Hot-tempered Safin lands a cool job in parliament
Marat Safin's temper on the tennis court earned him the dubious record for breaking the most number of racquets in a season: 87. But the maverick Russian is on the threshold of transforming into a statesman. HT reports. Safin's tennis careerUpdated: Dec 08, 2011 01:19 IST
Marat Safin's temper on the tennis court earned him the dubious record for breaking the most number of racquets in a season: 87.
But the maverick Russian is on the threshold of transforming into a statesman as he was elected into the Russian Federal Parliament, the Duma.
The two-time Grand Slam winner, a member of Vladimir Putin's United Russia party, has been elected into the Duma's lower house as a representative for the Nyzhny Novgorod region, approximately 500 km from Moscow.
“My life has been changing for the last two years,” he said. “All of a sudden I found myself in a situation where I had to make really serious decisions. It started with one small thing and it grew up to something big.
“I could go and make commercials left and right and pretend like I am a celebrity, but that is not me. I never did this, I never liked it. I had a few months of thinking 'should I do this or should I not' but now I am pretty sure of what I'm doing and I want to do it.”
One of the most prominent supporters of Safin's political career has been the man who he beat to win his first Grand Slam at the US Open in 2000, Pete Sampras.
“In 20 years Marat will be the President of Russia!” joked Sampras, before adding seriously: “Trust me, Marat is going to go a long way. He is very intelligent and articulate and he's good with people, and that's half the battle with being a politician.”
Safin is not the first Russian sports star to launch a second career in politics.
The 2005 Australian Open champion is joining an exclusive club, which includes the likes of legendary chess player Garri Kasparov, gymnast Svetlana Khorkina, figure skater Anton Sikharulidze and heavyweight boxer Nikolay Valuev, all of whom have run for office. In fact, Kasparov once nurtured political ambitions and even opposed Vladimir Putin.
First Published: Dec 08, 2011 01:15 IST