10 Jan 2009

Safin backs Safina to become number one

2:08 pm on 10 January 2009

The Russian tennis player Marat Safin believes his sister Dinara Safina is ready to challenge for the world number one mantle, after watching her performances at Perth's Hopman Cup.

World number three Safina won all three of her group matches before losing to world number 19 Dominika Cibulkova in the final, which Slovakia won 2-0.

Safina was bundled out in the first round of the Australian Open last year, but rebounded to reach the final of the French Open and the semi-finals of the US Open.

Marat Safin, who earlier this week announced 2009 would be his last on the tour, says his 22-year-old sister was on the verge of taking another giant leap forward in the women's game.