On The Line chatted with 20-year-old up-and-comer Wynne Prakusya after her 6-2 6-4 win over Irina Selyutina in the first round of 2001 Rogers AT&T Cup in Toronto (August 13, 2001). The smiling and personable Indonesian speaks excellent English and has a charming habit of ending sentences with a raise in tonality as if she were asking a question. Being quite popular in her homeland, Prakusya is very poised in an interview situation. We talked about her match today, her career goals, and the state of te
nnis in Indonesia.
OTL: Congratulations Wynne ? is that the correct way to pronounce your first name?
Wynne: It's actually "Ween-ah" [accent on first syllable], but "Ween" is okay because that's my nickname. So I get both.
OTL: You've had a lot of success in the last few weeks, winning the doubles in San Diego [with Janet Lee] and beating Rita Grande last week [in Los Angeles]. Is there any special reason for your success right now?
Wynne: Well, I guess the doubles was helping me a lot. At the beginning of the year we were over 100, and now in the middle of the year we were 40, 41, 42, something like that. The doubles is helping a lot, the confidence, and to get used to playing the top players. I had a chance to play with Monica [Seles], and I had a chance to play with Meghann [Shaughnessy], which is like the top 20 players.
OTL: You mean in practice, or against them in doubles?
Wynne: No, in doubles, against them and with them. And it's helping with the mental toughness. Maybe we're not at their level, but we can hit with them, we can have a rally with them. So it's a matter of mental toughness too.
OTL: Some players say it's hard to do both singles and doubles.
Wynne: It can be sometimes. But it helps me a lot, with my toughness, with my confidence, with the serve, with the return. I think it helps a lot doing the doubles.
OTL: I see you're playing doubles with Yayuk [Basuki, the semi-retired Indonesian tennis legend] here. How did that come about, and are you going to be playing the U.S. Open together?
Wynne: Well, we plan to play this week, next week and then the U.S. Open. My partner Janet Lee is not playing in those three tournaments.
OTL: Not in the U.S. Open either?
Wynne: Yeah, she has some tournaments to play for her country. She says she has to play, I said, okay, fine. So then we have the South East Asian Games, which is right after the U.S. Open. Our coach wants me and Yayuk to play together, to get used to each other. We play together a lot at the team events, like the Olympics, Asian Games, Fed Cup and stuff. We have a pretty good record in team events.
OTL: The match today. You played Irina three years ago [a close three-set win in a Challenger in Dubai]. It was a lot easier this time. What do you think was the difference today?
Wynne: I think the big thing is that I'm improving. Like, at that time I couldn't hit any backhands. I mean, she knows my weakness, which is high backhands. So she was hitting that kind of shot. But I've been working on my backhand a lot. Still I need to work on it, because I'm pretty short [5'3", or 1.60 m], so I still need work on my high backhands.
OTL: Right, it means you're hitting a lot of shots above your head, which must be tiring.
Wynne: Yeah, on the forehand side it's okay, I like to hit the high ball on my forehand, but not the backhand. I don't think my shoulders are big like other players. I mean, my body is not that big or muscly. So I just need to practice those high balls.
OTL: Now, tennis in Indonesia seems to be moving up, with Yayuk in the 1990s, and now you coming along and Angelique [Widjaja] winning Wimbledon [junior singles]. Why do you think there's so many good players now coming out of Indonesia?
Wynne: Well basically, what I think is that we've got a lot of tennis players in Indonesia, but they don't have the sponsors because of the economy. We've got lots of players in the top 500, but count how many players are on the tour. Maybe me, Yayuk, Angelique, and Romana Tedjakusuma, she used to be like top 80. So only those players can play on the circuit because we have sponsors. For me, I get some money and I use that money to play tournaments. When you first start, you need somebody to help you,
right? If you win the tournament you get the money back, but if you lose you only get $100, if you lose first round. So it's a lot of money to play in the beginning. But in my position now, it's pretty okay [laughs]. And my doubles is helping a lot, with the hospitality and all that.
OTL: And the cheques from the doubles help keep you going?
Wynne: Yeah [smiles].
OTL: Do you have sponsors now?
Wynne: I have sponsors helping me with the coach, she gets a percentage from me, of course. They help me to pay the allowance of my coach. But the rest, I go with my own.
OTL: Do you know who you are playing next? Do you want to know?
Wynne: [laughs] I think they're playing tomorrow, right? Tu or Tulyaganova?
OTL: Right. Do you know either one of them?
Wynne: I played Tulyaganova last year, I lost 5 and 3 or something like that. At that time she was playing good, though. She beat Jelena Dokic in the same tournament, the round after me.
OTL: That was which tournament?
OTL: Did she win that tournament?
Wynne: No, Meghann won that tournament, yeah.
OTL: Just one last question. Do you have any specific objectives, like to be ranked 'x' this year and 'x' in your career?
Wynne: Yeah. Like this year, my goal is to be ranked top 100. Well, I did! Three weeks ago my ranking was 99, but it was coming down because I had some points to defend last year. So, my goals, at the end of the year it was to be top 100, and then, coming from there is top 50.
OTL: Well, we wish you luck and thank you again.
Wynne: All right, thank you.