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Old Aug 24th, 2008, 11:51 AM   #31
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Re: News, Articles, Interviews - Anything Dinara

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Originally Posted by enchantrezz View Post
From the latest Maxim interview/article of Anna Kournikova:

" I root for my friends Dinara Safina and Svetlana Kuznetsova. I love to see them do well."

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Old Aug 24th, 2008, 05:59 PM   #32
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Re: News, Articles, Interviews - Anything Dinara

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Originally Posted by enchantrezz View Post
From the latest Maxim interview/article of Anna Kournikova:

" I root for my friends Dinara Safina and Svetlana Kuznetsova. I love to see them do well."

Dinara keeps such good company!
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Old Aug 25th, 2008, 10:03 PM   #33
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Re: News, Articles, Interviews - Anything Dinara

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Originally Posted by enchantrezz View Post
From the latest Maxim interview/article of Anna Kournikova:

" I root for my friends Dinara Safina and Svetlana Kuznetsova. I love to see them do well."

Loving it
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Old Aug 26th, 2008, 02:55 AM   #34
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Re: News, Articles, Interviews - Anything Dinara

Keeping a watchful eye on the big-name players
-
By Ravi Ubha
Special to ESPN

Editor's note: Each day at the U.S. Open, ESPN.com tracks the game's brightest stars throughout the day, lending an inside look at their daily matches, practices and routines.


Monday, Aug. 25

3:10 p.m.: Dinara Safina, sweat on her brow following a session on the fenced-in practice courts on Monday, was busy signing autographs for a small, yet vocal crowd assembled nearby who braved the stifling heat. In two weeks, she might be receiving much more attention.

After going 32-4 in her previous 36 matches and winning silver at the Olympics in Beijing, Safina justifiably entered the season's final major as one of the clear favorites. She became the first female player to beat three reigning world No. 1s in a season and wrapped up the U.S. Open Series crown early. Being healthy didn't hurt.

Her coach, Zeljko Krajan, whom she lavished praise on in China, is expecting big things. Safina is in the same quarter as injury-hit world No. 1 Ana Ivanovic, and in the same half as the bashing Williams sisters, Venus and Serena, who are both recovering from knee injuries and quarterfinal exits at the Olympics.

Safina begins against U.S. qualifier Kristie Haerim Ahn, probably on Tuesday.
"It would be stupid to say I don't expect anything because she's the hottest player on the tour,'' said Krajan, a 29-year-old former Croatian pro. "At the Grand Slams it's very hard, two weeks of three sets. But she's been taking it match-by-match, and that's how the results have been coming.''

According to Krajan, Safina, unsurprisingly, was "exhausted'' post Beijing. She arrived in New York just under a week ago and is "getting it together now.''

Krajan saw immense potential when the duo began working together this season, though acknowledged Safina, now escaping big brother Marat Safin's shadow, "was in pretty bad shape mentally and physically.'' Whatever happens in New York, he insisted Safina, ranked seventh and seeded sixth due to the absence of fellow Russian Maria Sharapova, is here to stay.

"I don't think she can fade or drop lower,'' Krajan said. "She's playing good and has been having good results, but she still has a lot of room to improve. I can say she's not at 100 percent. She needs more time on her condition and to get stronger on court and more fit. She cannot go down. She's on the way up.''
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Old Aug 26th, 2008, 03:07 AM   #35
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Re: News, Articles, Interviews - Anything Dinara



Safina’s No Longer Just the Kid Sister By MICHAEL BRICK
Published: August 24, 2008

She slumped into the room at a manic pace, head low, all gazes averted, 6 feet of tone and bone ducked into reverie with a P.D.A. in her left hand, tapping out last signals as if to deploy some sci-fi cloaking device. Keep it together, keep it together.

Tonight there would be questions about her temper, her rise on the global tennis stage, her efforts to contain the former in furtherance of the latter and, of course, the big daddy of them all, the great taboo, her older brother.

Now her cheeks were flushed. Her hair was wet. Her lips took the shape of a coin slot. She wore red high-waters, loose bracelets and a pink T-shirt declaring “Impossible is Nothing.”

