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Marat Safin Blogs From Moscow

Marat Safin© Getty ImagesA frustrating day on the court

Sunday, October 15, 2006

It's my last day here and now I have to look forward to the last three weeks of the season, beginning next week in Madrid. Tomorrow I have a very early start because I will have to wake up around 4 o'clock for a plane at seven. It will be a difficult day - particularly after I celebrate a little bit tonight with my friends - but that is the life of a tennis player.

Right now I am sitting in the lockerroom after a long final that I lost against Davydenko. I am pretty disappointed about a few things in my head. The most disappointing thing is I had a chance to win, but today Nikolay was much better. It was a great success for the tournament to have two Russians in the final and it was great to play in front of a full crowd.

I heard that some fans were interested in why I have the tattoos that they saw in some photos this week. It's like the songs. We remember songs because of memories and tattoos are sort of the same thing. Every tattoo has a meaning for me. It will stay with me. I have a lot of memories, good memories, bad memories. I am not disappointed I made them. Hopefully I won't do any more of them.

I was happy to be part of the blog this week. To be honest I had a really great week. I am happy to be home. I don't know who is writing the next blog. I hope it will be a good one. I was reading the blog of Tursunov and it was pretty funny. I hope someone can compete with him!

Thanks to all my fans and to everyone who was reading the blog. I was trying hard to make it funny at times. It was quite an interesting experience. All the best to everybody. I hope you will have a positive feeling about me. A lot of people didn't know much about me off the court, so hopefully you're not disappointed with me. Come and watch me play. I will try to stay around for a while.

Marat

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Hi to everybody, it’s my sixth day from heaven.

The tournament is coming to an end, tomorrow is the final and we have to leave to the beautiful country of Spain to play a tournament in Madrid, which is a tournament of my managers. They are really doing a good job, trying to make it as good as possible for the players.

They have even made a casting for the models, the ball kids. Instead of kids, they will have real models from all over the world. It actually takes them a little longer to learn how to throw the balls and bring water, towels, because as you know they are good-looking women and are not used to doing this kind of thing.

It is difficult to teach them and make them believe it is a good thing and get paid for it. It is quite impressive. By the end of the week they are smiling to us, which is also pretty impressive. By the end of the week, if you are doing well it also means you are good looking and it is coming naturally.

Some of the guys they even try to get their phone numbers even on court. That is why a lot of good guys are losing in the first round and some of the people don’t care, they just want to play on Center Court just to meet the girls and impress them with their beautiful shots.

That is next week, but this week is coming to an end. Yesterday, I left the courts around 12:30am and I had to find some food to eat and then to go to sleep. We went to an American and Greek bar and we had some Jalapenos, some shrimp, and a couple portions of chicken wings.

The place was full. I was pretty hungry so I bite my tongue badly and I was bleeding to death. But I was lucky that everybody took care of me and I didn’t need surgery. I survived and I managed to come on court today and played impressively. I won 6-4, 6-3 against my countryman and my neighbor from Moscow, Igor Kunitsyn.

The day started pretty well, with a little bit of sunshine but then of course it slowly started to rain. We are facing winter pretty soon and there is less daylight. For example a few weeks ago there was still sunshine around 7pm and I was getting back around 9-10 o’clock. But now at 7pm it is completely dark.

No matter for us, as we are playing indoors because I am basically spending all of the day under lights at the Olympic Stadium built for the Olympic Games of 1980 in case nobody knows.

Actually, I have to say I was impressed in Washington that I found a guy, as I was walking out of a restaurant, who shouted at me in a Russian accent “Marat”. I turned around and could not see a Russian face, I only saw a black guy. I was sure it was not him who shouted at me. Then he said: “Hey, what’s up” in Russian. He said it with such a Russian accent that I was shocked. Maybe I was hallucinating, as it was pretty hot. Then I asked him “how come that you, a guy from Washington, with dark skin, speaks such good Russian?” He said: “No, I’m from Russia.” Of course I was shocked even more. We call these people ‘kids of the Olympic Games’. I asked him about his age, and of course I already knew the answer. He was born in 1981. So I hope when he reads the blog he doesn’t get really upset and finds it pretty funny story. I think it is pretty amazing that the world is so small, in every corner you can find someone close to you and you don’t even know it. Maybe we know some penguins in the South Pole.

