Marat's house pretty much looks exactly like how I had pictured it in my dreams, but with 100% fewer bear skin rugs and whores. He tidied up, is what I'm saying.
I mean, really. Are any of us shocked the guy has a telescope in his apartment that's *not* pointed to the sky?
A big-ass book of titties?
And a chill living room where he can think...
Dole out truth bombs...
And chill. We should all be so lucky.
Translation of the article accompanying these gems, after the jump. Believe me, it's worth reading if for no other reason than to learn that Marat don't give a *damn* about cufflinks.
And be sure to check out Sodapop's (uh...Lexi, if you listen to the podcasts) blog for all things Russian pop culture related. I don't understand half the shit that's going on but it's entertaining as hell. And educational. Not educational as hell. That wouldn't make sense. I mean...well...no, actually you probably would get a pretty fantastic education in hell now that I think about it. So yeah, educational as hell.
Don't you love it when I get all stream of conscious-y?
Marat Safin: Life after sport
met us three weeks after ending his tennis career at his Moscow home.
Safin bought it few years ago, now after the end of the tennis race, he
has time to sort out the things and take care of the surroundings. This
job is a pleasure for Marat – it is obvious that he had dreamed about
taking care of his home more than once, while being for yet another
time at the airport or checking-out of yet another hotel. Art books,
memorable photographs, massive furniture, modern equipment, but what
you will not see in Marat Safin's home is his combat trophies and
on-court pictures. "Why do I need them? I do not collect them",
carelessly answers. We go upstairs, from where could be seen stunning
view to old Moscow. The nice host offers us tea. As addition to the
tea, there is honey from Luzhkov apiary in wooden barrel, given to him
personally from the mayor. Marat is proudly showing off the painted
thing: "This is real stuff, not just for decoration. It is bought from
the fabric, not from some souvenir shop." Well, yes, all his things are
real. Just like he himself.
For almost a month you are a free person. How do you feel?
I still haven't realized that I finished my tennis career. When you do one and the same thing for 25 years, it is not so easy to adjust. Usually at that time I would be in Spain, and now I do not need to hurry anywhere. It is so good that I could have normal breakfast, instead of run over my head for practice.
But the city of Moscow is not a place that prepossesses for relax...
If I didn't do anything, probably I would choose warmer place for living. But I am patriot for my city, my country, I have many friends here, acquaintances, things to do. I need to move ahead, grow somewhere, spend my time on something useful.
Do you plan to study somewhere?
To achieve certain growth, studying is needed. But at first it is needed to settle everyday life, after that choose a job, and after that go studying. What is the point of studying something, if it cannot work out later?
You were nominated in the Olympics Committee,
but at the last moment you withdrew – did you get scared that the job
could be boring?
Probably I''ll tell you a secret now, but being on court is not that much fun either. I decided to run for VP too early, now I am in Board of Support to the OCR. Sport is my life, I have spent 25 years in it. I know everything about it, I talk to the people in one language. Moreover I consider my duty to return to sport the things it gave me. I know what should be done so that people would take more care about their health, instead of other things.
And what should be done?
Some time ago I was the opening of a modern sport recreational complex in Nizhegorod County. Valeriy Shantzhev loves sport very much and that's why in this county there is big plan – 13 out of 42 such complexes are already built. In our country there are very few such multifunctional centers with basketball court, mini football, hockey, volleyball, courts and pools – everything one could desire. This is the most simple thing that could be done to take people out of the street.
Your sister Dinara mentioned that after career end she dreams to open a beauty salon. Do you have any plans "for the soul"?
For men this topic is different – one cannot open something for the soul. If a man is doing something, it should bring profit. I have some ideas, but it is too early to discuss them, because they need a lot of effort to be done.
How do you see yourself better – as a manager or executive type?
It is difficult to become a manager right away – there is no experience, no sufficient knowledge. That's why I will work as executive for a while, learn all the inside information, and after that I hope, I will be able to be a manager. I don't think that it is so tough.
Your mama said that you started playing tennis without any effort – you just took the racket and that was it. Is that true?
