BUKIT JALIL: The thought of playing in front of your parents can be emotional and nerve-racking for any athlete, more so if your dad is a former world champion.
No wonder Indonesia’s Tommy Sugiarto, son of 1983 men’s singles world champion Icuk Sugiarto, seldom plays competitively in front of his father.
Icuk, who was also a member of the 1984 Thomas Cup winning team, was rated among the world’s best when he dominated the badminton scene in the 1980’s.
“In my family, my father has the biggest influence on my games. But seeing him before my game makes me nervous ... I don’t know why. That’s why he hardly turns up for my matches,” said Tommy.
However, now that he has matured as a player, the world No. 4 is bent on changing that. After all, who wouldn’t want to win titles in front of their proud parents?
“I would love to have my father watch me play on the international stage. Winning a trophy in front of him would be a very special moment for me and I cannot wait for that day,” he said with a smile.
“I’m sure with his love and support I can make it big like him.”
Tommy proved that he is on the right track when he played superbly to reach the semi-finals of the Maybank Malaysian Open.
He defeated India’s K. Srikanth 21-10, 21-15 on Friday to set up a mouth-watering match against world No. 5 Kenichi Tago, after the Japanese outshone China’s Chen Long 21-18, 9-21, 21-10.
The 26-year-old Tommy, who won his first Super Series title in Singapore last year, is ready to fill the big shoes left by Taufik Hidayat who retired last year.
“Taufik’s retirement was a big loss for us as he was one of our best players. However, we have to move on and look to the younger generation to produce quality players and good results,” he added.