Dubai: Indonesia’s teenage tennis sensation, Priska Madelyn Nugroho, plans to chase her childhood dream of being one of the best after featuring as the youngest nominee for the ITF Heart Award for February.
Nugroho, who turns 17 at the end of May, turned heads while combining with Filipina Alexandra Eala on their way to the doubles girls crown at the 2020 Australian Open. The bubbly Nugroho and Eala beat Ziva Falkner and Matilda Mutavdzic 6-1, 6-2 for the girls’ doubles crown at Melbourne Park at the end of January.
Barely two months later, Nugroho made an impression in Dubai when she nearly earned Indonesia a place in the Asia-Oceania Fed Cup play-offs ahead of India. It was just the tenacity of the Indian squad, led by the experienced Sania Mirza, that saw the fall of Indonesia on the very last day of the round-robin competition, on March 7.
Now back home in Jakarta, the teenager has been making huge strides in her immediate career goals. “I still want to be in the top-100 as soon as possible,” Nugroho told Gulf News from her home in Jakarta.
“Nothing has changed for me despite this shutdown and lockdown. I still have my goals and ambitions before me,” she added.
If her achievment at Melbourne Park at the end of January was huge, her next one at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Stadium was nearly as big, but for that last-gasp loss to India.
“Honestly, I don’t really expect anything from this nomination, but I’m really grateful and proud as I’ve become the first Indonesian to get a nomination for this award. This nomination will give me a lot of encouragement and confidence for my tennis goals for the future,” Nugroho admitted.
“My short-term goal still remains the same for the time-being: I want to enter the top-100 as soon as possible,” she added.
Nugroho is among the handful of tennis stars that includes India’s Sania Mirza, half-Filipina Leylah Annie Fernandez of Canada, Carla Suarez Navarro (Spain), Aliaksandra Sasnovich (Belarus), Anastasija Sevastova (Latvia), Anett Kontaveit (Estonia), Eleonora Molinaro (Luxembourg), Fernanda Contreras Gomez (Mexico) and Veronica Royg (Paraguay) as nominees for February’s ITF Fed Cup Heart Award.
As of May 1, the pandemic situation in Indonesia has resulted in more than 10,000 positive cases from which nearly 800 have succumbed to the virus. Forced to stay in, Nugroho has been enjoying extra free time with her older brother and parents for a change.
“I spend a lot of my time at my home right now but I still can practice in the morning, although it’s not as intense as usual,” Nugroho said.
“I do my fitness training at my home in the afternoon from the programme that I get from my fitness coach,” she added.
Online voting for the ITF Heart Award started on Friday [May 1] and the winner will be announced next Monday [May 11]. The winner will receive a cheque to be donated to a charity of her choice.
Now in its 11th year, the Fed Cup Heart Award recognises those players who have represented their country with distinction, shown exceptional courage on court and demonstrated outstanding commitment to the team during Fed Cup by BNP Paribas.