At a press conference after his first match at the French Open, Russian Marat Safin, ranked 5th by the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP), said that at the moment he was not in the best shape. Safin won his first round match because his opponent, Argentinean Augustin Callieri, was injured.
"I am far, far away from peak form," Safin confessed. "I have to do a lot of work. I must admit that I'm missing a little bit of confidence but I know that everything will be alright soon. A certain time has to pass."
According to Safin, he got exhausted from the life of a professional tennis player. "I need a short break from tennis, I spend too much nervous energy in each match," the Russian player said. "For a long time I went from one tournament to another all year, and now I realized that I need a break. I would like to rest for five days or so, and not see a racket or a court. I want to see my friends, that is to say, to have a normal life. I am sure that will help me."
As for his performance at the French Open, Safin said that difficult opponents at each stage were much better than easy ones. "When you have to play against an easy opponent you begin to lose concentration, and can be beaten by anyone," the 24-year-old tennis player said. "And when you face a serious opponent everyday you make up your mind to spare no effort and automatically begin to play well. I hope to repeat what happened in Australia."
Safin reached the finals in this season's Grand Slam tournament, the Australian Open. He beat James Blake, Andy Roddick and Andre Agassi, but lost to Roger Federer in the finals.
Safin will face a 29-year-old Spaniard, Felix Mantilla, in the next round of the French Open.