Marat Safin bid farewell to his adoring Chinese fans after defeat at the Shanghai Masters on Wednesday but not before taking a swipe at his opponent Tomas Berdych and American Andy Roddick.
The big Russian, who is retiring after next month’s Paris Masters, suggested Berdych had feigned injury during his 3-6, 6-4, 6-4 win and said the Czech needed to “grow up”.
Then he rounded on Roddick and other players who have complained about the length of the season, saying he had suggested it should be made shorter in 2004 but had been shouted down.
The 29-year-old refused to shake Berdych’s hand after the match because his opponent called on the trainer to treat his knee in their second-round.
“Just come on; just grow up a little bit; 26 years old; just deal with that,” he said. “If you’re losing, just be a man; be a man and lose as a man.
“Don’t pretend that you are injured and then you start running around and start to hit winners and then all of a sudden you pull the hands up in the air after winning the match?
“So then of course the guy will say: ‘No, I’ve been injured but then I felt a little bit better’.
“Of course he will find 10,000 excuses. Still, it’s not enough. You’re playing or you’re not playing. If you’re playing, so just shut...up and play.”
Roddick called on the ATP to reduce the length of the season or risk shortening the careers of players such as Roger Federer and Andy Murray.
“In 2004 we had this discussion in Olympic Games with Roddick about it and they were blaming me that I’m playing too much,” said the former world number one Safin.
“And I was saying that the season is too long. We should make it shorter. And the guys, they jumped on me, like I was the one who was wrong.
“So look at all of them —everybody is falling apart. Everybody is getting injured left and right, and everybody is complaining the season is long. It takes six years to realise that something is wrong?
“They just have to deal with that, not when they are 21 and ambitious and want to make money. They have to think a little bit with their brains and to make the career a little bit longer.”