Safin Broke How Many Racquets?!

Kafelnikov and Safin discuss their careers and the current Russian stars on Tennis United

Marat Safin was one of the most talented players of his generation. On his best day, the Russian was able to hit through anyone standing across the net.

But the former World No. 1 was also known to get upset with himself from time to time and was no stranger to breaking his racquet. On a recent episode of Tennis United, Safin, who laughed about it, revealed that he knew exactly how many racquets he broke.

“I got a snowboard from Head and they wrote it there: 1,055,” Safin said, leaving host Vasek Pospisil and his countryman Yevgeny Kafelnikov in laughter. “They counted each one of them!”

Safin wasn’t the only one, though. He remembers heading into the Barcelona crowd to watch Kafelnikov, another former World No. 1, play a doubles match with Daniel Vacek, with whom the Russian won three Grand Slam titles.

“Vacek serves a double fault. Yevgeny is getting pissed slowly,” Safin recalled. “Vacek makes a second double fault and Yevgeny breaks his racquet!”

While both men laugh recalling those moments, they will be remembered for their results and raising the level of Russian tennis.

"When I became a Top 10 player, Marat was six years younger than me and he wanted to catch up to me, so we had healthy competition between each other and one was driven by another," Kafelnikov said. "We've got three guys who are in the Top 20 [now] and all three are competing with each other. That's the reason why tennis in Russia is very successful at the moment."

Daniil Medvedev, Andrey Rublev and Karen Khachanov are all inside the Top 15 of the FedEx ATP Rankings. The Russians have all played the Next Gen ATP Finals and they are now proving they can compete against the best players in the world.

“It’s a healthy competition because they are still friends. They go out for dinner together,” Safin said. “They are very nice guys, which is good. They are ready to learn, which is also good.”

Kafelnikov and Safin’s Favourite Memories
Kafelnikov: “Winning the Slams and reaching No. 1 in the world was the pinnacle of my career. They all mean a lot for me.”

Safin: “One is obviously the US Open. The second one is beating Federer in the semi-finals of the Australian Open and then winning Australia. The first one was unexpected and the second one was the workable one. I had a few attempts and it didn’t work for me… Finally, I managed it.”