With a tournament imminent and the recent release of his new line of Yonex apparel, twenty-seven year old badminton superstar, Taufik Hidayat, seems to be juggling a lot for one person.
However, while sitting with a seemingly cool and relaxed demeanor in the Phoenix Restaurant in the Hotel Sultan in Jakarta, he seems to have put his thoughts about his business venture aside and directed his attention to the next task at hand, his first game in the Djarum Indonesia Open Super Series.
"I feel good about the tournament, but I’m also feeling *under* a little pressure to win," says Taufik when asked about his feelings about the tournament.
Having just resigned from PBSI, the national badminton team, life as Indonesia’s number one badminton player has changed slightly.
He insists that his departure from the organization was not in spite, but rather he wants to make way for a new generation of players and to spread the earnings from winnings amongst other Indonesian players.
While Taufik asserts that thus far he has enjoyed his move to independence, there are – as always in life – positive and negative attributes to his decision.
"Now I have a lot more freedom in my career to express my creativity and develop myself as a person, not only an athlete," he states, as it truly shown with his recent venture into the business world.
"On the other hand, while you are a part of PBSI, the organization gets everything done for you, which is more convenient."
While still having to register for tournaments through the organization, Taufik uses his own resources to obtain to logistics, such as arranging transportation and visas, to continue competing.
Nevertheless, his decision to leave has not changed his dedication in representing Indonesia in tournaments.
In fact, the cheers and chants for Taufik were very present in Istora Senayan when he entered the arena to embark on his mission towards victory in a first round match against England’s Andrew Smith.
In contrast to what many may think, Indonesia’s top seed is not one to bask in the limelight.
When asked about his inspiration for playing the game, his response is familiar with a peculiar twist. "During my early childhood, my inspiration was my parents, but as I grew up, I saw my seniors continue to achieve and become famous," says Taufik.
While he watched Indonesia’s former greats, he continued to train to find his own path to become famous. In retrospect, however, he admits that he wishes that he was not as famous as he now is.
Badminton aside, Taufik’s new line of sports apparel also launched at the Indonesian Open. The Taufik Hidayat Line is the athlete’s first dabbling into the business world.
Utilizing his own style, the line of badminton apparel is seemingly eccentric in comparison to the usual badminton garb with bright colors and atypical designs.
Despite this new business venture, Taufik insists that his main focus is still on badminton and competitions.
The main motivation of the venture is to "expand *his* horizons" and to "think ahead" about life after badminton. Accompanying the name of his apparel, the Taufik Hidayat Line, is a marketing slogan "Winning is an Attitude."
Taufik explained that he coined the slogan to explain his personal principle of life.
"The bottom line, *is* you don’t look behind. You have to know that each winning moment *goes with* a losing moment. "
With his fair share of both victories and defeats, the top-ranked Taufik has a first hand perspective of the effect of both types of moments, with share of victories and defeats.
As he seeks his next victory at the Indonesian Open, the global badminton community will watch to see if the former champion can overcome his greatest rivals to claim his seventh title and prove that he is truly the best.