Marat’s swan song sees him without a coach after parting ways with Hernan Gumy (an unnecessary expense for this last year). He keeps to himself and doesn’t have many good friends on the tour. “Everybody walks with five or six people nowadays… [The game] is not as much fun. It’s too professional. Everyone’s hungry for money.”
After Marat serves his last fuzzy ball into the sunset — the final tournament on the schedule is Bercy — the Russian plans to take six months off. After that break, he doesn’t know what’s in store just yet. Safin will just be relieved to be free of competitive tennis: “no more match points, no more deuces, no more second serves.”
The final episode: At the 2009 U.S. Open, Marat opens with a match against Jurgen Melzer and will face either del Potro or Monaco in the second round. If he pulls that one out (not likely, le sigh), there’s a fourth-rounder against Gilles Simon and a quarterfinal against second seed Andy Murray.
(photo by TSF)