As tennis is an international sport it comes as no surprise to see players from various nations competing in the pro tournaments held in Canberra.
In the first clay court tournament held from 19 March, we saw players from Japan, Great Britain, Austria, France, Romania and Slovenia battle it out against the Australians. On that occasion, it was Slovenia’s Dalila Jakupovic who took the title against Destanee Aiava.
Again in the #2 tournament which ran this week, there was a mix of nationalities.
When it came to the doubles final we found a combination that included an Austrian and Japanese player against an Australian and a Romanian. The players were Australia’s Kaylah Mcphee with Romania’s Irina Fetecau against Pia Konig from Austria and Michika Ozeki from Japan. Fetecau and Mcphee only teamed up at the last moment.
What makes it unique in Canberra is that there are often members of the diplomatic community coming to the tennis to support their players. At the last men’s tournament, the German Ambassador watched Florian Mayer and before that the Israeli Ambassador watched Dudi Sela claim a victory in Canberra.
With Fetecau, we saw the Romanian Ambassador to Australia Her Excellency Mrs Nineta Bărbulescu and a vocal Romanian support group cheer on their countrywoman. That support helped. Fetecau and Mcphee claimed their first 25k level title, winning the ACT Clay Court International #2 6-1, 4-6, (10-5).
After the match, the Ambassador made a special point to not only congratulate Fetecau, but she also said thank you to Mcphee and asked where is she from. On finding out that Mcphee is from Brisbane, the Ambassador said she would arrange something with the Romanian community in Brisbane. The players also shared their victory with the Romanian fans and signed tennis balls and posed for photos with the group.
But not only that, they took the time to have the Romanian flag flying in the background of the photos. And not to leave Kaylah Mcphee out of the celebrations, they all lined up with an Australian flag in the background.
In Fetecau’s victory speech she mentioned that there would be some tears as she left Canberra as she had enjoyed the past two weeks.