Enough of the bull----. The day was long, the ladies took over on court and they took forever to decide who wanted to win and lose. Apparently, nobody wanted to lose. So I was waiting, eating and drinking coffee. I went to sleep and almost fell from the massage table a couple of times because when you sleep your body sometimes shakes – so I almost fell down. I slept and then drank another couple of coffees. I ate again and drank again. Basically, my stomach was like an aquarium. A mixture of pasta, soup, Russian blinis, jam, coffee, tea, peach juice so you can imagine how I was going to look after a few hours.

They then called us. Everyone is happy two Russian girls and two guys are in the final. It was a full stadium today, pretty amazing as the stadium is pretty big. We are only using one quarter of it for the Center Court. More or less, today was around 10,000 people. It was not 100% full. A lot of my friends came and it was funny as half were supporting Igor and the others were supporting me. It was funny to hear what people were shouting as they think they understand tennis. Pretty good advisors I heard. I’m really thankful to all my fans, they have been great to me.

It is my first final in Moscow, so I am happy. A final nobody can complain about. No one will make me feel guilty of going away to sleep and not doing my job properly. I face Nikolay Davydenko tomorrow, a pretty interesting match, a local derby. I guess he doesn’t want to lose to me. I don’t want to lose to him. He is actually Ukrainian, originally from Ukraine, so it will be interesting match.

After today’s match, I did press and signed around 5,000 million autographs so I could perfect my signature. A lot of kids coming, running up with balls. At least kids here they know who I am. For example at some of the tournaments like in Cincinnati or Montreal, they come up and don’t even know who you are. They then ask, “Excuse me. Who are you?” I always use the name Roger Federer. For sure they know Roger. Then they ask, “Yeah, sure, who are you?” So I am still using his name.

I did my press and massage, then I will go to have a quick dinner and head home. Because tomorrow is my first final for 10 years and hopefully it will be positive even though I am pretty happy in losing or winning. Of course winning will be much better, I will try to kick his ass in a good way. Nothing personal. I don’t want to lose it and lose the opportunity to win the title in my hometown at least once; as I do not know when it will happen again.

That’s pretty much it today. It is difficult to collect all the information and explain it all to you. Nicola will be tired of typing it up for the Internet. I will leave you wondering what I will be doing tonight. Like you care? I hope you don’t.

I will talk to you tomorrow. Have a good night. Enjoy the Saturday night. I am jealous of all of you. Not of course the people in Australia as they will have a hangover already from the night before. People from Moscow, Paris, London. Then I will be jealous of people in New York and then of people in Miami. To all the party animals, all my best wishes. Take your drinks in proportion. Don’t lose your brain, which is stupid to wish this as I think people drink to lose their brains. Be careful of the drugs as they can be dangerous. Hopefully everyone will be with someone. Or if not, they will not feel lonely for one reason or other. For those with girlfriends and boyfriends have a simple evening, watching the television and arguments over who is going to wash the dishes. Enjoy it.

Thanks for reading my blogs throughout the week. Hopefully I did not hurt anybodies feelings. Take good care.

Marat

Friday, October 13, 2006

I’m dictating everything after my match, so it is a little bit difficult to put everything together. I will try to do my best.

I woke up this morning and my toilet broke! So I had to ask my father to come and help me out with that. Like I said yesterday, I had to pay some money to my girlfriend. My father did it.

I had breakfast with my sister and my friend Allon. We went to the same place for the third day running, trying to be a little superstitious. Maybe it will work this time?

