Birth date: January 27, 1980
|Place of Birth:
SINGLES CAREER TITLES (16):
Grand Slam (2):
Australian Open 2005
US Open 2000
Master Series (5):
Paris 2000, 2002, 2004
International Series (7):
St. Petersburg 2000, 2001
Tashkent 2000, 2001
International Series Gold (1):
Davis Cup 2002
DOUBLES CAREER TITLES (1):
International Series (1):
1997- Moved more than 200 ranking positions with an 11-5 match record in Challenger play.
1998- Finished in Top 50 with first ATP SF in Long Island . Qualified and reached 4th RD at Roland Garros and US Open.
1999- Won his first ATP title in Boston (d. Rusedski), dropping one set in five matches. One of three teenagers (Ferrero, Hewitt) to win an ATP title during year. Helped Russia to Davis Cup SF by winning fifth and decisive matches in 1st RD (d. Kiefer) and QF (d. Hrbaty in five sets) ties. Went 4-2 in five-set matches during season. During clay court circuit, advanced to 4th RD at Roland Garros for second straight year and in August, made it to SF in Amsterdam. During European indoor circuit in November, reached his first AMS final in Paris with wins over No. 5 Kuerten (2nd), Courier (QF) and Chang (SF) before losing to Agassi in four sets.
2000- Led ATP with seven titles and at time he became youngest player to finish No. 2 since 19-year-old Boris Becker in 1986. Also became first player under age of 21 to win at least seven titles in a season since Mats Wilander won nine in 1983. He led ATP in singles matches won (73), finals reached (9) and was second in singles matches played (100), one behind countryman Kafelnikov. Entered his first Tennis Masters Cup in Lisbon with a 75-point lead in ATP Champions Race over Kuerten and was twice within one victory of becoming youngest year-end No. 1. Finished 15 points behind Kuerten for year-end No. 1 ranking. During year, only player to win two ATP Masters Series titles and second in AMS matches won (21) behind Kuerten's 25. After a disappointing 5-11 start in the first four-and-a-half months of the season, he turned things around with back-to-back titles in Barcelona (d. Ferrero) and Mallorca (d. Tillstrom) under former Top 10 Andrei Chesnokov as coach. Continued his clay court success by winning three matches in leading Russia to its first final in the ATP World Team Championship in Dusseldorf (l. to Slovak Republic). Advanced to his first Grand Slam QF at Roland Garros. Compiled a 24-4 record under Chesnokov. During the grass court circuit he worked with former Stefan Edberg mentor Tony Pickard. During North American summer hard court circuit, under guidance of former pro Alexander Volkov, he compiled a 12-2 record with his first AMS title in Toronto (d. Levy) and a runner-up in Indianapolis (l. to Kuerten). Won first career Grand Slam at US Open, defeating Ferrero (4th RD), Kiefer (QF), 1999 finalist Todd Martin (SF) and the game's all-time Grand Slam titles leader Sampras (F). It was Sampras' first straight-sets loss in a Slam final and he had won eight consecutive Slam finals he appeared in since 1995. The following week he made the long journey to Tashkent and only dropped one set in five matches (d. Sanguinetti in F). He became first player to win an ATP title the following week of a Grand Slam title since Ivan Lendl in 1985. Compiled a 21-6 match record after Open and entered Tennis Masters Cup with a 10-match winning streak. Led ATP with 32 tie-break sets won (32-20) and had a 23-3 match record winning a breaker. Led ATP in aces (921). Earned a career-high $3,524,959.
2001- Played well in final two months by repeating ATP titles in Tashkent (d. Kafelnikov) and St. Petersburg (d. Schuettler). Bothered by back problems in early part of year and opened season with a 4th RD at Australian Open. His problems began on Mar. 2 in SF of Dubai where he injured his back in SF victory over Johansson. Completed match but retired at 6-2, 3-1 next day in final against Ferrero. Helped his country to final at ATP World Team Championship in Dusseldorf (l. to Australia) .During summer hard court circuit, was bothered by tendinitis in his left knee but reached SF in Indianapolis. Returned as defending champion at US Open and fell in straight sets to Sampras in SF.
