Romanian tennis star Simona Halep insists the Romanians have “accepted and adopted” British tennis star Emma Raducanu.
Raducanu’s father was born in Bucharest so she has Romanian roots but she is representing Britain.
At this past US Open, Raducanu made tennis history as she became the first qualifier ever to win a Grand Slam.
This week, Raducanu is set to play at the WTA event in Cluj-Napoca.
“The people here are proud of what she has done,” Halep told press in Romania. “They have adopted her, let’s say.
“I heard many people talking about this – what she’s done is amazing, it’s huge to win at 18. Romania, we have had big champions in tennis – we had Virginia Ruzici, Ilie Năstase, a history in the sport. Then a gap and then I came with the big results. [There is] a big community of sports fans, who follow everything and go everywhere they can with the Romanian flags – it’s a big boost for everybody in Romania when somebody wins a big tournament. They fit themselves into that success.”
Halep jokes Raducanu has a specific Romanian name
“And Raducanu being a very specific Romanian name, they feel like she is Romanian. It is very, very Romanian,” Halep laughingly said.
Raducanu won 10 matches over three weeks at the US Open and she didn’t drop a single set in those 10 matches played.
Halep was impressed by how aggressive Raducanu was at the US Open.
“I think what impressed me was her aggressiveness, she plays aggressive – but not very strong, or powerful, but rather very intelligent, very smart,” she said.
“And she’s moving very well, as well. What was the most, let’s say beautiful thing that I saw is the mental part. To be so young and to be so calm, and like very powerful on the emotions, it was impressive.”