I forgot to tell you guys, my name is a curse. I got a warning for shouting my name in yesterday’s match.

I got to the courts and went to hit some balls. Had lunch with Sasha, his ex-wife and his child that I hadn’t seen for six years, plus some other friends of ours.

I was watching a match with Amelie Mauresmo, who led 6-1, 5-2 and lost against Nicole Vaidisova. I must say congratulations to Elena Dementieva, who won a difficult match to earn her place in the masters. She was very happy after the match against Patty Schnyder.

Then, it was my turn. Everything was okay, no stress, no problems. I was a little bit concerned about my match against Janko Tipsarevic as he won last week in a very difficult challenger in Mons. He beat great players, Olivier Rochus and my countryman Evgeny Korolev. He then made some good results here to get to the quarterfinals this week.

Before our match I started to count my points, the number of points I have left to be in the Top 50. I think I made it.

Tomorrow I play against my countryman Igor Kunitsyn. I have known the guy for many years and he is my neighbor. It will be an interesting match and finally our tournament can be happy. For sure Nikolay Davydenko will get to the final. Sorry for Fabrice [Santoro], but I don’t think he has much of a chance because of the way Davydenko is playing right now – he is the favorite. So it will probably be an all-Russian final and the tournament directors will be happy about it. The tournament has been great this year.

I can’t tell you too much more, as I spent all day here in the locker room and restaurant. I was completely disconnected from the outside world. I tried to stay focused on my match.

I’m again recovering from my match. I don’t have many racquets left now – only four out of the eight that I started the tournament with. Two of them thanks to Davydenko, one against Daniele Bracciali yesterday and one against Tipsarevic because I was pretty upset about the surface and a lot of bad bounces. I had to complain and of course the victim was the racquet.

The chair umpire was great today. Italian. The last two weeks I have had something about Italians. I don’t know why, but maybe there is a meaning it. Maybe later I will find out about it.

That’s it guys, nothing interesting tonight, but I am sure I will do better tomorrow. Now it is 11:30pm and my brain does not work anymore. I was pretty nervous today and stressed all during the match, that is why I have kept it short.

Tomorrow I will be back. Hopefully it will be a positive day for me. I wish you all the best, be good. Don’t do anything stupid no matter where you are.

All the best, to all of you.

Marat

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Thursday, 12.30 in the morning. He was in bed getting ready to go to sleep. But stupid thoughts started to go into the brain of a tennis player. After 1 hour and 30 minutes he was so exhausted of the mess in his head that finally he fell asleep.

11.20 in the morning - the alarm went off. It was the sign of a new day in my life. One more day in my life and one more day closer to my death, thought the tennis player. Everything was great until he found out that his toilet was broken. If you guys remember what I said a couple of days before about the parents - that they are willing to help you with anything... I decided to use this opportunity and called my rescue team, my father.

So he has a pretty busy day because he has to do some other stuff for me, which was carrying the money from one bank to another bank. I hope he didn't spend any of it at the casino or on some other beauties of our life.

I had breakfast with my friend Allon and my architect/designer girl. She arrived, like every woman, 20 minutes late. So we started to discuss some parts of my future grandkids' home. From our previous discussions and fights we have started to feel like a couple. For you guys it's pretty familiar. You know what I mean.

At the end of the meeting between the customer and the client, she asked for the money. Like every woman, the more beautiful she is the more money she needs. This is just a thought... don't take it too seriously. Anyway, Nicola is writing, so you know who to blame. He's taking all the responsibility for all these thoughts. In a couple of days I will give you his address in case you have some problems. After I gave the money I was released and I was able to leave to go to my job to make more money.

Traffic was pretty heavy. It took us around an hour to get to the club. If you have a comfortable car it's a good time to rest from problems and just be by yourself and have a rest. Now I understand why the husbands and wives have to leave the house, using any excuse.

