Bad boys. We love em, then we hate em, then we love em again. For most women, there is nothing sexier than a man who loves you then leaves you begging for more. Endless songs are written about these men our fathers would certainly not approve of, but whether we simply daydream about these rebellious romantics, (hello, Eric Northman), or actually pursue them is another matter entirely.Only one thing is for sure, at some point in our lives we will find ourselves attracted to someone who strays a little on the naughty side.
If you're a bad boy addict, modern day tennis leaves a lot to be desired. On the surface, men's tennis is filled with gentlemen who huge their opponents after a loss and don't spit the dummy when a call doesn't go their way. They don't drink, they don't smoke and they certainly don't resemble James Dean (or Deen, if you prefer). But there are a few rough cuts amongst the polished stones, those who fit in more amongst John McEnroe and Ilie Nastase than the Wimbledon tea room regulars. Over the next few months, I will make an attempt to sort out those ATP players you'd take home to meet your mother from those you... definitely wouldn't.
I intend to cover active players only in this column, but since this particular player was so popular when I asked Twitter who the ultimate bad boy is, I'll make a special allowance for this recently retired player. After all, we need a standard to compare others to. We are talking, of course, about Marat Safin.
In his prime, Marat Safin represented the epitome of bad boys; he was good-looking, talented and very, very naughty. How naughty? In his career Marat said he broke 1055 rackets, which averages out at 88 rackets a year. What was extra special was the manner in which Marat destroyed these rackets. In June 2004, Marat wrecked his racket and swore at the umpire at Wimbledon in front of distinguished guest the former Russian president, Boris Yeltsin. Four years later, he upped the ante when he reached the Wimbledon semi-finals and in losing to Roger Federer smashed his racket to the ground before hurtling it against a chair. Even Marat admitted his display was a little over the top, saying, "You can't destroy a racket and a chair in the same match, as there has to be a limit – otherwise this is the tennis of a sick person." Possibly Marat's worst on-court behavior didn't involve a racket at all; at the 2004 French Open he was docked a point when he pulled down his shorts to celebrate winning a point against Felix Mantilla. Marat described the incident as a completely natural feeling for him, and lashed out at officials for 'trying to destroy the sport.'
Bad to the Bone
Marat wasn't just bad on the court, he misbehaved off it as well. He arrived in Australia sporting two black eyes in 2009, saying he got into a bit of trouble in Moscow, but that he won the fight. Perhaps the fight was over one of his many ladies who accompanied him on tour. Typically bleached blonde with plastic boobs and short dresses, these ladies enjoyed their five minutes cheering Marat on from his player's box before inevitably being cast aside for a similar-looking girl.
Marat didn't stray from parties, drinking, or cigarettes, but by keeping his cheeky sense of humour and a ridiculous good-looking smile, he managed to cause hearts to flutter anyway. Marat was the type of guy to set inhibitions free and send fantasies wild. For every negative story written about his behaviour, there were 100 positive fan comments or 'hottest man alive' polls.
Marat knew of his sex symbol status and was always willing to sex up his look for the cameras. Clad in leather jackets, flesh-bearing outfits or without a shirt at all, Marat sent tennis fans wild with his smoldering good looks. It's fair to say that without those good looks, perhaps Marat would not have been able to get away with all of his bad boy behaviour.
Bad Boy Gone Good
When the Russian retired from tennis at the end of 2009, little did we know it was the end of Marat as we knew him. It seemed that overnight the blonde girls, photo shoots and temper tantrums were gone from Marat's life, replaced by a rather un-sexy political career and renewed Muslim faith. From devil to devout, Marat now spends his time as an elected member of parliament for President Vladimir Putin's ruling United Russia party. He may have turned over a new leaf, but his cheeky sense of humour still hints at days long past, "I could be the best-looking guy in the Duma," he laughed, "But that's only because all the other guys are over 60."
In his tennis career Marat was certainly a five, but after turning all political on us we had to downgrade him to a four. RIP, bad-boy Marat. We all miss you.
* 1 - Wannabe Wild
2 - Good Times Bad Times
3 - Bad Company
4 - Nasty Naughty Boy
5 - Leader of the Pack