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.

Voices
On the last day of campaigning before the polling booths open, the SNP leader has written to voters in a final attempt to convince them to vote for independence
voicesIs a huge gamble on oil keeping the First Minister up at night?
Sport
A 'Sir Alex Feguson' tattoo
football

Arts and Entertainment
Liam Neeson said he wouldn't
tv

Liam Neeson's Downton dreams

Voices
voicesApple continually kill off smaller app developers, and that's no good for anyone
PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
Ben Whishaw is replacing Colin Firth as the voice of Paddington Bear
tv

Thriller is set in the secret world of British espionage

Life and Style
life

News
ScienceGallery: Otherwise known as 'the best damn photos of space you'll see till 2015'
Travel
travelWhy Japan's love hotels are thriving through an economic downturn
Life and Style
fashion

Bomber jacket worn by Mary Berry sells out within an hour

Life and Style
Alexander McQueen A/W 2014
fashionPolitics aside, tartan is on-trend again this season
Arts and Entertainment
Rapper Jay Z performs on the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury in 2008
musicSinger sued over use of the single-syllable sample in 'Run This Town'
Sport
Joel jumps over the board...and into a giant hole
footballFrom joy to despair in a matter of seconds
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Pointless host Alexander Armstrong will voice Danger Mouse on CBBC
tv

Much-loved cartoon character returns - without Sir David Jason

Arts and Entertainment
Meera Syal was a member of the team that created Goodness Gracious Me
tv

Actress to appear in second series of the hugely popular crime drama

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.

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week