I don't care about losses anymore: Safin
Former champion Marat Safin's grand slam career came to an end when he punched a backhand into the net to end a two-hour, 13-minute match, going down to Austrian Juergen Melzer in a first-round encounter on Wednesday. The well-built Russian bid farewell to the US Open with a 1-6, 6-4, 6-3, 6-4, defeat by Melzer under sunny skies at Louis Armstrong Stadium.
"It's okay, it's the end," Safin assured reporters after the match. "The last one. Could have been better ending but still okay. No regrets. I don't care about losses anymore."
The 29-year-old Russian, who won the 2000 US Open and was once the world's top-ranked player, had already announced plans to retire at the end of the year.
Image: Marat Safin
'It was a great 12 years of my career'
Safin, who will play five more tournaments said, "It's just enough. I achieved what I want to achieve and I want to continue doing something else.
"I definitely I want to get out of the tennis scene and try something completely different. I have plenty of time to think about it. It's been a long ride, so I need some time off.
"It's enough. It was a great 12 years of my career. I've been around for a long time."
Image: Marat Safin
'Safin lives his emotions'
Safin combined grace and skill on the court with a fiery temperament that many people believe cost him several more Grand Slam trophies.
"He won two grand slams, you have to appreciate that," said the 38th-ranked Melzer. "Of course he had the talent to probably win five or six.
"But that's how Marat plays and that's how he lives his life. He lives his emotions. On one hand, that's why he was so good. I hope he's happy with his career. I know I would be."
Image: Temperamental Safin's show of discontent with the chair umpires and with himself are well documented
'I didn't believe I could win a slam final'
Safin, who also won the Australian Open in 2005, routed Pete Sampras in straight sets to win the US Open nearly a decade ago. The 1.93 metre tall Russian said he was as surprised as anyone to claim the title. "The match was just a miracle for me," he recalled. "I didn't expect anything from this year, because I started (ranked) 25. I dropped to 45.
"Then in three months I was number one in the world. I beat Sampras, and I really didn't believe I could get anywhere close to the final of a grand slam.
"It was difficult because I was also 20 years old. I wasn't ready for this."
Image: Marat Safin clinched the Australian Open title in 2005