Bye bye Safin
Image courtesy: China Daily
That image is of Federer congratulating Marat Safin after the Safin beat him and then went on to win the 2005 Australian Open. I remember watching that match. It was Safin’s maverick tennis against Federer’s polished, unmatched talent. I was expecting an upset and on the TV, Vijay Amritraj was rooting for Federer as if he were his son. Federer was the favourite, no doubt about that. And Safin was the only one who could pull off the upset and he did not disappoint. He remains one of the very few apart from Nadal to have beaten Federer – as if that were a qualification. Safin did not win another Grand Slam after that. On several occasions when he looked like he was getting back to his best, he’d just throw it all away, screaming in frustration and throwing his racket on to the ground. But that’s the way he played. Talented but couldn’t care less about the world.
Four years down the line, Federer beat him in straight sets and sent him crashing out of the same tournament.This year will be his last in professional Tennis, and this is what he had to say after the match:
“I don’t like this bye-bye part,” he said. “It’s just a sad story. It’s not for me. I prefer to leave this way, quietly, nice, with a great match.”
News sites are screaming their bandwidths out calling it Federer’s revenge. Little do they know what they’ll miss in years to come.
There might be someone who out there who would fill Federer’s shoes when the fellow retires. But there’s no one who can fill the void left by Safin’s exit. Hats off to the maverick!