Friday, September 07, 2007
The Jakarta Post, Jakarta
Although Angelique "Angie" Widjaja has not set a return date from her long hiatus from professional tennis, she is most likely to join the national tennis squad for the 2007 SEA Games in Thailand this December.
"I haven't signed a contract yet (to play in the SEA Games). But I have told them (the committee) I'm 95 percent ready to play," said Angie on the sidelines of a tennis coaching clinic program with nine-time Wimbledon doubles champion Todd Woodbridge of Australia.
The coaching clinic was held as part of a promotion for the Commonwealth Bank Tennis Classic, previously known as the Wismilak International, which begins next week on the resort island of Bali.
Angie said that earlier this year the national task force for the SEA Games had sent her a letter requesting she join the tennis squad, but she rejected the offer.
She changed her mind following several intent approaches made by the task force and Indonesian Tennis Association (Pelti) bigwigs.
"They tried to persuade me. Finally, I agreed to play but I said I couldn't play singles as it would be too late to prepare (for singles)," said the 22-year-old 2001 Wimbledon junior champ.
Pelti deputy secretary-general August Ferry Raturandang confirmed Angie's statement.
"Angie will join training along with other players Sandy Gumulya, Romana Tedjakusuma, Lavinia Tananta and Wynne Prakusya in the women's team and Christopher Rungkat, Elbert Sie and Suwandi in the men's team," Ferry told The Jakarta Post over the phone.
Ferry said Angie would possibly play women's doubles, teaming up with 2005 Philippine SEA Games gold medalist Wynne Prakusya, or mixed doubles, pairing with Elbert Sie or Christopher Rungkat.
Indonesia has set a lower target of two gold medals, compared to the three gold medals won at the Philippine SEA Games amid injuries to its main athletes, like Angie and Wynne.
Angie, whose world rank dropped to 390th as of Aug. 27 due to a seven-month layoff, said despite her participation in the SEA Games, she is still undecided over whether or not she will hang up her racket or continue her pro tennis career.
"I don't know whether to just stop for a short while or take a real break. I don't know if I will continue after that (the SEA Games)."
She said she would not take the wild card offered to her by the organizers of the Commonwealth Bank Tennis Classic to play in the tournament she once won in 2001 in order to "give the chance to her juniors".
"Commonwealth has a different class of quality. Three months of preparation is not enough for me. My principle is if you don't prepare properly, then you'd better not participate," she said.
"Moreover, I should not take the chance away from the juniors. Their ranks might lift (given the chance), as happened for me when I was given the chance a few years ago." (02)