Monday, October 27, 2008

Black Monday (or Thanks so much, Juan Monaco)

Screw the stock market.
This is serious.
Marat Safin, after getting waxed by Juan Monaco, 6-0, 7-6, today in Paris, said the dreaded "R" word. No, not recession. Safin's talking retirement!
"I’ve been struggling throughout my career with injuries left and right. It’s a little bit uncomfortable to find yourself in the top 10 for many years and to find yourself ranked 70 and 30 and 50 ... It’s not really a comfortable position," he said.
He's going to take some time off, try to figure out how a two-time Grand Slam winner (should've been three, Thomas Johansson) finds himself with a record of only 24-24 this season. Or how someone with so much natural ability can lose to the likes of Philipp Petzschner (yes, THE Philipp Petzschner) or Andrey Golubev, a household name.
In Kazakstan.
This is a huge decision for Safin, with far-reaching implications. In his deliberations, he has to consider what could happen to him if he should hang up his racquet:
1. Safin could take the Andre Agassi route: He makes one last push, wins a few more Slams, shave his head and open a school for groupies in St. Petersburg.
2. Or, he could quit right now and film a reality show, a la Mark Philippoussis, called The Color of Love. Safin is presented with two groups of women -- the Blondes and the Brunettes -- and must decide which group is his true love(s).
3. Then there's the Roscoe Tanner road. Safin's mug shows up on The Smoking Gun's Web site after he's busting passing bad checks for million-dollar cars. Prison is no place for such a cute face, Marat.
Hopefully, though, Safin is inspired by the success of his sister, Dinara -- who, by the way, is nowhere near as naturally gifted and has done more with less -- and comes back with a fire under his cute tush.


yogahz said...

Some time off might be what he needs. Like Lindsey and Martina (Hingis) (well, and Navratilova for that matter) getting away from the grind may show him how much he loves the game itself. Maybe it will relight his fire and he'll dedicate himself to getting better and winning.

I don't think that he's inspired by Dinara. Maybe that's partly what has him down - that he was supposed to be the Safin(a) superstar and now all the accolades are going to her.

Jodi said...

The Dinara thing is exactly why I hope Marat plays Hopman Cup in January at least - he and Dinara are signed up to play for Russia. I hope Marat's ego gets the better of him - he won't want to be dragged through the tournament by his baby sister, surely!

Naf said...

Hey, Yogahz and Jodi! Thanks for commiserating ...
The time off is definitely what he needs. If he misses it, he'll work harder and get better. If not, I guess I'll be staring sadly at my Safin shrine.
Regardless of what happens, Marat and Dinara at the Hopman Cup could be just plain fun! I hope they do it.

Kevin said...

I was kind of bummed out to hear it but I do believe it would be for the best. We all know that if he can get his head together, he still has a few slams left in him.

Naf said...

Welcome, Kevin!
He certainly has enough talent to win more Slams, but unfortunately, there are a few guys named Roger, Rafa and Novak at the top right now. At his current best, I doubt he could get past the top players to make a Slam final. I say that with a frown ... :(

TopSpin said...

I really don't want to see him quit - but if he feels he can't win big again, or even just play consistently enough to be competitive, its understandable for someone with his record.

Really looking forward to Hopman Cup though. And who knows what a few wins with little Sis might do for his confidence...