Tennis

Safin takes place in Russian parliament

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MOSCOW

Former tennis No. 1 Marat Safin was officially confirmed as one of the leading sports icons among a colorful new breed of legislators in the Russian Federal Assembly's lower house.

The two-time grand slam winner, 31, will take his place as one of the junior members of the new State Duma alongside boxer Nikolai Valuev. Three-time Olympic wrestler Alexander Karelin and former Olympic gymnast Alina Kabayeva also were re-elected.

All four will represent Prime Minister Vladimir Putin's United Russia party in the 450-seat Duma, along with a former Russian Playboy model recently voted the country's sexiest woman. The new-look parliament will convene for its first session next Wednesday following the Dec. 4 vote, The Moscow Times reported.

Safin claimed to offer an attractive alternative to voters when confirming his intention to run in October.

"I could be the best-looking guy in the Duma," he boasted. "But that's only because all the other guys are over 60."

Safin retired from his sporting career in 2009 after winning the US Open in 2000 and the Australian Open in 2005.

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