So we got to the club. I drink three coffees because I couldn't open my eyes. I warmed up with Alex. After 10 minutes I started to feel bad because I drank espresso on an empty stomach and I felt pretty electric. It is a very unusual feeling for me, so I decided to slow down.

After practice I had lunch with my old friends. Then of course the two matches before me went three sets. Dementieva saved two match points. Vesnina lost to Mauresmo, so now I'm pretty updated with women's tennis.

So now, finally it is my turn. I never played against Daniele and like I said I have a lot of respect for Italians because they are the most talented people on the planet. You know the reasons. Probably the Vatican has a direct line with God. That's why they are the chosen ones and the country is running with no work, good for them.

I lost the first set. He hit some incredible shots. He made some good return winners and the set was gone. In my head I felt 'not another time.' I said I'm not going to lose in the second round and leave the crowd disappointed. I made a break, won the second set and started to feel much better. Then I was lucky in the third set. I made a break and won the match. It was a pretty big relief for me to make it to the quarterfinals. I am playing against Tipsarevic. He is identical to the AC Milan player Gattuso.

After the match I did my press. Another bunch of questions and the job is done. By the way, I have to admit I am very pleased with the crowd today because it was a full house on a late Wednesday night. Of course Nicola needed a special picture from me, so I decided to trust my good-looking boys downstairs to make a pose for me.

Right now I'm laying down on a masseuse table getting ready for tomorrow's match. Nicola is bored and ready to go home to the Swedish Embassy. I go to my lonely apartment and try to fall asleep a bit earlier.

I wish everybody goodnight, some places a good morning and some places, a good day.

One more day above the ground is a good day. So please all of you do me a favor and enjoy it as much as you can and be good to the people around you, no matter who they are because love and beauty will save the world.

Always yours, Marat

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Second day of autumn in paradise. No thoughts, no stress, no problem, all good signs for a happy day at the office.

Last night my father called me at around 1am and asked me to use one of my cars to take my grandfather to a medical check this morning. Since I am a good son, I told him to come to the apartment in the morning and pick up the keys. When he arrived, I gave him some laundry as a present for my mum…

For some reason, after a certain age our lovable parents enjoy doing things for their kids, like laundry, looking after your flat when you are not around. They are just happy to do anything, anytime for their kids. But when you are young, you have to do all these things, laundry, doing the dishes, cleaning the apartment and all the c—p you hate doing, when the only thing you want to do is go out, hang out with your friends and do whatever is on your mind. Every age has its good parts and bad parts, it is important that you enjoy both of them.

This morning my father came to my flat; we went to the garage so that he could pick up the car and we wished each other a good day. I had lunch with my manager Allon. Next to us there was a table with three guys. One of them was talking on the phone trying to make his point. He wanted money from the other guy on the phone but the other guy did not want to pay him for his services. He kept saying he had done everything for the service he was asked to do and needed to be paid. He thought they were going to have a meeting, that’s why he probably brought the other two guys, but the other person did not show up…

After lunch I came to the courts, nothing special, same routine for a day off, no stress, no match, so short day at the office. I hit a few balls, went to the gym and pretended to do something there, took a shower, had lunch and now Nicola is writing. I have the rest of the day free. My plan after giving the story to him is going home, have a couple of meetings, go for dinner and then to finish the day on a good note, have tea with my friends. After that I will slowly start thinking about the next match and another day to enjoy.

Good night everybody, I wish you all sweet dreams and no nightmares. If you’re not alone I wish that the person next to you loves you very much and hopefully for you, you feel the same for the other person, otherwise you will have a tough time falling asleep.

Talk to you tomorrow my friends.

Marat

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Hello everyone

Somewhere in the Caribbean Islands, it is 30 degrees, sunny, people are lying in the sun maybe drinking a caipirinha…this was my first thought of the day when I woke up. Autumn has finally arrived in paradise (Moscow) and it was grey and rainy this morning.

