They had been dubbed Marat Safin’s blonde fan membership — or the Safinettes — and so they acquired virtually as a lot consideration because the Russian unhealthy boy as he went all the best way to the 2002 Australian Open ultimate.
That 12 months’s version of the Melbourne grand slam wasn’t overly memorable.
Two-time reigning champion Andre Agassi missed the match with a wrist harm and the highest two gamers on the earth — Lleyton Hewitt and Gustavo Kuerten — had been each shocked within the first spherical.
It opened the door for Safin — who misplaced in 4 units to shock packet Thomas Johansson — and the fiery baseliner actually captured the creativeness of the general public. However it was as a lot together with his off-court entourage as together with his play.
Safin’s “harem”, as they had been referred to as in a newspaper article on the time, included no fewer than eight blondes, which labored out to 1 for each spherical of the match, plus a spare simply in case.
“Marat by no means has issue discovering feminine supporters. His little black e-book can be fairly spectacular,” a tour insider informed the Herald Solar.
The trio who obtained the nod for the ultimate had been two Moscow fashions — Anna Gorski, 22, who was finding out advertising and marketing at Monash College, and Katya Bestojeva, 21. They had been joined by Newcastle monetary analyst, Di Vekosa.
Ms Vekosa was launched to Marat and different gamers on the circuit through — you guessed it — Mark Philippoussis.
“I’ve obtained to know Marat over the previous few years, and he’s a very nice man,” mentioned Ms Vekosa. “I’ve been watching from the gamers’ field all match. It’s nice to have the ability to assist him like this.”
The 22-year-old Safin had a popularity as a playboy, however Ms Vekosa was fast to reject discuss of romance. “Offcourt, Marat’s an awesome man and actually right down to earth, however there’s nothing happening there,” she mentioned.
Ms Bestojeva met her countryman at a Moscow match final 12 months.
An extended-term good friend, however nonetheless no spark, it appears. “She’s not his girlfriend, only a good friend,” mentioned Ms Gorski.
The ladies turned a spotlight of the Channel 7 broadcast throughout Safin’s matches and his on-court interviews.
“I’ve to say thanks to all my household sitting over there,” he mentioned to centre-court laughter as he gestured to the unmissable misses.
However not everybody was a fan of their presence.
Former Alex Metreveli, who was in Melbourne commentating for Russian tv, pointed to these within the field for Safin’s downfall after main by a set within the ultimate.
He mentioned the issue with Safin’s recreation was that he doesn’t know who to have round him.
“They’re buddies for every week whereas he’s doing effectively,’’ Metreveli mentioned.
A photograph of the participant field went viral on Twitter just some days out from this 12 months’s match and Aussie star Thanasi Kokkinakis couldn’t assist replying with a “goat” emoji.
— with Herald Solar