June 7, 2023

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The sixth Russian tennis player receives French citizenship. She has been training there since she was 16

Will he play for the French?

On Monday, the French edition of L’Equipe wrote that the sixth racket of Russia, Varvara Gracheva, had finished applying for French citizenship. This is not the first message about Gracheva’s desire to get a new passport – for example, French commentators spoke about this during her match at a tournament in Miami.

Who is Varvara Gracheva? And what is its connection with France?

Gracheva is 22 years old. She was born in the city of Zhukovsky near Moscow and started playing tennis there – her mother Natalya Kazakova worked as a coach and taught her daughter until the age of 14. Then Gracheva moved to Germany, where she worked with the ex-79th racket of the world Nina Bratchikova, and at 16 she ended up in France.

There she settled in Cannes at the Elite Tennis Academy founded by 1997 US Open doubles finalist Jean-René Lisnar. Daniil Medvedev used to train there, and recently one of the most talented Russian juniors, sisters Erika and Mirra Andreeva, joined the academy’s players.

Last year, during a tournament in St. Petersburg, Gracheva said that her entire team was French, and they were 99.9% responsible for her tennis development. But my mother sometimes tells me: “Mom can listen, help, that’s why she is a mother. And when it is combined with professionalism, it is very convenient.”

This season, Gracheva began a sharp breakthrough. She won her first three victories over top 10 opponents and reached the final of the WTA tournament for the first time (in Austin she lost to Marta Kostyuk). Of the last 16 matches, Varvara won 14 and will debut in the top 50 next week.

During the Australian Open, Gracheva told Sports.ru correspondent Maxim Yanchevsky about her strengths and weaknesses: “The strength is loyalty to what is happening. Generally speaking, I am a very flexible person. But this can also be a negative side – sometimes there is not enough spark, a rod. But everything is like with people, I guess.

Interestingly, during the conversation, she actively interspersed foreign words in her speech – but not in French, but in English.

Will she play for France now?

It’s impossible to say exactly. So far, there is no information about Gracheva’s plans. It is only reported that she submitted all the documents and passed the language tests. And now it has to wait up to 18 months for the decision of the authorized bodies.

It is possible that she will continue to play for Russia. More precisely, under a neutral flag.

But it is just as possible that he will go to the French national team.

The President of the Russian Tennis Federation Shamil Tarpishchev also does not know anything: “While I am at the training camp in Turkey, I have no information about the transition of Varvara Gracheva, so I cannot comment on anything. In any case, there are no heavy losses for us. There are certain circumstances.