“I would say,” announced Dinara Safina, 22, kid sister to the helplessly combustible Marat Safin, “today luck was on my side.”

Funny how luck works. Sometimes you make it, and all that.

Just an hour earlier, Safina had lost a set to fourth-ranked Svetlana Kuznetsova in the quarterfinals of the Rogers Cup in Montreal.

Afterward, she threw a tennis ball to the court, watched it bounce and then, as if unable to stop herself, before an audience of 10,759, with the legacy of her brother’s spent promise as a backdrop, dropped back, opened up her powerful forehand and sent that nettlesome yellow projectile careering past her opponent’s head, over the advertising placards and right into the gallery of spectators. No one was harmed save Safina herself, who was chastised by the umpire.

But next came the part she would attribute to luck. At the moment when her brother, who once broke 50 rackets in a season, might have started looking for the bottom, Safina instead settled in to take the second set, then the third. Serving hard, hustling and deploying mesmerizing drop shots, she went on to win the tournament in authoritative fashion.

Her victory, picked up on the way to representing Russia at the Olympic Games, extended to 27-3 a streak started at the German Open in May. There she had beaten top-ranked Justine Henin, who soon retired at 25. Had Henin seen a ghost? Such speculation made the rounds only as a joke, but Safina’s legend grew.

At Roland Garros, Safina knock out the newly top-ranked Maria Sharapova, clearing a path to the final. As spring gave way to summer, she appeared in five championship matches on three different surfaces. She won two titles in two weeks, no mean feat in a brutal hardcourt season that felled several contenders.

Heading into the United States Open, she won 15 matches in a row before losing in the gold medal match to her countrywoman Elena Dementieva at the Beijing Olympics. The seventh-ranked Safina, widely regarded as a promising junior who had failed to flower, seemed poised to emerge as a real threat in a field diminished by injuries.

“Since clay-court season, Berlin, she’s playing amazing,” said Victoria Azarenka, who fell to Safina in the semifinals in Montreal. “I think she’s just playing like a No. 1 player in the world.”

There had been a time all this was expected of her. With the twin blessings of height and power and the mixed one of a prominent tennis family, Safina made the Wimbledon junior finals in 2001. As a teenager, she secured four WTA titles.

Then she started making mistakes. She hurt her back. She failed to gain traction in the Grand Slam tournaments. Her development lagged behind the prodigious pace set by her brother, a United States Open winner who was ranked No. 1 at age 20 in 2000 — and no one was quicker to point that out than her brother.

“She has to make a lot of changes to compete with the top players,” Safin told reporters in 2005. “To be able to do that, she needs to be a little bit grown-up woman.”

Oh, to be advised to grow up by Marat Safin. But his assessment was not without merit. Safina was out of shape, failing to concentrate and sinking into the darker mold that destiny had made ready.

“She was living in his shadow,” said Zeljko Krajan, her coach. “And she wants to do better than that, but this is a very big shadow to come out of.”

In April, Safina hired a new fitness coach, Dejan Vojnovic, who like Krajan is from Croatia. A former long jumper, Vojnovic prescribed a course of endurance, speed and agility training, working up to weight lifting. All of Safina’s coaches counseled restraint on the court. And then some grand unknowable something propelled her onto the dominating run that has put the leading players in the world on notice.

“We’ve only started what I think she can be physically,” Vojnovic said.

In this charmed season, Safina’s serve has seemed to abide in the charged summer air while her entire frame tenses and then snaps closed like a trap. Her ground strokes quiver with power. Even her sense of discipline, the detail with the devil in it, has shown improvement. At a crucial moment in Montreal, she faulted away an advantage point only to roar alive on a second-serve ace.

But as she returns to the proving grounds of a Grand Slam event, Safina must still manage a tangled legacy.

“I had no choice but to become a tennis player, but I don’t mind being a tennis player,” she said.

In some ways, she has embraced her double-sided birthright. She has agreed to play mixed doubles with Safin for the first time at the Hopman Cup in Perth, Australia, next year.

