Installed in France near Cannes since she was 16, the Russian Varvara Gracheva (44th in the world currently) should soon obtain French naturalization. This decision allows him to be selectable with the Blue and potentially to see the Olympic Games in Paris 2024.
This is the story of a Russian, born very close to Moscow, who fell in love with France. And who has made it his place of residence for many years. Varvara Gracheva, currently ranked 44th in the WTA, started playing tennis very early, in the town of Zhukovsky with her mother. “She was the one who coached me when I was very young, explains the player to the Team, in its edition of the day. She was a tennis teacher, there were only two hard courts. After a trip to Portugal, the 22-year-old athlete moved to Germany where she played alongside Nina Bratchikova, a former World Top 100.
“I continued to progress to be 19th in the world among juniors. And then we separated. Through friends, whose son trained here (in Cannes, at the Elite Tennis Center), my mother had heard good things about this center in Cannes, with Jean-René Lisnard. She said to me, “Varvara, go over there! And I arrived in 2017, at 16 years old. “If she agrees that the first months in France were complicated, she can count on the support of Gilles Cervara (coach of Daniil Medvedev) and also (a little) on the presence of his compatriot and current 5th at the ATP.
Gracheva: “It’s my base here, I want to make my life there”
Once acclimatized to her new environment, Varvara Gracheva took full advantage of life on the Côte d’Azur and then came up with the idea of applying for French nationality. “Already, what was incredible for me was that I had stayed in the same place with the same people for more than two years. Usually, I never stayed that long. So when I passed that milestone, I started to think, ” This is my base here, I want to make my life here And my mother, at the same time, bought an apartment. That’s how I decided to stay full time in this place. So why not take citizenship. […] Food, wow, it’s in my heart. But seriously, I like almost everything here. »
The announcement of her official approach (in the process of being validated), did not trigger misunderstanding or anger, according to the person concerned, still at the Team. Even in the current context and the war in Ukraine that she does not wish to mention. ” I started the procedures long before it happenedcontinues Gracheva. […] A Russian friend sent me an article with a comment from Shamil Tarpishev, the president of the federation. I read it and I was like, “Ok, no one regrets me, no one is saddened or looks upset. » »
Progress and results
When she officially has French nationality, the 44th player in the world will then be eligible for the tricolor selection and therefore potentially for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games. If I can help, it will be great, recognizes Varvara Gracheva. If I can’t, for whatever reason, being injured or playing super badly… A change like that makes you nervous. So, if they accept me in the team, it would already be good. For me this is the most important. The results, you never know…”
For the past few months, the Russian has shown great progress and is gaining momentum. She reached the final in Austin (WTA 250), the round of 16 in Indian Wells (with a first-round win over world No. 8 Kasatkina) and Miami, also with a five-star win over Ons Jabeur (world No. 5).