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Old Oct 15th, 2003, 04:27 PM   #16
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It's really sad after the woo-ha of their DC win last year.

And with the scandal facing Yevgeny at the moment really seems like a low point for the men ...
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Old Dec 22nd, 2003, 12:18 AM   #17
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An interesting article -

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Yevgeny Kafelnikov has already rewritten the script several times for the finale of his tennis career.

Leading Russia to Davis Cup victory against France last December would be a perfect final act, he decided. When young compatriot Mikhail Youzhny stole the limelight by winning the deciding rubber in Kafelnikov's place, the older man had to think again.

Perhaps a sixth Kremlin Cup title in June would make a suitable farewell point for Russia's most celebrated and successful tennis player of all time?

But Kafelnikov failed to stick to the script again, losing in the second round.

Now the 2000 Olympic champion and the first Russian to win a Grand Slam event may have to draft a closing scene in which he just slips quietly off into the sunset.

Kafelnikov himself is still keeping everyone guessing about his future but Russian tennis officials do not expect him to play again.

``We've been urging him to continue but it looks as if he just doesn't have the desire to play any more,'' Russia's Davis Cup captain Shamil Tarpishchev was quoted as saying by local media. ``He has also gained weight, some eight kilos.''

A senior Russian tennis official also told Reuters that Kafelnikov would not return next year.

``I think Yevgeny has made up his mind already but he just likes to keep everybody guessing, he likes playing games with people,'' the source said.

LOYAL FAN

Kafelnikov, looking out of shape, was last seen in public during last month's Fed Cup Final Four at Moscow's Olympiiski sports complex, sitting in the stands next to his most loyal fan, former Russian President Boris Yeltsin.

After a largely disappointing season in which he won only 29 matches, lost 26 and had to fend off allegations of match-rigging, Kafelnikov refused to say whether he would continue playing next year.

``You'll get the answer just by looking at entry sheets at various tournaments next year,'' he told reporters after bowing out to Youzhny in a lacklustre second-round effort at the St Petersburg Open -- his last match this year in October.

``If my name is absent then you'll know I'm done as a player.''

Kafelnikov, who turns 30 in February, had hoped for a more glorious farewell.

The Sochi native, who won the French Open in 1996 and the Australian Open in 1999, had dreamed of hitting the winning point in the decisive fifth rubber against Davis Cup holders France in the Paris final last December.

``That would really be a fitting finale for me,'' he said at the time.

In the event, it was newcomer Youzhny who replaced the out-of-form Kafelnikov for the deciding rubber and came from two sets down in an epic five-set battle against Paul-Henri Mathieu to clinch Russia's first Davis Cup.

Later, Russian insiders said that Kafelnikov had been upset about the last-minute switch and would not forgive Youzhny for taking his spot and the limelight.

BAD YEAR

Kafelnikov changed his mind about retiring until June, when he announced he would go for good if he won his sixth Kremlin Cup title.

``I badly want to win in Moscow one more time and if I could add another title here, I would retire for sure,'' said the former world number one, who enjoyed five straight Kremlin Cup wins from 1997 to 2001.

But Kafelnikov promptly lost in the second round to unheralded Armenian Sargis Sargsian.

The year 2003 got no better for the player whose victory on the red clay of Roland Garros in 1996 brought a tennis boom to his country.

Unable to capture his old form, a disheartened Kafelnikov struggled for most of the season to finish the year at number 40 in the world -- his lowest ranking in more than a decade.

To make matter worse, several media outlets accused Kafelnikov in October of being involved in match-rigging after a huge worldwide gamble was made on his low-key first-round match against Fernando Vicente in Lyon.

Betting was suspended after a large sum of money was put on the Spaniard, who had lost his 11 previous matches, to beat the Russian. Vicente won 6-2 6-3.

Though Kafelnikov vehemently denied any involvement in the scheme, his reputation was damaged.

``It (the allegation) completely tears me apart,'' Kafelnikov said.

``When I walked into the locker room all the players looked at me like I'm the worst enemy of all time,'' said the former French and Australian Open champion, adding that he might consider legal action.

The incident forced the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) -- the governing body of the men's tour -- to introduce heavy penalties for anyone implicated in match-fixing.
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Old Dec 23rd, 2003, 07:57 PM   #18
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Doesn't sound he'll play not year. You had a great career, best Russian player ever. The women still have to do, you did. Winning a GS.
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Old Jan 6th, 2004, 03:19 PM   #19
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An article about Marat-
PERTH, Australia (Reuters) - For larger-than-life Marat Safin, it's crunch time.

