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Author`s name Alex Naumov

Safin to stop playing professional tennis after loss in the French Open

Marat Safin's not quite sure how much longer he wants to play professional tennis.

"I'm 27 years old and already downhill on my career," the two-time Grand Slam champion said Wednesday after his second-round loss in the French Open.

"If it doesn't really click, and it doesn't make any radical changes, and nothing comes up, then we'll see. It would be sad to live with being a struggling player."

Janko Tipsarevic of Serbia beat the 22nd-seeded Safin 6-4, 6-4, 7-5

"For him, tennis is like a toy," said Tipsarevic, ranked 80th. "When it's interesting for him, no one in the world can beat him. But then when it's not interesting, he just doesn't show his talent."

Safin dominated the first half of the first set, but his lead melted away as he started sending the ball into the net.

"Nothing came together," he said. "It didn't click."

The Russian looked set to come back in the second set, when he hit a spectacular shot. During a long rally, Safin dashed to the net, dived to hit a winner and rolled across the court. He was covered in clay, a deep orange stain blooming across the back of his electric green and blue shirt. The effort and execution were so impressive, Tipsarevic took the time to applaud.

But the magic didn't last. Safin won that game but lost the following three.

He looked subdued, even despondent, most of the match, and his trademark bad-boy antics looked forced. Safin threw down his racket several times -- but never hard -- and once kicked the ball into the stands. But mostly he just threw up his hands in apparent exasperation and muttered softly to himself in Russian, the AP reports.

Safin battled back up the rankings last year after a knee injury had prevented him defending his 2005 Australian Open title and he came here as the world number 25.

Against the tricky Tipsarevic, however, he struggled for rhythm and became increasingly frustrated as he fell two sets behind to the 22-year-old.

Safin, 27, looked set to mount a comeback when he carved out two break points at 4-4 in the third set but sent a tame volley into the net on the first with an open court gaping and was passed by an angled backhand on the second.

Tipsarevic earned two match points with a clever drop shot with Safin serving at 5-6 and pounced with an unreturnable backhand down the line to clinch just his second appearance in the third round of a major.

Safin did offer some hope for his fans, Reuters reports.

"Of course I want to play tennis, and it would be a sad situation to leave with being a struggling player," he said.

"Maybe I don't want to play anymore next year, maybe in two years. I don't really know. Really, of course I wish to continue being not 24 in the world, being a little bit closer to the top 10."

Source: agencies

Prepared by Alexander Timoshik

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