I woke up at 11:30, which is a pretty good hour. I think I have a nice job because I can wake up when I want.

One of my managers arrived in town last night and we were supposed to have dinner together with a friend of mine who is a soccer player. He actually doesn’t play much but I still like him. Allon, my manager, could not come in the end because he was tired and probably went to the Swedish Embassy. We had a good dinner last night at a place called Galleria.

This morning I picked up Allon and we had brunch together next to my place. We had some good food and coffee and talked the same b------t as always. It was a warm feeling inside the nice cafeteria even if it was wet outside.

There was so much traffic as always today in Moscow. I think that 90% of the people do not know where they are driving or the reason. How can this country function like that? There is always traffic. Who is working? It is just like in Italy, the most amazing country apart from Russia. People never work there, they are always eating or fixing their hair. But I guess the most talented people do not need to work and I think that the Italians are the most talented people in the world apart from the Russians.

After brunch I showed Allon my apartment in Moscow, which will probably never be ready. Maybe my grandchildren will be the ones who will see it ready. Then we drove to the courts where we arrived two hours before practice. I had a couple of coffees with my parents and my sister and my mum told me all the inside family information. I felt very much like Tony Soprano and I liked it pretty much.

I practiced looking at the scoreboard and saw my sister losing her match. Then I had some pasta and talked more with my parents and friends and gave a lecture on life to Pepo Clavet, who is from a village called Madrid and has arrived to the big city life of Moscow. He seems a little bit lost so I gave him some tips on how to enjoy life at 60 (his current age) in Moscow. I had a laugh with Verdasco who travels with all his family gang to support him because he does not have enough attention with all the women…Pepo, who is Verdasco’s coach, is a nice guy and if he reads this blog, I really like him. He promised to show me around Madrid so I have to be nice to him from now on.

After that I went into the locker room to get ready for my opening match at the Kremlin Cup. The match before me was Kirilenko-Schiavone and after the first set I taped my feet, warmed up, Sasha Volkov started to put some paranoia in my head (now play, behave, all this b------t) so I made him feel useful and I listened to all that.

Maria lost serve at 5-4 in the second set and I ended up staying in the locker room for two more hours. I started to hate it, I knew it would end 7-6 in the third and of course I was right. Some junior players were in the locker room and we talked non-sense and I really felt my age, which is 14 years old.

The match finally ended and I went on court with my legs shaking, my hands shaking and my body not listening to me. I guess it is just like all players before a match so that we feel we are ready for the match.

The match went pretty well, in the first set Mahut broke himself and I won 6-3. In the second set I saw three girls holding up a sign “Marat Blog Us” so I put them in the blog! Thanks for reading me and I hope you are not the only ones. In the middle of the second set I prayed “Mahut please break yourself again” and he must have listened to me. He did it again. Everyone was happy, Safin through to the second round. I feel very relieved.

After the match Nicola Arzani came to the court (he makes me write this blog so he will have to suffer with me mentioning his name) and told me to do the press. It went smoothly, I said a couple of stupid jokes and felt like a clown. Everybody wished me luck for the next round.

We had a pretty good crowd for a first round. After the match I took a shower and went on the massage table from where I am dictating this blog.

I hope it will not be too boring.

Good night and talk to you tomorrow.

Thanks for reading me

Marat

Monday, October 9, 2006

Hello everyone,

It is my duty this week to write the blog from the Kremlin Cup in Moscow and I will try to do my best to make it work and be published on atpworldtour.com. Since I am not an internet type of guy and if I wrote it myself it would take me a few days to finish one page, the person who will write it for me is Nicola Arzani of the ATP. In case you don’t like it you can blame him.

