably just one match away from retirement.
The former world No.1 edged past French qualifier Thierry Ascione 6-4 4-6 7-6(3) to reach the second round, where US Open champion Juan Martin del Potro lies in wait.
In a typically candid assessment, the Russian was the first to acknowledge that his chances of prolonging his final season are slim to none, with slim heading for the door.
“At the end of the day, I don’t think I’m going to be the winner,” the 29-year-old told reporters. And that, he added, is fine with him.
“The closer the end is, the tougher it gets,” he continued. “The second part of the year was really heavy. I didn’t want to leave the house, fly somewhere and be out of my home for three, four weeks.
“Picking up the bags, going to the airport, staying in traffic, passport control, waiting for the bags again, it was getting really heavy.”
The three-time Paris Masters champion, who announced at the start of 2009 that this was to be his final year on the ATP Tour, no longer has the heart for training, or even for chasing results.
“The second half of the year, I didn’t do much, basically,” he said. “I have no fitness coach travelling with me, so it’s just matches.
“The years before I was aiming to get as close as possible to the final and to earn some points,” he added. “Right now I don’t really care.”
Asked if he would emulate fellow former world number one Andre Agassi and come up with a book full of revelations, Safin said: “I guess I have to retire and then after a few years I’ll write an autobiography with some confessions. If I need money, I’ll do that.”
In case the hint of a dig at Andre Agassi, whose autobiography Open hit the bookshelves yesterday, had been lost in translation, Safin left no doubt with his suggestion for the eight-time Grand Slam champion’s quick-fire solution for any guilt he ay have felt about his crystal meth confession.
“He feels guilty? So let him just give back his titles, money, his Grand Slams!” Safin told the French sports paper L’Equipe. “If he is so fair play, he should go all the way. You know, ATP have a bank account, he can refund if he wants to.
“What’s done is done. He hopes to sell more books. But he is completely stupid.
“I do not defend the ATP, but what he said put them in a bad position. ATP allowed him to win a lot of tournaments, to make a lot of money.
“They kept his secret so why be so cruel with them? There are times you need to be able to shut up.”