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Safin on hellraiser claims and why Federer is the greatest of all time

Safin on hellraiser claims and why Federer is the greatest of all time
By Eurosport

21/03/2019 at 16:05Updated 21/03/2019 at 17:05

Two-time Grand Slam winner and former world number one Marat Safin has dismissed claims he was a party animal during his playing days.

"People who say it are the ones who never won anything. They are losers. I was never the No.1 in the night session," said Safin.

The former Russian Davis Cup winner won the US Open in 2000 and the Australian Open five years later, but retired in November 2009 at the age of 29 citing the stress level it took on his mental state as the reason behind his decision to quit.

"I suffered a lot because I was not fit. I had to control myself," said Safin.

Safin cites coach Ion Tiriac and Andrey Chesnokov as key influences on his career.

" I did not have self-belief at all. But they kind of challenged me and they managed to motivate me on a human level and tennis-wise."

Safin hit the champagne and vokda after stunning Pete Sampras to lift the US Open 19 years ago.

He celebrated at a disco with singer Lenny Kravitz in attendance before doing interviews the following day after only one-hour's sleep.

"I do not really manage to remember that celebration, but my family keeps telling me how unbelievable that night was," said Safin.

"Drinking a lot of alcohol makes you feel like a hero."

Roger Federer and Marat Safin, AAMI Classic, Kooyong, 2007

Roger Federer and Marat Safin, AAMI Classic, Kooyong, 2007Reuters

Safin is scathing about the current generation of players including Novak Djokovic - and believes Roger Federer is the greatest player of all time "by far".

"He (Federer) uses the slice, he serves and volleys, so he stays unpredictable. He plays with his head. Many players can think they are as good as Federer, but in the end, no opponent can equal him. He is the best player ever by far."

"If I look at Tomas Berdych, Grigor Dimitrov or Milos Raonic, everyone plays the same tennis", said Safin.

"Sometimes you even get confused because they are the same. It's boring and that's not good for the general development of the sport.

"In truth, they do not play at all, they mostly play as a robot. The motto is to always want to hit the ball as strong as possible and then you see what comes out.

"The best players like Novak Djokovic and Stan Wawrinka play in the same way. Where are the differences? For me, there aren't."