Tennis great Sampras sees Russia’s Safin as president in 20 years

Russian two-time Grand Slam winner Marat Safin has all chances to become the Russian president in the future, U.S. tennis player Pete Sampras said on’s website.

A former world number 1, Safin, 31, defeated Pete Sampras at the 2000 U.S. Open. Safin is running for the State Duma, Russia’s lower house of parliament, as a member of the ruling United Russia party from the Nizhny Novgorod Region on December 4.

“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 at the ATP Champions Tour stop in Chengdu.

One of Russia’s most eligible bachelors, Safin retired as a professional tennis player in November 2009.

“I think he’ll do a great job – he’s good with people and people like him, and that’s half the battle with being a politician. He’s very young and it’s nice to see that he’s got this passion in him… In 20 years Marat will be the President of Russia! Trust me, this guy is going to go a long way. The guy is an international star and the future President,” Sampras said.

Safin is not the first Russian athlete to take up politics. The United Russia, led by former president and current Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, already includes such prominent sports figures as Olympic Champion in figure skating Anton Sikharulidze, Olympic gold winner in gymnastics Alina Kabayeva, Olympic winning speed skater Svetlana Zhurova, and World Champion boxer Nikolai Valuyev.


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