Dinara Safina : Perfectionnist
(Interviewed by her brother Marat Safin)
[excerpt from a L'Equipe Interview during Kremlin Cup 2004 with Russia's top female players]
Why are you so impatient? Why do you want everything immediately while you are just 17?
I love tennis too much. I love winning too much. I train myself hard. It's all I think about. So, I give everything to tennis and what I do is working. When I lose, I can't cope with it, it really makes me suffer. It's true that I'm only 17 but at this age, Martina Hingis was number one... And my temper is like that, when I want something, I need to have it.
What for example?
It's especially about tennis, about victories, about technical improvements... Anyway, nothing counts more than tennis.
And do you think it's good for you?
Yes because I love it. I want to give everything to tennis for the ten or twelve years I will play. Then I will move on to something else, I will have children, I will have another life.
But today, what do you like in this lifestyle as a professional tennis player? What really gives you pleasure?
Apart from winning matches, I like earning money. I really like to know that I can earn enough money to be able to live well for my whole life and buy whatever I want, whenever I want, without having to count my money. I'm reassured to think this, that I'll be able to spend money without having to count too much, and bring my children up without running out of anything. Apart from this, I don't really like travelling, I'm too scared of airplanes; it is the big black cloud over my life. And also defeats. Oh yes, there is something else that I like: the player's lounges. I love chatting with everybody, so I spend a lot of time there, and I talk, I talk...
Last question: What do you think of me?
You're my God! When you play, I love watching you. When you lose, I'm even sadder than when I lose. When you're hurt, I suffer. When you talk to me, I drink your words. When you come to see me playing, I'm beside myself with joy. I hate hearing or reading something bad about you. I know you are hard-working and that you do everything you can to be number one. For me, you have the biggest talent of any player and I don't have half of your talent. The only thing I have more of than you, is that I like working more than you do, I could be doing only this for 24 hours a day, and it's not your case, I know it. In any case, if you don't practice for 3 days, you're still as strong. If I miss one practice, I regress and I'm unhappy. It makes me cry, just like when I went to school and had bad marks. I want to do everything perfectly. Approximation makes me crazy.