With the expected focus on Murray and, to some extent Roddick, it was easy to lose sight that the ending of an era was taking place on the far reaches of Court 18 when everyone’s favorite “mad man” Marat Safin lost to American qualifier Jesse Levine. 6-2, 3-6, 7-6 (7-4), 6-4.
As this is Safin’s final year on tour, some hoped that he would find the form that took him to Number One early on in his career and helped him win a U.S. Open and Australian Open. But so far in the Slams this year, his performances have been lackluster.
Safin’s place in the Hall of Fame is assured, but you can’t help but wonder what might have been. Sure there were injuries and his own mental demons, but many, myself included, thought he might engineer a comeback ala Andre Agassi during his long comeback. With Safin, you never knew if he was going to win every match or lose first round like he did today. That was part of the mystique. And part of the agony.
Svetlana Kusnetsova credits Safin with helping her regain her confidence to help her win the French last month. Perhaps coaching is in Safin’s future. Until then, we have to wait until Flushing Meadows in the fall to see if Safin can resurrect himself one more time.