The Russian's love of the high life is matched only by his love for tennis -- but now he knows something must give.

The tortured Tartar has realized it is time to calm down and move on if he is to fight his way back from an unflattering world number 77 to the number one spot his talent deserves.

A frustrating year spent on the sidelines nursing injuries gave the 23-year-old plenty of time to reflect on a short career during which he has scaled the heights and scraped the barrel.

``I've had a lot of time to think about my life,'' he said in Perth, revealing a new year's resolution centered on shunning the spotlight and hitting the courts.

``I have a lot of people around me and I talked about everything,'' he said of those dark months where a series of injuries kept him out of the game in 2003.

``I had a lot of questions about my life, about my professional life and how I should do everything possible to get wherever I want to be.

``I had people direct me and give me some great advice.''

That sound advice has been a long time coming.

One of the most exciting players in the world, the Russian has often suffered from less-than-sound advice as he has lurched round the circuit.

His sublime demolition of Pete Sampras to win the U.S. Open in 2001 was in stark contrast to the 2002 Australian Open final when Safin spent more time smiling at the group of ``blondies'' cheering him from his private box.

``GETTING OLDER''

That he lost to Thomas Johansson was no great shock, such were the distractions surrounding his camp for the fortnight. It was a disappointing way to mark his birthday.

Not for the first time were questions asked about his commitment and level of effort in the match.

In 2000, the youngster was fined by Australian Open officials for ``tanking'' -- deliberately throwing a match or not trying his best against South African Grant Stafford in the first round.

It was a shameful episode and one for which he apologized 12 months later.

Concentration and keeping his head up has always been a problem -- something he is coming to terms with.

``I'm growing ... getting older,'' he said.

``Basically something has to change because it has been for many years a problem. I couldn't concentrate, I was getting frustrated during matches and was giving up many times in many matches.

``I have finally understood, at the age of 23, becoming 24, that is not the way I should treat myself on court.

``Because the match is still going I should at least try. Try and try and if it's not working it's no big deal. That's one of my goals for the year.''

Certainly the Russian has set heady goals for himself.

``I decided to come back strong -- I really want to be number one in the world at the end of the year.

``I really hope that I will be lucky in Australia

``I'm really looking forward to doing well. I'm not talking about quarterfinals, semifinals ... I am talking about finals.''
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Old Jan 7th, 2004, 11:50 PM   #20
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Another Marat article-
Safin sound on comeback trail
By Linda Pearce
Perth
January 7, 2004
Marat Safin had the passport containing his Australian entry visa stolen two days before he left Moscow, but he still winged it via Frankfurt and Singapore, aware that his journey was at risk of being terminated at any moment. Flying, as ever, by the seat of his pants.

The same Safin whose radical new plan is to try his hardest even when matches are going against him.

The same undisciplined racquet-smashing Russian who has acknowledged his poor attitude but claims to have decided upon the path of dedication and professionalism under Denis Golovanov, his sixth coach in four years.

The same, ridiculously talented Safin, now ranked 77th and soon to turn 24, who has set himself not just for a return to the top 10, but, within 12 months, to the No. 1 ranking that was his after a phenomenal United States Open victory over Pete Sampras in 2000.

The same Safin who lost the 2002 Australian Open to Thomas Johansson, then joked with the media about his busty blonde entourage and beamed when presented with a cake to mark his 22nd birthday.

There is only one Marat Safin, and the game's collective personality has been poorer for his long absence with a wrist injury. He won his most recent tournament match in April, rushed back too early from the ligament tear and effectively missed the second half of the year as a consequence.

After a miserable comeback late in the European indoor season, Safin chose to cut his losses and prepare for 2004.

So here he is, in Perth, and in promising early form, dispatching France's Fabrice Santoro - his long-time nemesis - in straight sets on Monday night to open a new year he vows will be far more positive and successful than the last. Safin conceded that "always you have this fear that you'll not be able to come back".

Yet there was also, apparently, a silver lining. "I had enough time to think about my professional life, and I make some goals to myself - try to be more focused and I'm working on that, and I'm getting much better," he said.

"I decide to come in to play, to come back strong and prepare myself, and I really want to be the No. 1 in the world at the end of this year.

