At one time Marat Safin was
the best men’s singles tennis player in the world. He won 15 singles titles (2 Grand Slams) and had a record of 422-267 before retiring in 2009. He held the world’s #1 spot for 9 weeks in 2000 and 2001. Safin also was known for smashing a racket on occasion during his playing days. Like fellow countryman, and New Jersey Nets owner, Mikhail Prokhorov Safin is interested in politics and has been elected to the Russian Federal Parliament.
The two-time grand slam winner will take his seat in the 450-strong Duma as a representative of the Nyzhny Novgorod region for prime minister Vladimir Putin’s United Russia party.
“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. I will be working for the next five years day after day, sitting in an office, wearing a suit. I will have good days, bad days and I will have to fight once again like I’ve been fighting on the court. It will be complicated.”
One of Safin’s Grand Slam titles was the 2000 U.S. Open where he defeated Pete Sampras. His former opponent had this to say on Safin’s election.
“Marat is very intelligent, articulate and well-spoken so I think it’s great that he’s getting involved in government in his homeland,” Sampras said. ” In 20 years Marat will be the President of Russia! Trust me, this guy is going to go a long way.”
Also elected was former boxer Nikolai Valuev. In case you missed it he went on an expedition in search of a yeti earlier this year. I’m glad he’s found something a bit more productive to do with his time away from the ring.
Let’s hope Marat Safin keeps his cool better in a suit than he did with a racket in his hands, it can get pretty heated in a government setting.