I wanted to be a football player, My mom worked as tennis trainer. There was no one to babysit me, so I was on the court all the time. In childhood years I didn't like tennis. I was playing not bad at all and at the age of 14 I went in Spain. It was impossible to train in Russia – there were no sport halls, I couldn't buy myself rackets or balls. I was very lucky, because I found a sponsor. The person gave money and said "Play". It would be stupid not to use the opportunity.
Probably it wasn't easy to be 14-year old in a foreign country?
At the beginning I lived in a family, and when I earned my first money I rented a flat. There were no mom-dad next to me. But I knew that I need discipline, since this is my only chance to succeed. At first I didn't speak English or Spanish. Evenings I would go to language school to study with adults. Back then I would live with $ 60 a month.
Was that a stressful situation for you?
It was normal, I was economical to everything. It was good that in Valencia it was cheap. My friends spent most on coca-cola, chips, chocolate. I didn't have such temptations, since I am used to right nutrition from childhood years, and I just don't like those things. I had the opportunity to travel. We, as normal European kids our age, traveled and vacationed in Italy, in France. I was lucky about the people too – around me there was very warm atmosphere. In Spain people take pleasure of life, and they do not need much to do it – a place to love, a car, a job, and to vacation. They have half thousand festivities per year and they sleep one hour during the day – siesta! They gather, talk about football, relationships and everything else. And in Moscow, if you go to any cafeteria people around talk about business. What is that for a life?
Do you need a lot to be happy?
Three things: pay the utilities, tank up the car and simple food. I live alone, I don't buy stuff, I don't go to fancy restaurants. I don't even remember those places. In Moscow there are good and not expensive restaurants, where people know me and I feel comfortable there.
You have a stunning view from the window, warm home, so you do value the comfort?
In order to live comfortably, one need to see the goal and know, whether they are ready to go for it. For a start, one need to honestly confess to themselves, what do they want and early on give up on excuses like "this is bothering me", "this will not happen". If there is a goal, than half of the work is already done. Everything I have planned at the start of my career, I made it happen. But this is enormous amount of work and big sacrifices.
Can you remember the brightest
moments of your career? Maybe in 1998, when you were named the most
promising athlete, or in 2000, when you won US Open and became Nr. 1 in
Life consists of different stages. The tennis career does too. In 98 I, more or less, started playing. In 2000 I somewhat played better... Time passes, and in every stage of the career there is values appreciation. A win in every stage is different in its own way – it is impossible to compare them. I do not have that many wins anyway – all in all 15. They are all dear to me.
They were also opposite situations, like in AO 2002 final, when you couldn't win versus Johansson and said that your nerve system is exhausted..
Well, imagine that you play constantly and once a week you lose to someone. You built up on a habit, but still you cannot stay indifferent to loses. I, of course, never lose face – didn't cry, didn't lock myself in the locker room. One should prepare themselves for loses constructively. If the upward movement doesn't work, means that you reached your peak and you need to search for reasons for the slip.
On court you are very emotional, you are still reminded about RG 2004, when after winning a point against Fellix Mantille (spelling?) you dropped your pants. And of course, all the broken rackets. Do you have these burning passions on court only, or you are impulsive person also in life?
In life I am much calmer. But if someone pisses me off, I could lose it. I dislike stupidity and lack of tact in people. It kills me, when something has to be explained, and discussed over and over. Erudition is cool, but if you do not have sharpness, you do not stand a thing. In order to comprehend quick, one needs a street tempering. A mixture of life experience and knowledge is the optimal balance for a businessman in Moscow.
Where do you have street tempering from? From nice Valencia?
But we grew up on the street! Nowadays kids stay at home, play videogames and chat, and during the 80s there were no cell phones, no internet, the color TV were just entering the market. I spent my childhood in the yard. So I will not lose myself. I will find an exit in every situation. In addition, tennis strengthens one's character very much. You go on court by yourself. This is not hockey, where a crowd is skating and you could hide behind the other.
What role did Peter Lundgren play in your destiny, he also worked with Roger Federer?
