Q. When we first saw you on the tour, many of us saw this big Russian kid hitting hard, big win over Sampras. How have you changed as a person and player since then?
MARAT SAFIN: Well, many things happened in my career. A lot of things. The life was pretty intense, so I can't complain. A lot of things were happening like day to day. A lot of changes, a lot of difficult situations, a lot of fun situations.
But I think I've managed to do pretty well in my career, the way the level is going, and I make some right decisions. Unfortunately, I was a little bit unlucky with my injuries. That's the only thing that I regret, but I cannot do anything about it.
But also I make a couple of great comebacks. But eventually just the knee injury was really tough to come back from. Didn't manage. Managed only to get into top 20. Well, last couple of weeks. That's it. But it took quite a long time to play tennis without any pain.
But still it made me a little bit slower than I used to be before. And, of course, it's tough to play against the big guys. Of course it's tough to play against any guys, compete against them, because everybody is running, everybody is fast, everybody is shooting left and right, and you have to be hundred percent.
When you're injured with the knees, something with the legs, it's not easy to recover, so...
Q. One single thing in your career you could sit down and change?
MARAT SAFIN: Well, they all coming in chains, so everything is like ‑‑ it's like a circle. You can't take one part of it. It would go in the other direction. Just the whole thing, the circumstances, decisions I made, circumstances, there were not so many choices.
So I had to choose from A, B and C, but I made pretty well. Actually I managed pretty well. A couple of mistakes, but not really regret, because it gave me a real experience in life, I think.
Q. If your mother hadn't been a tennis instructor, do you think you still would have had an interest in tennis and still would have pursued it?
MARAT SAFIN: Well, this is also an interesting part, because there was not many chances that I would play any other sport except tennis. So she really decided for me. She made the right decision, actually, because I don't know what I would do if not because of her.
And, of course, I loved hockey. I loved soccer. But there was no way that I would play these sports. I was born for tennis, especially.
Q. Do you think you were also born for sports or if you were put in school you might have gone in another direction?
MARAT SAFIN: Better in sports. Better in sports. Much better in sports (smiling). I learn pretty fast. You show me what I have to do, I am pretty fast with it.
But counting ‑‑ well, counting I like, but reading and memorizing is not really for me. So it was a right choice to stick in tennis.
Q. You're such a free spirit, yet you said the game is so uptight, too many controls. What are your thoughts about that in general, and smashing a tennis racquet in particular?
MARAT SAFIN: There's a kind of frustration, of course. I don't know how people they can keep it inside, all of it. I mean, even Federer, once he smashed a racquet in Miami. But it's surprising he did it only once in his career probably, how he keeps everything in side.
But he had cries. He cries after winning. That's also a surprising part for me. But, anyway, everybody's emotions, the emotions comes out in different moments. So I cannot keep it inside when I'm losing and I'm frustrated. I need to get it out. Then I can play.
Because otherwise if everything accumulates inside of me, I cannot play. I cannot think. I cannot perform. I cannot run. I'm just blocked. So I need to get a relief and start all over again.
Q. When people look back and say, Hey, two majors, that's fantastic, but overall the guy has been an underachiever. I know you bristle at that. Do you think there's any truth at all to that take on you as an under achiever?
MARAT SAFIN: You know what, it's been ‑‑ in the history of tennis, everybody's an underachiever. Everybody. Every single person. Every single player is an underachiever. Agassi should have been winning, I don't know, 15 Grand Slams. Sampras should have been winning 20 Grand Slams. Federer should be winning ‑‑ already should have 25. Rios at least five.
So you know what I'm saying. It's like everybody's underachiever. Everybody could do better.
Q. So what should have been your overachiever mark?
MARAT SAFIN: I should probably have win a couple of more, but I'm pretty satisfied with what I did.