Safin vows never to return after first-round defeat

Boris Yeltsin dropped in yesterday to watch two of his Russian compatriots compete against each other on Court Two. The former Russian President is a tennis nut, and would enjoy nothing more than to be invited to hit on the Wimbledon lawns. Which is more than can be said for Marat Safin, the former world No 1.

Boris Yeltsin dropped in yesterday to watch two of his Russian compatriots compete against each other on Court Two. The former Russian President is a tennis nut, and would enjoy nothing more than to be invited to hit on the Wimbledon lawns. Which is more than can be said for Marat Safin, the former world No 1.

After losing to the unseeded Dmitri Tursunov, 4-6, 7-5, 6-3, 7-6, Safin, the 19th seed, unloaded his most telling shots in a self-pitying tirade against grass courts.

"I give up on Wimbledon," Safin said. "It's definitely not the tournament for me. I don't like to play on this surface, it's like a nightmare for me."

Safin is the player who once blew away the great Pete Sampras, seven times a Wimbledon champion, in the US Open final on the concrete court of Flushing Meadows, New York. He also advanced to the Australian Open final on the rubberised concrete courts of Melbourne last January.

The 24-year-old Muscovite, who is based in Monte Carlo, was a Wimbledon quarter-finalist in 2001, but yesterday he talked as if he had never won a match on the world's most celebrated grass courts.

"I can't move," he moaned. "I don't know how [the ball] is going to bounce. After a while I get bored. I lose motivation and give up. I hate it. I try to be serious. I came here one week before [the tournament] and I was practising quite a lot. I didn't go out last night, and I didn't have fun. I was trying to give myself another chance. But I think it's the last one.

"I was prepared for Paris. I was playing good. Unfortunately, I couldn't finish [because of blistered hands]."

Safin is coached by Peter Lundgren, of Sweden, who helped guide Roger Federer to the Wimbledon title last year. "But what can he do [for me] about Wimbledon?" Safin said, as if he were a lost cause in SW19. "He's trying to give me a little bit of motivation, be a little but positive. But the results are not coming yet. I don't want to speak about this tournament. It's not my territory.

"I love tennis. I just don't like grass. I think things are going to be much better in the second part of the year." Yeltsin was at least able to admire the determined Tursunov, another Muscovite, who lives in California.

Mark Philippoussis enjoyed a better start to his Wimbledon campaign with a 6-3, 6-4, 6-2 victory over Christophe Rochus and the Australian admits he enjoys the role of underdog. Therunner-up last year has not won on the ATP tour since January.

"Not many people are talking me up as a serious contender and that's perfect with me. I love that," Philippoussis said.

Sport
Club legend Paul Scholes is scared United could disappear into 'the wilderness'
football
News
A model of a Neanderthal man on display at the National Museum of Prehistory in Dordogne, France
science
News
Dawkins: 'There’s a very interesting reason why a prince could not turn into a frog – it's statistically too improbable'
newsThat's Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome
Arts and Entertainment
Eye of the beholder? 'Concrete lasagne' Preston bus station
architectureWhich monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?
PROMOTED VIDEO
Travel
Dinosaurs Unleashed at the Eden Project
travel
Arts and Entertainment
music
Sport
football
Life and Style
This month marks the 20th anniversary of the first online sale
techDespite a host of other online auction sites and fierce competition from Amazon, eBay is still the most popular e-commerce site in the UK
News
i100
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape
eBay's enduring appeal: Online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce retailer

eBay's enduring appeal

The online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce site
Culture Minister Ed Vaizey: ‘lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird’

'Lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird'

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey calls for immediate action to address the problem
Artist Olafur Eliasson's latest large-scale works are inspired by the paintings of JMW Turner

Magic circles: Artist Olafur Eliasson

Eliasson's works will go alongside a new exhibition of JMW Turner at Tate Britain. He tells Jay Merrick why the paintings of his hero are ripe for reinvention
Josephine Dickinson: 'A cochlear implant helped me to discover a new world of sound'

Josephine Dickinson: 'How I discovered a new world of sound'

After going deaf as a child, musician and poet Josephine Dickinson made do with a hearing aid for five decades. Then she had a cochlear implant - and everything changed
Greggs Google fail: Was the bakery's response to its logo mishap a stroke of marketing genius?

Greggs gives lesson in crisis management

After a mishap with their logo, high street staple Greggs went viral this week. But, as Simon Usborne discovers, their social media response was anything but half baked
Matthew McConaughey has been singing the praises of bumbags (shame he doesn't know how to wear one)

Matthew McConaughey sings the praises of bumbags

Shame he doesn't know how to wear one. Harriet Walker explains the dos and don'ts of fanny packs
7 best quadcopters and drones

Flying fun: 7 best quadcopters and drones

From state of the art devices with stabilised cameras to mini gadgets that can soar around the home, we take some flying objects for a spin
Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

The midfielder returned to the Premier League after two years last weekend. The controversial character had much to discuss after his first game back
Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

British No 1 knows his consistency as well as his fitness needs working on as he prepares for the US Open after a ‘very, very up and down’ year
Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

A descent into madness in America's heartlands

David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home