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Thursday, 13 December, 2001, 11:27 GMT
Marat Safin
Marat Safin
Safin won the US Open title in 2000
Date of birth: 27/01/1980
Nationality: Russian
Grand slams: US Open 2000

One of tennis' brightest young stars, Marat Safin has it all - talent, power, flair, and a slightly suspect temperament.

The leader of the ATP's 'New balls please' campaign came of age when he destroyed Pete Sampras to take the US Open title in 2000.

He then brought a crate of chilled vodka with him to the news conference following his win.

Safin won seven titles during the year - more than any other player - finishing the year ranked second in the world.

But 2001 was a disappointment for Safin, who struggled with injury and slipped down the rankings.

And after a good start to 2002, which included a runners-up spot at the Australian Open and a semi-final at the French Open, his form tailed off.

Early exits at Wimbledon and the US Open followed and despite an all-round game that could make him a dominant force, questions remain over his desire and commitment.

Safin was hot favourite to win the Australian Open final in January but was beaten in four sets by 16th seed Thomas Johansson.

And he made 78 unforced errors as he slipped to defeat against Juan Carlos Ferrero in the semi-finals of the French Open.

At Wimbledon, he crashed out in the second round to 5ft 5ins Belgian Olivier Rochus and at the US Open to a resurgent Gustavo Kuerten.

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