Marat Safin played his final professional match at the Paris Masters today. In a symbolic passing of the torch, the former U.S. Open champ fought hard but eventually succumbed to the reigning U.S. Open champ Juan Martin del Potro 6-4, 5-7, 6-4. He ended his 13-year career with 15 titles including 2 majors, 422-267 singles record and nine weeks as the world's top baller.
The pair shared some MOMA at the net after match point followed by a sweet gesture by Delpo: he made his way over to SexGawd's side of the ump's chair to spend some time and share some words with the new retiree.
In an emotional ceremony, the 2-time Grand Slammer was given the key to Paris from President of the French Tennis Federation (FFT) Jean Gachassin followed by a video tribute starring the likes of Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Andy Murray, Novak Djokovic and Nikolay Davydenko. A number of past and present ballers joined him on court to celebrate the moment including Nole, Gilles Simon, Ivo Karlovic, Tommy Robredo, Federico Gil, Albert Costa, Younes El Aynaoui, Marc Rosset and Delpo.
He had a few things to say about his career:
[My best moments] came in different stages of my career. Beginning with 1998 Roland Garros when I qualified and I beat [Andre] Agassi and [Gustavo] Kuerten and I lost to [Cedric] Pioline. And of course there is the next one, winning the 2000 US Open.Here's video of the ceremony in case you missed it.
I don't have a lot of them [titles] only 15, so not too many majors. But they were really special and very welcome. A lot of people [think] that I'm not really [a] hard worker, but you can ask all my coaches how I dedicated myself to tennis. I worked for it, and I worked very hard.
CHECK IT (thanks Jills) :
Even though he wasn't winning anymore, Marat had a unmistakable presence whenever he stepped onto the court and a unique way with words that could only be described as "Safinisms."
We'll miss you SexGawd. May you go happily into the tennis afterlife.
More images from the ceremony below.
(Photos: Getty, AP)