Emma Raducanu declared her love for Romania and its people and then stated she will be coaching herself at the Transylvanian Open this week. The US Open champion is playing back in her father Ian’s homeland – and hopes to visit her grandmother Niculina in Bucharest after the event.
And the 18-year-old even addressed the small crowd in Cluj-Napoca in her third language – she also speaks Mandarin – at the end of her practice session with local Gabriele Ruse yesterday.
Local fans, including a mascot in a Dracula costume, gave her groundstrokes and her Romanian language skills a great reception.
It could be the last applause Raducanu gets with fans set to be barred from today (Monday) because of rising national Covid levels.
Raducanu said on-court she is “proud to be a Romanian” and later added: “I can understand like 80 per cent of Romanian. I don’t want to big myself up.
“But I love Romania. I used to come once or twice a year to visit my grandmother, who lives in Bucharest. The welcome I got was really, really nice and I always love coming back.
“The people here are really friendly, great humour and good food. I have great memories from this country. It is really nice to be back.
“When the tournament is done, I’d love to pop over to Bucharest to be able to visit my grandmother. I haven’t seen her for two-and-a-half years.”
Her father is in the Transylvanian capital this week along with her physio Will Herbert and her agent Chris Helliar.
But there is no official coach since her split with Andrew Richardson after New York. She had a trial with Jo Konta’s former coach Esteban Carril last week but he is not here.
And asked who will be coaching her this week, the 18-year-old stated: “Myself”.
Raducanu, who will face world No 123 Polona Hercog in the first round tomorrow (Tuesday) as she seeks her first win since the US Open, explained: “I had a trial with him (Carrill). But I also had trials with others.