Safina still playing in her big brother’s shadow

March 16th, 2009 - 1:44 pm ICT by IANS  

Serena Williams Indian Wells (California), March 16 (DPA) Marat Safin may be set to retire at the end of the season. But until he does, the two-time Grand Slam champion will continue to steal the limelight from fast-rising sister Dinara.
The Moscow woman advanced at the Indian Wells Masters Sunday, 7-5 6-4 over China’s Peng Shuai. But despite the fact that the 22-year-old could take over the No.1 ranking with a solid performance next week, it’s still all about Marat, 29.

“For me, he’s my big brother,” said the somewhat resigned Safina, losing finalist at both the French and Australian Opens over the past eight months. “Today one person came up to me asking me if I’m the sister for Marat.”

“I’m like, ‘yeah’. (They said) ‘are you playing tennis?’ And I look at them like, well, OK, yes, I’m also a tennis player. I’m still I think I’m known more as his sister.”

Safina said that there has never been an occasion where the name of the charismatic Marat has not come up: “There was no press conference where they would not ask about my brother.”

Safina has been within a sniff of the top ranking - currently held by the absent Serena Williams - before. But the honour has been hard to grasp for a handful of contender since the retirement of Justine Henin last May.

“If I deserve to be there, I’ll get there,” said Safina. “It doesn’t matter (if it’s) this tournament or next tournament or during the year.”

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