Her brother, for his part, has taken to sending congratulatory text messages. He has stopped giving advice, at least publicly. Safina said he held back privately as well. General differences between men’s and women’s tennis rendered such advice unhelpful, she offered by way of explanation.

“Many times, I would say to my brother, ‘You have great things,’ and he’d say to me, ‘You have me as a brother, just enjoy tennis,’ ” she said. “I always wanted to be myself, and now finally the results are coming, and people can know me as Dinara Safina.”
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Old Aug 26th, 2008, 04:59 AM   #36
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Re: News, Articles, Interviews - Anything Dinara

Dinara Great read thanks!
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Old Aug 26th, 2008, 08:45 AM   #37
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Old Aug 26th, 2008, 02:32 PM   #38
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Re: News, Articles, Interviews - Anything Dinara

USA Today
Six in the mix: Race for women's No. 1 is wide open

NEW YORK — If it seems like the No. 1 ranking in women's tennis is a game of musical chairs in which no one stays seated at the end, take solace. The top slot is that up for grabs.

For the first time since the computer rankings were introduced in 1975, six women could emerge from the U.S. Open with the No. 1 position — a record number of contenders heading into a major, according to the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour.

Three players control their destiny: No. 1 Ana Ivanovic, No. 2 Jelena Jankovic and No. 3 Serena Williams. A win and they would leave New York peering down on the rest of the field.

No. 4 Svetlana Kuznetsova, No. 6 Dinara Safina and No. 7 Elena Dementieva need to win or reach the final and get help from others to claim the top spot. (No. 5 Maria Sharapova is injured and not in the mix).


Dementieva, the Olympic singles gold medalist, says it's obvious why the scramble to the top so tight. "Because Justine is not here anymore," the Russian says of former No. 1 Justine Henin.

Henin's abrupt retirement before the French Open and her decision to remove her name from the rankings is certainly a big factor, because the Belgian had a sizable points lead.
"Justine was so far ahead of everybody else that we wouldn't be talking about this if she was still playing," Fed Cup captain and TV commentator Mary Joe Fernandez says.
But it's more complicated than that.

Injuries have affected everyone from Ivanovic (thumb) to Serena and Venus Williams (knees) to Jankovic (knee). The rolling 52-week ranking system, in which points drop off from the same week the year before, coupled with a reconfigured calendar because of the Beijing Olympics created some unusual results.

Serbia's Jankovic, for instance, blew several chances to ascend to No. 1 then found herself atop the rankings Aug. 11 a week after losing in the quarterfinals at Montreal. On Aug. 18, compatriot Ivanovic reclaimed the top ranking without even playing a match and is now the U.S. Open's top seed.

"It's kind of weird that they're switching week to week with no tournaments," says former No. 1 Lindsay Davenport, who defeated Aleksandra Wozniak of Canada 6-4, 6-2 Monday to reach the second round.

2007 U.S. Open runner-up Kuznetsova points out that becoming a dominant No. 1 takes more than avoiding injuries or benefiting from quirks in the calendar.

"Even people who don't have injuries have mental ups and downs," says the 2004 U.S. Open winner from Russia, whose career high ranking is No. 2. "That's normal. The life we live is hard, it's lonely, traveling all the time — a lot of things affect you."

The upshot is that this year the top ranking already has been passed around five times among four players (Henin, Sharapova, Ivanovic and Jankovic). That is the most since the 2005 season, when two players swapped it five times.

The all-time high since the advent of computer rankings in 1975 was eight changes among four players in 2002 and eight swaps among three players in 1995. That record could be in jeopardy.

"The following months are going to be changing a lot like this," said Kuznetsova, who advanced to the second round by defeating Shuai Zhang of China 6-4, 6-2.

By comparison, Roger Federer's extraordinary 237-week reign at No. 1 that ended Aug. 18 coincided with 14 changes among the women.

For surging players such as Safina, the confluence of events presents a golden, and perhaps unforeseen, opportunity.

"I don't think she thought in a million years that all of a sudden she'd be in that position," Fernandez says of the French Open and Olympic finalist, who hit a career high of No. 6 two weeks ago.

For the half dozen in the hunt, the U.S. Open is now a more critical springboard to finishing the year atop the rankings.

