When Safin arrived in Australia to begin his preparations for Melbourne
Date: 23 Jan 2009 05:49:41|
Subject: Rough vs Smooth and the Rumble in Russia
Park, he had black and yellow eyes, blood in one, and several cuts to his
face, which was the damage for being involved in a nasty incident in Moscow.
Safin looked more like a street-fighter than a tennis player.
But, a couple of weeks or so after landing Down Under, Safin's face has
healed, and he has not dropped a set on the way to reaching the third round
of the Australian Open, where he will meet Roger Federer.
Given Safin's off-season activities, with his part in the Rumble in Russia,
it is tempting to build this up as the first heavyweight encounter of the
men's tournament, a match between two men who have both had their hands on
the Australian Open trophy and the world No 1 ranking.
To think that Don King, the boxing promoter, was asked before last season's
US Open to hype a possible 'Grapple in the Apple' in New York City between
Federer and Rafael Nadal. That never materialised, thanks to Andy Murray in
the semi-finals, and in Australia the fighting analogies can probably look
after themselves. King is not needed.
Safin's escapades in Moscow appear to have only added to his allure in
Australia, as there wasn't a spare seat to be had on the Margaret Court
Arena during Wednesday's 7-5, 6-2, 6-2 defeat of Spain's Guillermo
On the one occasion that Australia's Lleyton Hewitt made it to the final of
his home grand slam, in 2005, he was denied the title by Safin's superb
hitting. And so you would think that the Australian tennis public might hold
that against the Muscovite. But they don't. Instead they adore him, with one
Melbourne newspaper joking that it would hardly be a surprise if three or
four local girls ended up sitting together in his supporters' box during the
If Safin doesn't break any rackets during this tournament, he might just
break a few hearts among Melbourne's female population. A few girlie
screams, of the sort that are usually reserved for rock-stars, could be
heard on the Margaret Court Arena as Safin clumped backhands down the line.
Safin is a little rough around the edges, in contrast with Federer, tennis's
Mr Smooth, who had a 6-2, 6-3, 6-1 over Evgeny Korolev, a young Russian
qualifier, and Anna Kournikova's cousin. Federer is also yet to drop a set
at a tournament that could see him draw level with Pete Sampras on a record
14 grand slam titles.
This will be Safin and Federer's first match at the Australian Open since
their fabulous, excitement-filled, five-set semi-final in 2005. Federer held
a match point that evening, but, even though he appeared to have time to
track back and play a regular lob to reach the final, he attempted a 'hot
dog' trick shot through his legs. The 'hot dog' failed, and Safin went on to
win. But Federer leads their head-to-head record, as he has nine victories
from their 11 matches, including their last meeting in the semi-finals of
last summer's Wimbledon.
Outside of the world's top three, Safin is the last man to have lifted a
slam trophy, thanks to his triumph here four years ago. And, even before
that fight in Moscow, hasn't violence always been Safin's thing? When Safin
hits his serve and his groundstrokes, he is capable of providing brilliant,
controlled violence off his strings. The forehand can be mightier than the
fist. And, when a match isn't going his way, he isn't always so friendly
towards his rackets. Safin has two grand slam titles, as he also won the
2000 US Open title by demolishing Pete Sampras, but it could be said that,
with his natural talent, he should have won four or five. Safin turns 29
this month, and believes that the younger, "hungrier" generation of players
are making life increasingly difficult for him on the tour.
You can't exactly imagine Nadal, Federer, Novak Djokovic or Murray getting
involved in a brawl during the winter break. But, then again, those four
aren't from "crazy Moscow". That is not to say that Safin is a brute far
from it. He was apparently in the wrong place at the wrong time. He has told
his younger sister, Dinara Safina, the women's third seed, that the Rumble
in Russia wasn't his "fault".
Safina, who also made the last 32 of the women's event when she came from a
set down to defeat countrywoman Ekaterina Makarova, has suggested that her
brother was lucky to have only sustained bruising and cuts, as there are
people who carry "guns and pistols" in "crazy Moscow". Thankfully, Safin is
still alive and well, and able to compete here at Melbourne Park.
On Fri, 23 Jan 2009 05:49:41 +0000, grif wrote:
Date: 23 Jan 2009 01:23:27|
Subject: Re: Rough vs Smooth and the Rumble in Russia
> On the one occasion that Australia's Lleyton Hewitt made it to the final of
> his home grand slam, in 2005, he was denied the title by Safin's superb
> hitting. And so you would think that the Australian tennis public might hold
> that against the Muscovite. But they don't. Instead they adore him, with one
> Melbourne newspaper joking that it would hardly be a surprise if three or
> four local girls ended up sitting together in his supporters' box during the
> If Safin doesn't break any rackets during this tournament, he might just
> break a few hearts among Melbourne's female population. A few girlie
> screams, of the sort that are usually reserved for rock-stars, could be
> heard on the Margaret Court Arena as Safin clumped backhands down the line.
I'm still shook from that (mostly) Russian harem he dragged in along with
'im back in I guess it was 2002:
Marat Safin's "unbelievably beautiful bench" at the Australian Open had as
much attention from the television cameras and photographers as Thomas
Johanssen's grand slam victory. The glammed-up regulars in his supporter
box included two Melbourne girls he met at a trendy restaurant and a
Moscow model, Katya Bestojeva, 21.
Anna Gorski, 22, a one-time Muscovite model studying marketing at
Melbourne's Monash University, who had met Safin on the practice court
during the open, had this exchange with journalists:
Gorski: "We met here and got along well and just hang out. We've been
seeing Melbourne a bit, but it is not very exciting."
Reporter: "What? Safin had three blondes in tow all week and you didn't
have a good time?"
Gorski: "Oh, he had a good time. I am sure he had a very good time."
After losing the final, Safin acknowledged the blonde mob: "I have to say
thank you to all my family over there."
Take a deep breath, take a walk, cool off, plot a bit, and serve again.
On 2009-01-23, mimus <firstname.lastname@example.org > wrote:
Date: 26 Jan 2009 23:27:03|
From: Jesper Lauridsen
Subject: Re: Rough vs Smooth and the Rumble in Russia
> I'm still shook from that (mostly) Russian harem he dragged in along with
> 'im back in I guess it was 2002:
> Marat Safin's "unbelievably beautiful bench" at the Australian Open had as
> much attention from the television cameras and photographers as Thomas
> Johanssen's grand slam victory. The glammed-up regulars in his supporter
> box included two Melbourne girls he met at a trendy restaurant and a
> Moscow model, Katya Bestojeva, 21.
People are always talking about this, but noone are providing any pictures.