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Jakarta Post

Yayuk Basuki shifts her racket to politics

  • Irawaty Wardany

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Thu, November 21, 2013   /  12:49 pm

Laying low after retiring earlier in 2013, Indonesian tennis great Yayuk Basuki apparently has plans to go into politics as she has been motivated by '€œmy many concerns with problems faced by Indonesia today.'€

'€œI am really concerned with the whole situation this country is facing and I'€™m really curious about whether I can help it improve,'€ Yayuk told reporters on the sidelines of coaching tennis with former international tennis star Martina Navratilova in Jakarta on Tuesday.

Navratilova was in Jakarta for two days to hold coaching clinics and attend events organized by Australian-based ANZ Bank.

Commenting on her meeting with Navratilova, Yayuk said it was like meeting an old friend.

'€œI last met her in Wimbledon, [a year] after I gave birth to my first child [in 1999],'€ she said.

Rampant graft and growing intolerance against religious minorities are only some of the problems that have surfaced in recent years in the country, but Yayuk said that she was especially concerned with sports and athlete-related issues.

'€œI have experienced myself how there is a lack of appreciation in this country toward its athletes and former athletes, which made me decide to turn to other countries for a few years,'€ she said.

She had accepted offers to coach in places such as Hong Kong and London. '€œI was pretty much more developed in foreign countries than in my own country,'€ she said.

However, she decided to stop wandering around outside Indonesia and accepted an offer from the National Mandate Party (PAN) to run in the legislative election next year.

Former athletes La Paena Masara (boxing), Nurfitriyana (archery), Kresna Bayu (judo), Selvyana Sofyan Hosen (shooting) and Emma Tahapary (athletic), have also followed suit.

'€œI'€™ve had enough already, If I can'€™t make changes from outside of the system then why not try from inside,'€ said the woman who broke into the top-20 singles and the top-10 doubles in the WTA'€™s rankings in her heyday.

The Yogyakarta-born Yayuk will represent Central Java.

She is currently busy running her tennis academy, the Yayuk Basuki Tennis Academy in Kebayoran Baru, South Jakarta, and will be on the athletic commission of the Indonesia Olympic Committee (KOI).

Yayuk was a Wimbledon quarterfinalist, won six WTA Tour singles titles and US$1.6 million in prizes during her career.

In 1991, she became the first Indonesian player to win a major professional tennis event when she captured the singles title in Pattaya. She also became only the second Indonesian woman to win the Asian Games singles gold medal, after Lita Liem Sugiarto in 1974, when she defeated Tamarine Tanasugarn in Bangkok at the 1998 games.

During her career, she has recorded wins over many top-flight world players, including Martina Hingis, Lindsay Davenport, Gabriela Sabatini, Magdalena Maleeva, Anke Huber, Iva Majoli, Anna Kournikova and Mary Pierce.

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