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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Tarpishchev Admits Safin's Coach Was Key to Victory

Marat Safin's Swedish coach, Peter Lundgren, deserves huge credit for the temperamental Russian's Australian Open triumph, Russia's tennis chief said Monday.

"Without question, Peter Lundgren has been able to get the best out of Safin, which is by no means an easy thing to do," said Shamil Tarpishchev, president of the Russian Tennis Federation and the country's Davis Cup coach.

"You have to give full credit to Lundgren for the way he has handled Marat's temper and channeled it in a positive way."

Pictures of a victorious Safin covered the front pages of all major Russian newspapers on Monday, following his four-set victory over Australian Lleyton Hewitt on Sunday.

"Safin conquered Melbourne," declared leading sports daily Sport-Express.

"Marat warms up [cold and snowy] Russia," echoed rival newspaper Sovietsky Sport, after Safin overcame a nervous start to tame local hope Hewitt 1-6, 6-3, 6-4, 6-4 in a tense final and claim his first Australian Open title.

Tarpishchev once said that no foreign coach would ever get the most out of Safin because they could not fully understand the secrets of the Russian soul. But Lundgren has made him eat his words.

"Well, he proved me wrong, but I'm not bitter. I'm happy, very happy for both Marat and Peter," Tarpishchev said.

"It seems like they have found a common bond and you can see how much Marat respects his coach."

Over the last four years Safin has employed a number of different mentors, including another Swede and former world No. 1 Mats Wilander and Britain's Tony Pickard, once the coach of former Wimbledon champion Stefan Edberg.

But none could get the best out of the often moody Russian. Then he hooked up with Lundgren shortly after losing to Roger Federer in last year's Australian Open final.

Lundgren, who has also coached temperamental Chilean Marcelo Rios, guided Federer to Wimbledon glory in 2003 but was soon dropped by the Swiss.

Safin also praised Lundgren for turning his career around. "He made me believe that I can be a good player and I don't have so much doubt about myself," the Russian said after his win.

"He understood who I am and I understood what he wants from me. It took us four or five months before the results came. But then once they came, they have continued to come."

Tarpishchev, however, was quick to point out that no coach could succeed unless the player himself wants to work hard.

"Clearly, you see a different Safin now than we knew him just a couple of years ago," Tarpishchev said.

"Then, he was simply wasting his talent, his huge potential. Now, with the help of Lundgren, he finally realized talent alone is not enough. There's also hard work, dedication and so on.

"But Marat is a different, mature person now. He knows what he wants in life and how to achieve it. I think only the sky is the limit for him now."