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Safin thrives on Big W rebirth

sports Updated: Jul 04, 2008 00:59 IST

AFP
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Marat Safin admitted he had almost given up hope of recapturing the form that made him the world’s best player before embarking on his surprise run to the Wimbledon semifinals. The temperamental Russian, a former Australian and US Open champion, reached his lowest ebbest in the months before Wimbledon when he was forced to qualify for the Hamburg Masters claycourt tournament.

But the world number 75 has found a new lease of life at the All England Club and will face defending champion Roger Federer on Friday in his first Grand Slam semi-final since 2005. Three years after beating Federer in the Australian Open last four en route to winning the Melbourne title, former world number one Safin is finally back on centre stage.

“I started to think I lost it completely because of the way I played for past year,” Safin said.

“At the beginning of this year nothing really came up. I’ve been losing first rounds left and right. I was really desperate and I didn’t know what to do.

“If you’re not winning matches you’re dropping in the ranking. Also I lost so many matches that I was close to winning, and then just something slipped away. That’s it, the momentum is gone and you lose the confidence. You find yourself 79, 80 in the world. I was 95 even this year and I had to play qualifying in Hamburg. That was really touching the bottom."