I now live in Monte Carlo but Moscow is my hometown and in my opinion it is the most incredible and most improved city in the entire world. I have not been to every city in the world, but from what I have seen, Moscow is the best. Of course I have a lot of friends here, I grew up here, so every time I come back here I try to enjoy as much as I can. It is sometimes difficult for me to combine work and pleasure but this is a week of work only for me…I am happy to be in Moscow and play the Kremlin Cup but I need to make a lot of sacrifices because I want to do well this week. So I will not be going out, no late dinners, everything will be around work this week. But I will make up for it once the season is finished after the Davis Cup final again here in Moscow in December…

I got to Moscow after a long and difficult trip. I was here for the Davis Cup semifinals against the United States in September, then I left to play ATP events in Bangkok and Metz. After losing in Metz, I flew back to Moscow but I missed the connection in Frankfurt and I arrived late. Nobody enjoyed that trip. When I got into town, I met with friends for dinner so that they could update me on life in Moscow without me. We went to a Japanese restaurant. I went back to my apartment pretty exhausted and slept for 12 hours.

When I got up I had corn flakes and coffee, I had no energy to cook anything. That’s the sad part of being single; nobody cooks for you, washes the dishes or does the laundry. So I never eat at home. My parents live not too far from me so they kindly do my laundry.

On Saturday I hit with (Nikolay) Davydenko, but after 45 minutes I had broken two racquets so I left the court as I had none left. It was a short day at the office…

I met again with friends for dinner and we went to a different Japanese restaurant and then we had coffee in the centre near Hermitage Park, where they have a club, a couple of restaurants and an old wooden house where they have a nice place where you can drink tea or coffee (but my friends preferred to smoke the water pipe…) I was pretty tempted to go to the nightclub for a drink but I stayed strong and went back home like a good boy. I was very proud of myself.

Sunday I had the same breakfast by myself and then had one more coffee at the Olympic Stadium and some blinis (Russian pancakes) with sour cream and jam. I ate about 10, as I was afraid that there would be none after my practice!

I hit for one hour with (Teimuraz) Gabashvili who is a very nice guy, pretty crazy and funny. He’s just great; you just don’t meet many people like him. I did not break any racquet this time

On my way back I wanted to stop at the Bania (Russian bath house) with Alexander Volkov who is helping me but then Gabashvili called because he was supposed to hit with (Dmitry) Tursunov but he had to cancel so he wanted Volkov to take his place. So I had to be the driver and drop Alexander back at the Olympic Stadium. Thanks to Gabashvili I did not get to go to the Bania, he took away Volkov and I was depressed until after the doubles today. I am actually more depressed now because we lost the doubles! All this because of Gabashvili.

Last night I still had to face the situation that I was left without Volkov so I went out to dinner. That was also to cheer up my friend (Yuri) Schukin who had lost in the qualifying. I have known Yuri since we were kids. We went with (former ATP player Denis) Golovanov and his wife, who is pregnant, and also another former player (Emin) Agaev who has moved to Moscow and another friend, Oleg. We went to an Uzbek restaurant. We sat next to two groups who were very loud. One was Dutch and Portuguese people. They were so loud! And they drank so much, I was not there when they got the bill and I am sure they had a bad surprise. Probably they did not know the conversion from the roubles to dollars. I had never seen so many corks and so many trays on a restaurant table. The more wine they drank the louder they became.

Then some Uzbek dancers came along and it just got even louder. Those guys were enjoying themselves so much, especially because their wives were not around. When the dancers finished and left, the Dutch-Portuguese group wanted to have them back and of course the restaurant in order to please the clients, brought the dancers back. I must say they were pretty hot (the dancers, not the clients!) They were happy and discussed more business after their 20th bottle of wine. Then they discussed which country was better, Portugal or Holland and one Dutch guy came to our table to offer us a Dutch cigar. I had never heard of a Dutch cigar before and I decided not to try it as I do not want to fail the doping test!

We left the happy group at the Uzbek restaurant. Their company must have a big budget, they were still drinking and eating when we left. I am pretty sure I know where they finished their evening but I will keep that secret and take it with me to the grave.

That’s it from me today.

Speak to you tomorrow,

Marat

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