News24

Safin elected to Parliament

2011-12-09 12:14

Moscow - Russian tennis icon Marat Safin has been elected into the lower house of the Russian Parliament - the State Duma - as a member of the ruling United Russia Party, local media reported.

The 31-year-old 2000 US Open and 2005 Australian Open champion won the parliamentary elections in the region of Nizhny Novgorod - situated 500km from Moscow.

"I thought for a long time before deciding to go into politics," said the former world number one. "Of course I could pose in fashion commercials showing myself as a high society star but it's definitely not my lifestyle.

"Politics - it's a completely new life. It's a new way of thinking, new way of acting, which has no relation either to tennis or sports in general."

Reports said that US former tennis great Pete Sampras has already congratulated Russia's new lawmaker predicting he will be the country's future president.

"In 20 years Marat (Safin) will be Russia's president," the ABC online quoted Sampras as saying. "He's a clever guy, he speaks well and he's good with people - all these features are very important for a politician."

The win put Safin into an impressive list of former sports stars, who joined Vladimir Putin's United Russia Party and won a place in the parliament.

Olympic champions Anton Sikharulidze (figure skater), Alina Kabaeva (rhythmic gymnast), Svetlana Zhurova (speed skater), Svetlana Khorkina (gymnast) were all working in the previous State Duma along with former heavyweight world champion Nikolai Valuev.

AFP