There are very few such professionals. It is pity I met him so late. A kid is possible to be guided, but at the age of 24 a certain style is already at place, there are habits – how do you like training, how to play, and it is difficult to break this style. My character is not so sweet, and I understood a lot, but couldn't do it – stubbornness is genetic, all questions should be directed to the parents.
Many of your colleagues confess that they envy you, because even when you are losing, the audience supported you.
I just played longer than them. Davydenko, for example, started in 2001. I was already veteran in the professional tennis.
Is it natural for you to envy?
There is always someone who have things working out for them better. It is stupid to wish to have the fanciest watch, when you just had your first own money, after all the time is the same on all watches. I take a hat off to Roman Abramovich, who is wearing a simple, comfortable watch that show his blood pressure and pulse.
After Davydenko's wedding you said that you will get married in four years, when you finish your career...
The fourth year just started. The deadline is still not passed.
Did you mature for serious relationships?
It is difficult to tell, and I do not mean a specific person. I wouldn't search a wife by an ad.
What was not enough for you in the girls, that you dated?
With some I split, because we were young, with others, because we were different. But almost anyone whom I had even little thing with, I split amicably.
Were girls often jealous to you, and did you get jealous yourself?
Everyone, who has loved, has been jealous, since it is impossible to be indifferent to the person. This is normal, so unfortunately, yes.
Your parents are already 60, and probably they ask you for grandchildren?
Of course, they want. Everything should happen naturally. Sometimes, when you go to a restaurant, you see a couple: they came, sat against each other and just sit. It is obvious that there is nothing between them anymore. Who needs that? Marriage should bring joy. I wish that I would feel comfortable with the person, so that she is independent personality with her own goals, tasks, and view to life. The main thing is not to want to break away from her. Just to sit and watch, and not to aim at filling the pauses. So that we could laugh – this is very rare, though. The possibility of taking someone on my back and drag her, does not interest me.
It seems that you have a clear vision of what you want.
Usually it happens not in the way you desired it to. I am fine with any scenario. The sweetness of adventures is in unpredictability. Life is a great thing, it's new meetings, feelings, changes. I do not fear anything, and everything interests me. I could travel, be friends, visit as a guest. What more could I wish for? The fact that we could sit, watch, speak and normally cross the street – that is already happiness! One should value, what one has.
This way speak people, who survived crashes. Where did you get those thoughts from?
Many people do not understand that what they have in life is ...(pffff) great! Nature gave him everything they need. And they whine, because they weren't given money, job and a vacation card. What can you tell to them? Well, excuse me, but move on! I had pain in the eye situations, like anyone else, but I didn't feel down, I fought.
Like the time, when you went to the mountains?
Few years ago I got tired and started over-burning. Friends gathered for an expedition to Himalaya, and I asked to go with them. Six-seven hours flight and you are in a completely different world. We went for the 6th highest mountain top in the world. I started thinking through situation that I had, and I realized that 70 % of it is mice fuss and for the rest 30 % I need to take decisions. Of course, my life could be viewed as a fairy tale – championships, parties, press conferences. But all in all it is the same groundhog day as in any other person, only the trajectories are different. Other people have "home-traffic jam-office-store-home", and I have "airport-hotel-court-hotel-airport". You start going crazy from lack of emotions. From time to time one needs to do nothing; just sit, eat, relax, understand that everything will happen by itself.
Don't you plan to write memoirs like Andre Agassi and Monica Seles?
In order to write a book, one has to be a person of much bigger scale. You think of it, you played nice tennis. And what could I write about? I didn't have such life. To top that, memoirs should be written "under a curtain".
On January 27 you will be 30. How do you plan to celebrate it?
All those official celebrations are a very sad thing. Everyone is trying to make an even prettier toast. Someone gives the 25th cuff-links that roll around without purpose. Someone would think how to "rule" telling stupid stories. Instead of relaxing, I would be teasing myself who to put to sit next to whom, so that no one gets insulted. And all that for my own money! I do not judge anyone, everyone is free to do what they want, but I don't want such thing. I will be fine without cuff-links. It would be nice to gather my friends, have a laugh, have a drink – just nicely sit. I am great, I have everything, wish me health, and I wouldn't need anything else.