"I made a proper schedule for myself, so basically it has to work - it has to go the way I planned. I really hope that I will be lucky in Australia and I'm really looking forward to doing well. I'm not talking about quarter-finals, semi-finals - I'm talking about finals."

He is also talking about maturity. "I'm growing, I'm getting really older, I'm going to be 24 years old, so basically something has to change because it's been for many years my problem I had. I couldn't really concentrate and I was getting frustrated at some point during the match and I was giving up many times in many matches.

"So I understood, finally understood . . . that it's not the way I should treat myself and suffer on the court getting pissed (off). Because the match is still going and I should at least try. Try and try and if it's not working, it's not a big deal. There's going to be another chance, but at least try."

Injury also has sentenced Lindsay Davenport, another grand slam winner from 2000, to long stretches on the sidelines in recent years. She, too, made a successful return to the court in Perth, the late replacement for Serena Williams leading the US to a 3-0 win over the Czech Republic yesterday.

Having missed more than half of 2002 in knee rehabilitation, Davenport resorted to surgery in mid-October to correct a chronic nerve condition between the toes on her left foot.

Such was her physical frustration, coupled with the appeal of starting a family with husband Jon Leach, that the 27-year-old had even hinted that her most recent Wimbledon visit may be her last.

"Two surgeries in 19 months isn't easy, but I feel like it's something you have to go through sometimes, just trying to hang in there with it," Davenport said after yesterday's 6-4, 6-3 defeat of teenager Barbora Strycova, less than a month after she returned to the practice court.

"I don't know. There's a lot of disappointment and regret that it kind of happened to me - especially my knee when I'd just hit No. 1 again. I'm still out here for a reason. I don't know if it's quite hunger or I just don't want to go out being hurt all the time. I would like to have one really good solid year of being healthy.

"This is my 13th year, so it's closer to the end than the beginning, but certainly when you're not playing for months at a time, your mind starts to wander. But I have no time-frame for anything like that. It could be next month, it could be in two years - I have no idea. (I'm) just focused right now on Australia and getting better. I still feel like I'm many matches away from feeling great, or in the rhythm of playing matches, but it was a great way to start the year."
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Old Jan 8th, 2004, 01:48 AM   #21
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btw, do people know that YK will be one of the coaches of the Davis Cup team in Russia's tie against Belarus?
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Old Jan 8th, 2004, 02:01 AM   #22
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Thanks for the articles, GL.

Where is the friendly and informative Nina_Rus? I miss her.
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Old Jan 9th, 2004, 12:20 PM   #23
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This week the Russian men haven't underachieved. Youzhny/Davydenko were defeated by higherranked players. Safin's back, though he lost to J. Blake. And Igor has just lost to 2nd seed P. Srichaphan. The results were o.k.
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Old Jan 16th, 2004, 01:25 PM   #24
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Finally, a good news.... Dmitry Tursunov was inluded into Russian Davis Cup team to play against Belarus...
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Old Jan 16th, 2004, 04:41 PM   #25
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http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport2/hi/tennis/3403823.stm

Veteran Russian Yevgeny Kafelnikov will not play in his country's Davis Cup first-round match against Belarus on 6-8 February.


The former French and Australian Open champion is reportedly considering retirement and has been appointed assistant coach for the match.

Russian captain Shamil Tarpishchev has turned to former US Open champion Marat Safin and Mikhail Youzhny. The team is completed by youngsters Nikolai Davydenko and Igor Andreev.
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Old Jan 16th, 2004, 05:07 PM   #26
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gl, the news is not full... Russian press says Dmitry will be on the team too.
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Old Jan 17th, 2004, 07:57 PM   #27
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Some tough first round matches-

3. Men's Singles - 1st Rnd.
Sebastien Grosjean (FRA)[9] vs. Mikhail Youzhny (RUS)
4. Men's Singles - 1st Rnd.
Marat Safin (RUS) vs. Brian Vahaly (USA)
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Old Jan 17th, 2004, 08:36 PM   #28
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More first rounders-
Dmitry Tursunov (RUS) vs. Ivan Ljubicic (CRO)
Arnaud Clement (FRA)[30] vs. Nikolay Davydenko (RUS)
Olivier Patience (FRA) vs. Igor Andreev (RUS)
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Old Jan 17th, 2004, 09:33 PM   #29
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Old Jan 18th, 2004, 11:56 PM   #30
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Nikolay Davydenko is down two sets.
Igor Andreev is up two sets.
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