"Whoever wins here will probably go on and play well in the fall and most likely end the year at No. 1," Fernandez says.

Whether all the back-and-forth is good also is a topic of debate.

Davenport, who is back at the Open as a 32-year-old mother, said it was "unfortunate" and perhaps "confusing" to fans unaware of the computer's workings.

"I think for the fans, they don't really know … who's No. 1 this week or is it a big deal now or not?" the three-time major winner from California says.

Kuznetsova, 23, disagrees.
"It's wide-open, and I think it's interesting," she said. "Now it's unpredictable, and it's a good chance for everybody."
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Old Aug 26th, 2008, 04:46 PM   #39
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Re: News, Articles, Interviews - Anything Dinara

Good read, thanks
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Old Aug 26th, 2008, 07:15 PM   #40
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Re: News, Articles, Interviews - Anything Dinara

Dinara on Marat

Q. What would you like to have about Marat, like tennis player or like human being?
DINARA SAFINA: When he plays his best, I would take everything what he has: his power, fighting spirit. I mean he reads the game very good, and when he plays he's the best everything. When he plays his worst game, then I don't need anything. (laughter.)

Q. Like human being, what do you think is his best quality?

DINARA SAFINA: Like what?

Q. Human being.

DINARA SAFINA: His best quality?

I think he's the person like he would be always next to you. Like whenever you need help he would be there. I can say like with us, family. You know, like whenever I was down or whatever, he ‑‑ I think he would prefer like to see me smiling.

I would say sometimes, I cannot feel anything on the court. He would say, If you would just stop it, just enjoy the life. For him, most important he sees me happy. So he will help with whatever he can.

Q. Have you guys ever had a sibling rivalry, or is it even more noticeable now that maybe you're having more success than he is? Has there ever been envy or jealousy between you?
DINARA SAFINA: Never, never. In our family this doesn't exist. We don't have this.

Q. What do your parents say to you about that? In order to not have that sibling rivalry, what have they said to you?
DINARA SAFINA: Whew, it's just the way we are. Like maybe ‑‑ the way they educated us, that ‑‑ I mean, I cannot even imagine be jealous of my brother. I would ‑‑ it's impossible.

It's because it's our family, and whatever. Success, it's the family success. I can't not even imagine it.
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Old Aug 26th, 2008, 07:31 PM   #41
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Re: News, Articles, Interviews - Anything Dinara

Awww she says such nice things about Marat there! I love them both
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Old Aug 26th, 2008, 11:31 PM   #42
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Awww she says such nice things about Marat there! I love them both
me too
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Old Aug 27th, 2008, 12:38 AM   #43
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Re: News, Articles, Interviews - Anything Dinara

Usopen interview w Marat after 1st rd:

Q. Your sister was in here earlier after her win, and she talked about you actually have talked to her through the years about trying to learn from your...

MARAT SAFIN: My mistakes, yes. (laughter.)

Q. Can you just give us a couple minutes what you think of what she's done professionally so far this year in particular and maybe what her chances are?

MARAT SAFIN: I think if she will do everything opposite of what I've been doing throughout the years she will be No. 1 in the world for a long time. That's as simple as it is.

Q. As a brother, how proud of her are you?

MARAT SAFIN: Always, of course. I mean, she's doing so well, and she's very close to finish the year No. 1. She's playing well. Two tough finals in the French Open and Beijing, so I think the third one is here. She should take her chance.

It's a little too early to speak about it, but I think she deserved it. And the way she was working already this year, and the decision she made at the age of 22 for a girl, I think it's very tough one.

She made them, she's doing very well, and I think she deserved it. I think she's totally ready to win the first Grand Slam, so I think why not? I'm really proud of the way she's handling the pressure and the way she's handling herself.

I think it's ‑‑ and the way she's treating the people around her, I think it's amazing, so I'm really happy for her.
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Old Aug 27th, 2008, 10:55 AM   #44
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Re: News, Articles, Interviews - Anything Dinara

round 1 post match interview

watch the video!
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Old Aug 27th, 2008, 11:14 AM   #45
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