Quotable Quotes: Had we but world enough, and time.
Was your 2000 U.S. Open victory over Pete Sampras a curse as much as a blessing?
MS: It was unexpected for me in the first place, because I didn’t think that I would get close to the finals, and to go to the finals and beat Sampras on his home ground—I don’t think so.
And then I ended up in the situation where I was fighting for No. 1 in the world and I made it. I was kind of struggling—you know, what’s next? I won a Grand Slam, I ended up No. 1 in the world, I never in my life would have dreamed about it and I made it. I was like, ‘”Game over.” I achieved everything I wanted, what’s next?’
It’s difficult when you’re 20 years old to understand what you want and what you’re aiming at. And also it was a problem that there wasn’t a real person who could guide me. I was guessing; I was a little bit stubborn. But anyway, for good or for bad, I did what I did, and I don’t really actually regret.
I probably would approach the situation slightly different [now], but that’s okay. I would never exchange my life for anybody else’s life. I’m grateful and I’m lucky and I’m blessed for the experiences I had throughout my life, and I would never, ever change my life.
Some part of me is sick of feeling bad about Safin retiring. But I don’t know why, but hearing Marat admit that he probably would’ve approached his post-2000 career differently in hindsight made me a little blue.
The massive “if only” hovering over Safin’s career is conspicuous enough to draw a sigh out of even his most ardent critics. He may have no regrets, but Marat cannot stop the world from ruing over the “what could’ve been’s“.
But sometimes I wonder if we would still love Marat Safin as much if he wasn’t the tortured, unfulfilled promise that he is. He may not be the greatest player that’s ever lived, but I’ll nominate Marat right now for the most charismatic player, if not of all time, then at least of the last decade.
Perhaps we just have to accept that some sparks, like Fed, turn into a raging fire, others burn brightly, but burn out fast.
By the way, the spark is still burning in Moscow, as Marat scored a top 10 win over Nikolay Davydenko.
Although given that Kolya had just won Shanghai and could not actually gain points from the Kremlin Cup after filling his quota of ATP 250 tournaments for the year, it’s not that much of an upset.
Still, I’ll take one more match from his guy. Just one more.