A Young Troubadour.
Karolina Korbanova, a young Ukrainian who won the Australian Open doubles title with Caroline Whitten along with Memphis, Miami, and a small ITF tournament with Lindsay Raymond, is rumored to be seriously thinking about a change in nationality. The youngster, who many consider, to be a future talent supposedly is in a dispute with the Ukraine Tennis Federation. A lack of funding and the inability to compete in FedCup has Korbanova considering ulterior options.
Korbanova held an interview with a US reporter where she currently lives primarily in Dallas, USA. Korbanova moved to America when she was 12 years old and trained in the Texas area.
"Right now, there is a lot of conflict between UTF and myself. I feel I am being mistreated by the organization. They aren't doing anything to promote the growth of tennis and there are no other upcoming players. I want to play the Olympics and I need to participate in Fed-Cup somehow to get there. It just isn't fun to be the only girl from Ukraine on tour."
Korbanova has limited her options down to three. She will either continue to represent Ukraine where she was born and resides part-time. Her second option is to play for the USA. Korbanova moved to train in America at an early age. This move would allow Korbanova to possibly play in the Olympics with Caroline Whitten, who has mentioned the possibility to Karolina.
"Of course I would represent Ukraine if something would change. I consider myself Ukrainian and it is "home" to me. Family and friends still remain in my hometown of Yalta and beyond. The USTA has also been very gracious to me. They have funded me even though I am not one of their own, I feel like I owe them something, but I don't consider myself American. I speak English very well, along with Belarussian, Ukrainian, and Russian. In all honesty I would consider a move to become American the least possible."
And finally and perhaps the most interesting option is to represent Belarus, the country that has produced world class talents such as Larissa Ovechkina and Nadia Banaszek. Korbanova speaks Belarussian, her father is Belarussian and her mother is half Belarussian an half Croat (inspiring Karolina's name). Korbanova consistently trained in the neighboring country and has a large extended family in the country.
"If I were to leave Ukraine, I would say Belarus would be my home. I have always known Belarus as a refuge for me. The Chernobyl accident happened before I was born and I was still greatly impacted. It was terrible and Belarus was hit hard. In some ways, I am more Belarussian then Ukrainian. When I was young and dreaming of a tennis career I was watching Nadia and Larissa on TV and they were my heroes. To maybe be on their Olympic team would be a fufilled dream. Nadia has been a great mentor for me, and although I don't know Larissa as well, I have so much respect for her."
"Right now, everything is just in the air, and even I don't know what to do. I will definetely seek out advice and my decision will be made in the near future. I just hope the situation doesn't get worse, but by taking no action that is the only thing that will happen.We will see "