Emma Raducanu was just practicing, but first there was a Mexican wave and then she addressed the crowd of several hundred in her native Romanian.
The US Open champion was already causing quite a bit of buzz in these parts since she arrived, via a low-cost airline, on Friday night, and those at the BT Arena were even more seduced when she took the mic afterward. from yesterday’s hitting session.
“The thing is, I can understand like 80 percent of Romanians,” she said, after having told the assembly how happy she was to be here.
Emma Raducanu impressed the crowd during practice in her native Romania
‘I don’t want to praise myself, I just struggle to find my words. When they told me about doing this at the end of practice, I was just thinking about my vocabulary during the changes. ‘
Having shown his talent for speaking his mother’s native language, Mandarin in New York, it is no wonder that despite being only 18 years old, he can speak another language.
The connection is her father Ian and childhood trips to see her grandmother Niculina.
The day trip north from the capital is too strenuous for Niculina and she won’t be able to see her talented granddaughter in action.
Raducanu will return to action on Tuesday against Slovenian veteran Polona Hercog
Not only that, but the Covid restrictions introduced today in response to the fastest growing number of cases in Europe mean that viewers will not be allowed in from now on.
Raducanu still plans to see Niculina, but not until after business for the week is over.
I will definitely visit her after the tournament. I haven’t seen her in two and a half years, ”said Raducanu, who is expected to play Slovenian veteran Polona Hercog tomorrow.
“I used to come once or twice a year to visit my grandmother in Bucharest. I always love to go back. People are very friendly, there is also good food.
“My personal favorite is sarmale (Romanian cabbage rolls). When I return, my grandmother does it, at home it is not the same ‘.
This will be the first time Ian has seen his daughter play in person since Wimbledon.
He has been at the stadium this weekend keeping a low profile and, like his daughter, seems more relaxed about his coaching situation than outsiders.
Blending into the crowd, he was polite and friendly as he watched, but declined to give interviews, even to the many local outlets that made requests.
This is a great homecoming for him, although, like Emma, he has never been to Cluj before. It has been 25 years since she left Bucharest for Toronto, where she spent around eight years before moving to London when her daughter was two years old.
Raducanu is currently ranked 24th after his heroics at the US Open in September.
While he’s happy to leave the attention to her, he’s the central figure in her career and he’s in no rush to name a particular voice to oversee his daughter’s training.
Emma confirmed that she had been conducting test sessions with Spaniard Esteban Carril, but stated that others were also being considered. Instead of being here this week, Carril will be at a small event in Estonia with his British partner Katie Swan, with whom he had a prior arrangement to travel.
When asked who was training her this week, Raducanu simply said “myself”. She knows there is no substitute for self-reliance, adding, ‘You’re on the court on your own, so it’s great to be independent. You have the opportunity to train yourself. In the long run, if you keep doing it, you will improve in situations. ”
On a similar topic, he avoided the lure of a private jet to get to a place that has few easy travel routes, instead taking Wizz Air from Luton Airport.
However, he avoided the crowds in the medium term by obtaining a special VIP passage through the departures to the plane.
This relatively intimate £ 180,000 event should be more comfortable for her than the much larger tournament in Indian Wells that saw her lose in the first round following her comeback after the US Open.
It’s a consolation that the player who defeated her, Aliaksandra Sasnovich, beat this week’s seeded Simona Halep.
“I didn’t have high expectations going into Indian Wells,” Raducanu reasoned. “ My reflection on acting was that I was pretty tired and I think I still had a bit of jet lag. When you are not in good shape yourself, the level is too high to get away with it.
Sasnovich ended up having a good tournament herself.
“I’ve had a good week of training at home now, so I’m looking forward to this last swing of the season.”