Marat Safin was one of the great figures in world tennis during the 2000s, in which it coincided with the end of the races of legends such as Pete Sampras or André Agassi and with the beginning of the career of Roger Federer or Rafa Nadal.
The two-time Grand Slam winner from Russia spoke to ESPN Tennis about his career and highlighted his victory at the 2005 Australian Open as his greatest sporting success. “Winning Sampras at the US Open was a surprise but the victory at the Australian Open against Federer was very hard. I got rid of a very heavy weight. I lost the final against Johansson in 2001 and lost another final with Roger in Australia. It was my third final, I had a lot of pressure And I wouldn't have felt comfortable if he had been a player who has only won one Grand Slam. I had it in my head that I had to win my second Grand Slam to not being the 'loser' of the 2000s. “
Safin also revealed his strange celebration after that triumph, since he barely showed joy after winning the title. “I don't remember the match point of that match but in the end I did feel a lot of relaxation. I felt like I had lost 150 kilos of weight. I didn't feel happiness, I wasn't happy, I just felt relief. It was all very stressful. I don't think I raised my arms or yelled, I wasn't happy. After the game I didn't go anywhere to have dinner or celebrate it. I wanted to be alone. The next day I was the same. I didn't care about the people, the journalists … I didn't want to talk to anyone, I didn't care about anything, I just wanted to be alone, not to be touched. I was with Peter (Lundgren, his coach) but I didn't want to have anyone else. I just wanted to have a beer and my wine. TI was quite relaxed to relax, I had to have several beers, because I was shaking with nerves after the game. I don't remember how many liters of beer I drank in my room. “
Finally, Safin confessed that he was 'forced' to play tennis and that he could not fulfill his dream of being a footballer, although he thanked his mother for the decision he made. “It is a merit that my sister Dinara and I have been the number one in the world. Our grandmother was a tennis player and reached the semifinals at Roland Garros junior and also played at Wimbledon. Then she was a coach and raised us as tennis players. I did not like playing tennis, my career has been a miracle. I never enjoyed myself on the court, I always had a lot of pressure or obligation to play … I wanted to be a soccer player and play in Spartak, but my mother told me to play tennis and that's how I started tennis against my will. Today I tell my mother to enjoy it. I think he still doesn't, he created two sons who were the best in tennis. I think she has not assimilated it yet, she should be the happiest mother in the world. “