2002- Finished in Top 3 for second time in three years, highlighted by ATP Masters Series title in Paris and second career Grand Slam final at Australian Open. Had second-most match wins (22) in TMS events. Also appeared in his second Tennis Masters Cup in Shanghai and went 0-3 in round robin play (losing twice in three sets). Led his country to Davis Cup title with wins over France's Mathieu and Grosjean and won at least 50 matches for second time in his career. In first Grand Slam event in Melbourne, defeated Sampras in 4th RD, Ferreira in QF and Haas in a five-set SF before falling to Johansson in four sets on his 22nd birthday. During clay court circuit, reached final without dropping a set at AMS Hamburg before falling to Federer in final. Compiled a 22-20 mark in tie-breaks and had a 21-0 record in matches when winning tie-break. Went 21-15 on hard, 20-8 on clay and 12-2 on carpet.
2003- Finished out of Top 50 for first time since 1997. Play was limited to 13 tournaments after suffering throughout season with a left wrist injury. Began season by reaching QF in Sydney but withdrew prior to start of match against eventual champion Lee due to right shoulder injury. Returned in Melbourne and advanced to 3rd RD but withdrew prior to match against Schuettler after tearing ligaments in left wrist during 1st RD win over Sluiter.Missed another month before reaching final in Barcelona before losing to Moya in final after retiring while trailing two sets to one due to fatigue. Did not win a match rest of year (0-6). After losing in 1st RD in Valencia to Squillari, missed next three months with wrist injury.Came back in Los Angeles, but retired in first set against P. Amritraj in 1st RD with recurrence of wrist injury. Returned two months later for European indoor circuit and lost four straight 1st RD matches.
2004- The No. 1 Russian battled back from an injury-riddled 2003 season to finish in Top 4 for third time in five years. Began season as runner-up at Australian Open (l. to Federer). Played a total of 21 hours and six minutes and his 30 sets played was most in a Grand Slam in Open Era, tying Harold Solomon's mark set at Roland Garros in 1976. Jumped from 86 to No. 32 in INDESIT ATP Entry Rankings. Did not win back-to-back matches in next four tournaments until reaching final in Estoril (l. to Chela) in April. Compiled best results after US Open with 24-5 mark in his last seven tournaments, winning titles in Beijing (d. Youzhny) and ATP Masters Series Madrid (d. Agassi in SF, Nalbandian in F) and AMS Paris (d. Hewitt in QF, Cañas in SF, Stepanek in F). Won at least 45 matches for fourth time in last five years. Qualified for Tennis Masters Cup in Houston and advanced to SF after going 2-1 in round robin play. Played longest tie-break (20-18) in second set of SF against Federer in history of Masters and was only fourth time since 1973 a 38-point tie-break took place. Was 27-12 on hard, 17-6 on clay, 8-3 on carpet and 0-2 on grass. Went 24-27 in tie-breaks and 8-9 vs. Top 10 opponents. Finished No. 4 in aces (695), second serve points won (55 percent) and No. 7 in service games won (86 percent).
Greatest moments: -
Official Website: www.safinator.com
Other interesting information: Began playing tennis at age six with his father, Misha, director of a small tennis club in Moscow, and mother, Rausa Islanova, who served as her son's coach from ages 6 to 13. Has a younger sister, Dinara Safina (born Apr. 26, 1986), who won her first WTA title in 2002 and won her second in Palermo in 2003. She reached a career-high No. 29 in 2004. A fan of Spartak, Moscow soccer team and NBA star Shaquille O'Neal . Trains part of season in Valencia where he spent most of his years as a youth (from age 13-19) and works out with several Spanish players. Named ATP Newcomer of Year in 1998 and ATP Most Improved Player of Year in 2000. Has a 20-14 career Davis Cup record (12-11 in singles) in 14 ties and member of winning team in 2002. Profiled as a breakthrough performer in People Magazine's "Most Intriguing People" issue in Dec. 2000. Named "2000 Newcomer of the Year" at Laureus World Sports Awards in Monte Carlo.