Thu, 01 Feb 2001

Pregnancy not snag for Irawati

JAKARTA (JP): Former national tennis player Irawati Moerid Iskandar may be the only expectant mother slugging it out in tournaments.

The 32-year-old Irawati, who is seven months pregnant, said she has had no problem playing tennis during her pregnancy.

"I feel my baby enjoys the activity. I have a strong desire to play in tournaments. Before this tournament, I played three or four practice sets every day."

Irawati, nicknamed Ira, said her husband, Gilang Iskandar, has no objections to her continued participation in tennis. "He only suggests that I quit playing if I don't feel comfortable anymore."

Ira is partnering Luky Tedjamukti, another former national player, in the women's doubles at the 2001 Cigna Open Colors of Life tournament. They reached the semifinals of the event on Wednesday after the young duo of Rachmawati Siregar and Uce Verianti retired in the first set.

Speaking about the country's young players, Irawati said they still had a way to go before they could match the older players.

"I have never played singles against them, but I played against them in doubles and I think they are still far from equaling us in our heyday. They have good ground strokes but they can't volley well," she said.

Irawati and Luky reached their golden years along with Suzanna Anggarkusumah, Waya Walalangi and Yayuk Basuki.

"Luky is two years older than me, and she's a mother of three. Our last achievement was winning the women's doubles gold at the 1991 Southeast Asian Games in Manila, where we outclassed the Indonesian pair of Joyce Riana Sutedja and Tanya Soemarno," said the mother of 5-year-old Nazhiira Nadia Iskandar.

Ira said she talked to Yayuk about making the 2004 National Games (PON) in Palembang, South Sumatra, their last domestic appearance. "I told her that we should play in PON for one last time, just for fun."

Last October, Ira, Yayuk and former national men's karateka Arthur Rorek, Dewi, Zhafar and Bakri opened a small cafe near the Indonesian Tennis Association office at the Bung Karno Sports Complex in Senayan, Central Jakarta.

The cafe operates from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m, serving Indonesian dishes like sate, soups, curry and roast fish. She hired three chefs, a cashier and a bartender to serve diners.

"We hope that we can reach the break-event point in one year."

She recalled having to help serve diners because the cafe was full of visitors during the first day of the tournament on Sunday.

"I helped roast the fish because the cafe was full. When it was time for me to play in the women's doubles qualifying match, suddenly I realized that my T-shirt smelled fishy. Luky confirmed this. I must have looked very bad at the time," she said. (ivy)