24 June 2009

This Time I Have No Sympathy For "The Big Russian"

Dude, what an awful way for Marat Safin to end his Wimbledon career.

First of all they put this chap on Court 18. 18? For a two-time Slam winner, multiple Slam finalist, last year's semi-finalist, and a crowd favorite?

Second of all, he was up against the unheralded qualifier Jesse Levin in the first round.

Third of all, when I started watching the match Marat had already given up. Seriously. I noticed he had lost the first set, won the second, then lost the third in a tiebreak. After that, he had no interest in carrying on. He was essentially tanking it. I mean, he should have just walked off the court at that point. The sad thing was that, once in a while, he would begrudgingly uncork a screaming winner almost because he was being forced to; and then he would go back to barely moving his feet or hitting balls into the net or just spinning his serves in.

He left without even acknowledging the crowd or even talking to reporters.

What a sad, sad way to go out.

By contrast, Amerlie Mauresmo (huge fan), well past her prime, grinded out a three-set victory over the little-known Melinda Czink.

And even Maria Sharapova (not a huge fan), with her game all but deserting her, fought to the bitter end, saving four (!) match points along the way, and at least trying to salvage a victory in an eventual loss to Gisela Dulko.

And look at poor Ana Ivanovic (big fan), struggling to a 8-6 third set while finally dispatching someone called Lucie Hradecka. And this after losing a tough first set (Marat would have quit right then).

This time, I really have no excuse for Marat. Shame!

As he himself put it: "So I need to get out of my brain and then start again on a blank page."

Okay fine, I'm just mad he lost so meekly. At least his sister (World No. 1 and fellow-headcase) Dinara Safina was more forgiving:

His sister Dinara Safina, the women's world number one, was asked what made her brother so special.
In a moving tribute, she said "He is honest and he doesn't hide anything. Like he's not a fake. Like he is how he is, on the court, off the court."
She added: "He has this charisma, this humour. You cannot learn this. Either you have it or you don't have it."
A fitting tribute to a heart-on-your-sleeve champion who often found his stunning talent clouded by an explosive temper.

It kills me to see what could have been - it really does!


Guardian: Marat Safin goes out in tempestuous style and possibly for good
Guardian: Safin draws a blank at last Wimbledon

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