Safin’s comments behind Safina’s success (Australian Open diary)

January 30th, 2009 - 11:30 pm ICT by IANS  

Melbourne, Jan 30 (IANS) It was her famous brother Marat Safin’s public comments on her which motivated World No. 3 Dinara Safina to give her best in tennis.Now just a match away from emulating her brother’s 2005 Australian Open win and the No.1 crown, Safina admits she owes a lot to her brother, a former No.1 player.

Safin fuelled Safina’s motivation when he declared to the world during the 2005 Open that his sister was throwing her career away.

“She needs to have a character and she needs to be a little bit grown-up woman,” he said after her meek second-round loss to Amelie Mauresmo.

“Of course, she is little bit young…she has big future in front of her.,” the big brother then said.

“But, I’m sorry, if you don’t really understand yourself what’s going on, it’s little bit difficult for somebody to fix it and explain it. Nobody is going to tell her what to do; she has to decide for herself. It’s my duty to help her, but if she doesn’t want to listen…”

Safina was less than impressed, but has long since forgiven Safin.

“He didn’t know what was going through my mind because I didn’t talk to him too much,” she said. “He’s not really the guy who has enough patience for this, to have a woman’s talk, you know.”

“So sometimes it’s tough to explain what I have been going through. It was a little bit rough that he said at that time.”

The two now have a strong bond, even though Safin’s only contact with Safina since her semi-final victory over Vera Zvonareva was a brief text message saying “well done”.

Heatwaves take a toll on wheelchair players

The heatwave here caused more problems for the wheelchair players at Rod Laver Arena besides taking a toll on the leading players at the Australian Open.

Some of the top wheelchair players ended up having burns and blisters from red-hot metal rims and rubber tyres as temperatures have regularly reached 43 degrees Celsius.

For the third consecutive day, disabled players have been going through the motions on outdoor courts until play is halted, unable to benefit from the closed roof of the Rod Laver Arena.

Australia’s former world No. 1 Daniela Di Toro said the molten metal burnt her skin. She added her fingers could rest on the wheelchair’s aluminium rim for only a fraction of a second. Even the tyres are too hot to handle more than momentarily.

Melbourne is in the grip of its worst heatwave in a century, with the scorching temperatures causing train tracks to buckle and power grids to crash.

Fernando’s magic mountain

The secret of Spaniard Fernando Verdasco’s vastly improved performance has been revealed.

There is a torturous uphill stretch of bitumen in Las Vegas that is earning a reputation as an ideal training ground for Australian Open contenders.

It was the secret behind the spring in the legs of four-time Australian champion Andre Agassi.

Now ‘Magic Mountain’ has helped transform Fernando Verdasco from a player who once showed his best form in nightclubs into a serious Grand Slam title contender.

While much of it was spent practising following his pivotal role in Spain’s Davis Cup success over Argentina, it is a safe bet Verdasco was also put through some muscle-burning paces up the testing 290m route.

Where once Verdasco’s legs burned up the dance floor, they are now pushing him to more balls than ever before, with the Spaniard’s improved court coverage a major reason for his five-set win over Andy Murray and quarter-final victory over Jo-Wilfried Tsonga Wednesday.

“Some players, they don’t … want to do it, but me, because I don’t have a coach, you know, I decided to go there,” Verdasco said.

“It is also because Agassi was my idol when I was young that I decided that it was, for sure, a good experience.

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