“We feel proud because she’s one of the Romanian people,” Comaneci said. “Look at the collection of Romanian fans she has, and how she had spoken to her Romanian people in the Romanian language. What does that tell you?”
The Romanian background and surname were enough for tennis fans in the motherland to follow her journey. But it was what she said after winning her first championship that won the hearts of the country, Comaneci included.
“Thank you, guys, for being with me. I love you.”
It was the moment that reinforced what they knew all along: she’s one of us.
“I was so happy she did that,” Comaneci said, referring to Andreescu’s heartfelt message to Romanians after her victory. “I didn’t know how much Romanian she speaks with her family, but to go back to your roots, you have no idea how much the Romanian people appreciated that.”
“We the Romanians support everyone that has a Romanian name, even if they represent other countries,” said Luminita Paul, a journalist at Romania’s daily sports newspaper, the Gazeta Sporturilor, who has been covering tennis for 26 years. “We need heroes. We need personalities. We need athletes to look up to, and we don’t have many at this moment.”
Of course we all know she's Canadian and plays for Canada, but I've read people in Romania saying she has nothing Romanian in her and we should even be neutral when she plays against non-Romanian players (in other words, we shouldn't support her). For me that's an idiotic way of thinking. How can you treat as a simple foreigner someone who has Romanian roots and even speaks the language?
From a nationalist point of view, Andreescu is 100% Romanian. The fact she was born in another country or represents another country doesn't change that. She's ethnically and genetically Romanian.
But I find interesting how do most of Romanians react to the success of this 'foreign' girl. What do you think?
PS: I like to see her winning whenever she doesn't face a Romanian player.