marat safin 88.
(photo credit: )
Russia's Davis Cup team arrived in Israel on Sunday afternoon and former world No. 1 Marat Safin admitted that he's expecting this weekend's quarterfinal tie against Israel to be extremely tough.
Russia has reached the semifinals of the competition in each of the last four years, winning the title in 2006, with Israel getting as far as the quarterfinals only twice in its history.
Safin, however, is wary of the threat Israel poses to his team.
"We have a good team, but the only one who did well at Wimbledon is Igor Andreev," said Safin (currently ranked 24th in the world), who lost in the first round at the All England Club.
"It's going to be tough. It's a tough draw, nothing is easy at this stage. Israel has a good doubles team and Sela is playing really well. Sela made a good result at Wimbledon and he will be full of confidence and tough to beat here. So it's not going to be easy for us."
Safin, who said he has been to Israel on holiday three times in the past and that he has many friends in the country, confessed he is pleased that the tie is being played indoors at the Nokia Arena rather than at the Canada Stadium at Ramat Hasharon.
"It's better for both teams to play indoors," Safin said. "It's too tough to play outdoors. Hopefully we won't have a tough time. We're coming here to enjoy ourselves not to suffer."
Safin flew in with Igor Andreev (26) and captain Shamil Tarpischev, with the rest of the team arriving later.
"Israel has a strong team and when you're playing at home you receive a lot of help from the crowd," Andreev said.
"Sela is playing well and Levy is a dangerous player at home. I'm sure the Israeli players will be very motivated to play here, but we will do our best to win."