Priska Nugroho during her qualification match at Traralgon
When talking about Indonesia’s gold tennis era we have to stretch back time to Yayuk Basuki’s peak career in the 1990s. The current tennis progress is rather slow with one medal brought back home in the 2018 Asian Games and the one before that was back in 2002 from Angelique Widjaja and Wynne Prakusya. This not only leaves Indonesia a room for improvement and preparation to repeat the good old times but also great attention for the next tennis star.
In the quiet time of Indonesia tennis achievements, a young rising tennis athlete stole Indonesia media’s attention, she is the 15 years old Priska Madelyn Nugroho. Prior to her debut in the Grand Slam tournaments in Australia Open Juniors, AIYA got the chance to speak to Priska who is currently preparing herself with her first match with a Korean player Yeon Woo Ku this coming Sunday, 20th January 2019.
The Jakartan who was born in May 2003 developed her passion for tennis since she was 4 years old when her father took her to a tennis club. It all started as a once-a-week fun course until when she was 7 years old and decided to join tournaments. With the demanding schedules of the tournaments, Priska had to adapt to her formal education by choosing to homeschool as a solution. Although competing in high-level tournaments such Grand Slams could be nerve-racking, Priska admitted her biggest challenge in Tennis is having a frantic schedule and had to stay apart from her family. Being an athlete doesn’t stop Priska from being a regular 15 years-old. Having a great discipline in time management allows her to enjoy the process of studying, maintaining her fitness, going to malls and enjoying movies.
Her love for tennis allows Priska to enjoy every part of the game, from the training to competitions. “My parents and coaches have also given endless support that always helps me to improve. As there’s an Indonesian player can participate in a grand slam, I saw this as a motivation to improve the tennis level and that more people will get interested to play tennis in Indonesia.” She stated in regards to her views of Indonesia’s tennis in the big picture.
The portraits of Priska in Indonesia media was not a mere hype, in observation of her ranking in ITF, there is an impressive jump from her rank in the 134th per July 2018 to her current rank in the 44th. In responding to this, Priska is humbled by the positive media reactions and although it became a personal challenge, it motivates her to work harder and set an even higher goal.
Having Simona Halep as her role model, Priska looks up to Simona’s aggressive play and her attitude on and off the court. In sharing her dreams, Priska aims high to win one of the ITF Juniors Grand Slams and being in the top 100 of Women’s Tennis Association/WTA.
Priska during her exercise
Prior to her main tournaments at Australia Open Juniors, Priska got to spend sometimes at Traralgon for her qualification tournament. She was impressed with the facilities given such as a great number of available courts and the lively and competing atmosphere that she didn’t find in other countries. During her match at Traralgon, Priska got the taste of the Australia tournaments through her matches with fellow junior tennis players: Lisa Pigato, Olivia Gadecki and Laura Tauson. “My target is to reach the quarterfinals as this is my first Grand Slam. My strategy is to enjoy my game and to give the best of me out there, stay focused and fight for every point.” She explained when answering her target and strategy for Australia Open.
When asked about Australia, the first thing Priska had in mind is Kangaroo and the friendly people of Australia. Priska further shared her thoughts about the country, “Australia is a beautiful country with very friendly people. The accent is unique even though sometimes it’s hard to understand.” Before adding how hot is the summer here. Exercising her knowledge of Australia-Indonesia relationships, Priska is aware of the increasing number of Indonesians who live and study in Australia. “I think we (Australia-Indonesia) are pretty good.” She admitted.
You can show your support to Priska on her first Grand Slam singles play on the 20th January at Melbourne Park or on her double play paired with Wei Sijia.
Thank you for making time to share your story with us and good luck with your debut, Priska!