Since Safin, 29, has always been regarded as the libertine of the locker-room, and he celebrated winning his first grand slam title, when he hit Pete Sampras off the court in the 2000 US Open final, by ordering in champagne and chilled vodka, you can imagine that his Parisian retirement party involved more than sipping from one small glass of red.
I argued with an umpire recently and apologised to him afterwards.
"I did, but my parents weren't really happy about it. Ever since Safin revealed his retirement plans at the start of the year, almost every press conference – and probably every interview – has featured the same questions, which will no doubt be repeated when Wimbledon starts in nine days' time. "Federer, Sampras, Agassi, Rios, Krajicek, Kafelnikov, Ivanisevic – you could say that all of them should have won more, but this is tennis, this is sport. It's not as easy as it might look." Safin won one more Grand Slam title, at the 2005 Australian Open, when he overcame Roger Federer 9-7 in the fifth set of one of the best matches of modern times before beating Lleyton Hewitt in the final. Safin made two other finals in Melbourne and helped Russia to win two Davis Cups, but his tally of 15 titles is a comparatively meagre return for a former world No 1 in his 11th year on the professional circuit.
Until his run to last year's semi-finals, Safin's best showing at Wimbledon had been a solitary quarter-final appearance in 2001.
You do not need to have snorted crystal meth or to have worn a wig in a grand slam final to be counted as a 'personality' in the modern men's game, and the Parisians have always liked Safin, the champion at this Masters tournament in 2000, 2002 and again in 2004. Tomorrow I'll wake up and see what I can do." Safin is not going to write a book.
Paris has been important in Safin's career; it was on the other side of the city, at Roland Garros in 1998, that he first brought his talent to the grand slam stage by beating Andre Agassi and Gustavo Kuerten to reach the fourth round of the French Open, and one year he marked a winner there by dropping his shorts. The Russian has called Agassi "completely stupid" for the confessions about drugs in his memoirs.