Romanian tennis star urges Emma Raducanu to consider changing nationality
While restrictions in Romania meant very few fans got to watch Emma Raducanu in action this week, she still made a lasting impression on her father’s home country.
The 18-year-old beat Romania’s Ana Bogdan in straight sets at the Transylvanian Open to advance to the quarter-finals, and her opponent is apparently a big fan of the US Open champion.
The British number one wowed fans in her post-match interviews where she spoke effortlessly in Romanian, although she previously said she only knew “a little” of the language.
Raducanu has previously said the Romanian players have been especially kind and taken her under their wing, with the teenager still new to the tour, despite her victory 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 may well meet in the semi-finals of this year’s tournament in Cluj-Napoca.
Obviously, Raducanu feels a strong connection to Romania, and Bogdan has said she would like the Briton to play for the Romanian Fed Cup team (now Billie Jean King Cup).
“If she wants to play for the Romanian Fed Cup (Billie Jean King Cup) team, she is more than welcome,” said Bogdan.
“She was born in Canada but raised in the UK. It’s amazing, I also understand that she speaks Chinese. She also speaks a few words in Romanian. It’s quite cute, she has a soft accent.
While Raducanu herself has expressed no desire to change nationality, would it be possible for the Briton to play for Romania if she wishes?
The answer, based on the current guidelines of the International Tennis Federation, is no. National eligibility rules allow juniors to change nation if they wish, but once a player has registered for a Davis or Fed Cup team they are no longer allowed to represent another. nation.
Although she only appeared this year and played only a handful of tournaments on the WTA tour, Raducanu was in fact part of the British Fed Cup 2020 squad, having been selected by Captain Anne Keothavong, and therefore cannot play for another country.
There have been several examples of players trying unsuccessfully to play for different nations since the rule was implemented in 2015.
Slovenian tennis player Aljaž Bedene once appealed the decision to bar him from playing for Great Britain because he had played three dead rubbers for his country of birth, and therefore subsequently chose to return to represent Slovenia.
So, unless there is another rule change, this is good news for UK tennis fans. Raducanu will continue to represent Great Britain and will likely be a mainstay of the squad for a long time.