While restrictions in Romania have meant very few fans have been able to watch Emma Raducanu in action this week, she has still made a lasting impression on the home country of her father.
The 18-year-old defeated Romania’s Ana Bogdan in straight sets at the Transylvania Open to progress through to the quarter-finals, and her opponent is seemingly a big fan of the US Open champion.
The British number one has wowed supporters in her post-match interviews where she has effortlessly spoken in Romanian, despite previously professing to know only “a little bit” of the language.
Raducanu has stated already that Romanian players have been especially kind and have taken her under their wing, with the teenager still new to the tour, despite winning in New York last month.
Former world number one and Romanian tennis legend, Simona Halep, was also one of Raducanu’s idols growing up and the two could well meet in the semi-final of this year’s tournament in Cluj-Napoca.
Clearly, Raducanu feels a strong connection to Romania, and Bogdan has stated that she’d love the Brit to play for the Romanian Fed Cup (now Billie Jean King Cup) squad.
“If she wants to play for the Romanian Fed Cup (Billie Jean King Cup) squad, she is more than welcome,” Bogdan stressed.
“She was born in Canada but grew up in the UK. It's amazing, I also understand she speaks Chinese. She speaks a few words in Romanian, too. This is quite sweet, she has a sweet accent.”
While Raducanu herself has expressed no desire to switch nationalities, would it be possible for the Brit to play for Romania if she wishes?
The answer, based on current International Tennis Federation guidelines, is no. National eligibility rules allow juniors to change nations if they want to, but once a player has put themselves up for a Davis or Fed Cup team, they are no longer permitted to represent another nation.
Though she only broke onto the scene this year and has played just a handful of tournaments on the WTA tour, Raducanu was actually part of Britain’s 2020 Fed Cup team, after being selected by captain Anne Keothavong, and therefore cannot play for a different country.
There have been multiple examples of players unsuccessfully trying to play for different nations since the rule was implemented in 2015.
Slovenian tennis player Aljaž Bedene once appealed against the decision to stop him playing for Britain because he’d played three dead rubbers for his country of birth, and so subsequently chose to switch back to representing Slovenia.
So unless there is another rule change, then it’s good news for British tennis fans. Raducanu will continue to represent Britain and is likely to be a mainstay of the team for a long time to come.News Now - Sport News