Russian Safin to miss Davis Cup final

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Miami, Oct 19: Russia's Marat Safin will miss the Davis Cup final against the United States after deciding to end his season.

Safin, 27, has struggled for fitness and form in 2007 and lost in the first round of the Madrid Masters this week.

''Basically, the Davis Cup team left it up to him to make the decision and Marat decided that right now there are four better players than him who are in form and can make sure they play to the best of their ability for Russia,'' read a statement on Safin's official Web site (http://www.maratsafin.com).

''Recently (Nikolay) Davydenko won Moscow again and (Dmitry) Tursunov won in Bangkok -- both on hardcourts which is the surface that the Final will be played on,'' continued the statement, referring to the courts in Portland, Oregon which will be used for the November 30-December 2 final.

US Davis Cup captain Patrick McEnroe is hoping his team can win the title for the first time since 1995.

Russia are the defending champions and Safin won the deciding match in last year's final against Argentina, beating Jose Acasuso to secure a 3-1 victory.

''Marat was proud to be involved in the run-up to the final and has every faith in his fellow players that they will perform to their very best ability for Russia and make it a hard contest against the US,'' said the statement.

Safin, a former world number one and winner of two grand slam titles, took part in a Russian climbing expedition in Tibet last month which adversely affected his fitness.

''His mountain adventure which he thoroughly enjoyed took him out of his rhythm and also left him with no energy,'' the statement said.

''He thought he was ready coming back in Moscow but found that the stress of playing back to back tournaments was too much and his body just was not ready to cope with it. He thought he could play at a good level but it didn't happen.'' Safin plans to spend three weeks off before returning to practice with his coach Hernan Gumy in Valencia, Spain in preparation for the Australian season early next year.

Reuters

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