To Attain His Dream of a US Open Spot, Indonesia’s Ace Wants a Helping Hand

By webadmin on 08:20 pm Apr 10, 2012
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Los Angeles Clippers forward Blake Griffin (32) shoots over Denver Nuggets center Timofey Mozgov (25) during the second half at Staples Center. (Richard Mackson / USA TODAY Sports)

Ami Afriatni

Christopher Rungkat has a dream of reaching a Grand Slam this year. First, though, he has to find a coach who can help him achieve that goal.

After helping Indonesia advance to Davis Cup Asia/Oceania Group II final by beating Thailand last weekend, Christopher shifted his focus back to his own career.

“I want to play in this year’s US Open, so I’ll need to be around the Top 300 to qualify for the Grand Slam qualifying rounds,” said Christopher, who currently sits at No. 411 in the ATP ranking.

The US Open takes place Aug. 27 to Sept. 9 in New York, and Christopher said he had 15 tournaments in which to climb up in the ranking.

On Tuesday, he took the first step toward achieving his dream with 6-3, 6-2 win over Nguyen Hoang Thien in the first round of the Ho Chi Minh City International Tennis Cup.

Next, he’ll go to Taiwan for $125,000 Kaohsiung ATP Challengers, which starts on April 23.

Christopher said that to be able to achieve his goal, he had to find a personal coach who could help him improve his skills, tactics and all-around approach.

“I need guidance. I need a coach who will travel with me to every tournament,” the Jakarta-born player said. “I have some candidates, but I’ll decide that after this [Vietnam] tournament.”

He knows that a personal coach will not come cheap.

“A good coach usually costs around $1,500 per week, and that’s not including other benefits. I’ve been calculating that I’ll need about $100,000 a year for the coach,” Christopher said. “Fortunately, there are some sponsors who already said they were interested in helping me.”

He said that winning the gold medal at the 2011 Southeast Asian Games was a good break for him as more companies had been approaching him to talk about sponsorship deals.

In December, he became the first Indonesian tennis player to sign an endorsement deal with Li Ning, one of China’s biggest apparel-making companies.

“More sponsors, of course, would be better for me,” Christopher said with a laugh.

Thailand’s top player, Danai Udomchoke, who lost to Christopher in Davis Cup tie, said he believed that the Indonesian had the potential to move up further in the tennis world.

“After the SEA Games, he improved a lot,” Danai said. “But he must maintain his level, not sometimes up and sometimes down. He needs a coach.”