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Friday, 27 October, 2000, 14:30 GMT 15:30 UK
Safin: I almost quit tennis
Marat Safin
Safin was suffering earlier in the season
US Open champion Marat Safin has admitted that he was close to quitting tennis six months ago before a change in fortunes.

The Russian had struggled earlier in the season and had changed coach four times in the space of a year.

"At the time I felt like giving up for good," said Safin.

"Believe me, when you lose match after match to even some unknown guys on the Tour you want to quit this game."

The 20-year-old began the season by ending ties with his first coach Spaniard Rafael Mensua, having struggled in the first four months of the season with a 5-11 record.


Safin then suffered the ignominy of being fined Aus$2,000 last January by organisers at the Australian Open because he appeared not to have tried hard enough during his first round loss to South African Grant Stafford.

It wasn't anything personal that I went from one guy to another
  Marat Safin

The Russian then found success under new coach Andrei Chesnokov who helped him to his first title in Barcelona last April and then another in Mallorca a week later.

Safin then broke off his relationship with the Russian coach and employed Britian's Tony Pickard who helped him train on grass in preparation for Wimbledon.

The 20-year-old followed that up by asking former Russian champion Alexander Volkov for his help before and during the US Open, in an fixture which was only short term.


"Our agreement with Volkov was similar to the one with Chesnokov - win or lose Alexander would coach me only during the U.S. Open, because he has other jobs as well, like being the director of the men's Kremlin Cup," Safin said.

"Every person I worked with this season gave me valuable pointers. It wasn't anything personal that I went from one guy to another. It just happened that way."

Safin is now prepared to recall the services of Mensua to help him win the ATP Championship.

"We know each other so well," said the Russian. "Next to my parents, Rafael is the closest person to me, so it was only natural that I came back to him."

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