Why is that? From what I understand, there is not much of a tennis federation in Romania. Also, tennis is traditionally a rich person's sport, and I know Romania is not one of the richer countries in Europe.
I've become somewhat fascinated by Romanian tennis. I can't explain why. It started with Sorana back in 2008-09, and then I started noticing many of the other Romanian girls making gains in the top 100, 50, 30. I also remember liking Spirlea back in her day. And of course I loved Nastase as a kid. (dating myself here
) I watched him play McEnroe live at the US Open, and it was one of the most remarkable and humorous spectacles I've ever witnessed. Both players demanded the umpire be removed from the chair.
The Romanian tennis players all seem to be a bit quirky. I like that.
It's nice that you mentioned Ilie Nastase. While I didn't have the chance to watch him play during his time I've been always surprised to see how many Americans remember Nastase. Every time I mention that I am originally from Romania and the subject of conversation is tennis people tell me they heard about Ilie Nastase.
As for your question, obviously the best answers will come from people living in Romania that know the situation far better than I do.
However, as you said, the cost associated with the sport is obviously a hurdle. Then there is the Romanian federation, which very much exists, but which does not have enough funds I imagine to sponsor the youth tennis, organize more tennis tournaments (I heard there used to be more 10Ks than there are now), support local communities, etc.
Today while I was watching the replays on tennis channel the ticker at the bottom of the screen said something about USTA donating a few hundred dollars to local communities to support tennis activities, so go figure.
Anyway, what I think it ultimately comes down to is the general standard of living because ultimately tennis is an individual sport and in order for the families to make a choice to support their kids' tennis endeavors they need money.