Tennis Prose



Biofile: Virginia Ruzici Interview

By Scoop Malinowski

Status: 1978 Roland Garros champion.

DOB: January 31, 1955 In: Campia Turzil, Romania

First Tennis Memory: “Fed Cup in 1973. First time Romania ever played in the competition. First time I was going out kind of Romania. And going all the way to the semifinal.”

Tennis Inspirations: “Ilie Nastase of course [laughs]. Tiriac, Nastase with the Davis Cup final against US in Romania. They were all an inspiration for me.”

First Famous Player You Met Or Encountered: “Other than Nastase? Let’s see, let’s see…I was impressed with Roy Emerson, who I met playing a tournament at the beginning of my career somewhere in Florida. Of course, I was always impressed by Chris Evert, who I could only see on the TV when I was a junior. I started late. First time I came to the United States was at nineteen. And I know my idol was Virginia Wade because her name is Virginia [smiles].”

Greatest Sports Moment: “Winning the French Open in 1978.”

Most Painful Moment: “[Laughs] losing in the finals of the French Open to Chris Evert. And I did not perform at my best.”

Strangest Match: “Well, let me think of that…There were many matches with ups and downs. Matches that I was losing and managed to win. Or the other way around. I had a strange match with Evonne Goolagong in the quarterfinal of Wimbledon (1978(. As I was up 5-2 in the first set, she had pain in her foot. Then she stopped and her husband went on the court and gave her a shot in the foot [smiles]. And I had no idea what was going on [laughs]. And the umpire asked me if I wished to continue and of course I didn’t know that she was not allowed to do that. And we continued and I lost the match (75 63).”

Embarrassing Tennis Memory: “Oh well I lost to Chris Evert in the final of the French Open in 1980, 62 60. That was embarrassing.”

Players You Like To Watch: “Today I will go with the player I represent (Simona Halep). I like to watch (Alexander) Zverev. I just watched him a little bit (at Miami Open). Federer of course. How could I not like Roger Federer? Absolutely incredible. Such a genius. And Serena, Venus. I still like to watch them.”

Why Do You Love Tennis: “I was a natural athlete. I think tennis picked me. Because one day I was playing soccer. So I was probably a little bit fast, athletic. So I was playing soccer when I was eight, with the boys. And this gentleman knocked on my shoulder during, and said, Would you like to come play tennis? There was a club in front of my home. Nobody took me to tennis before. So I said, Sure, why not? That’s how I started tennis. So I think tennis picked me.”

Best You Ever Felt On Court: “The best I felt was when I won the French Open. I really played great tennis. The best I could. Ok, there were many other great matches. Even against Chris Evert, who beat me more than twenty times. I had a few good matches. One in Wimbledon when I was up a set and a break. But I still lost the match.”

Favorite Tournaments: “I grew up on clay. So the French and Rome. Wimbledon is a special one.”

People Qualities Most Admired: “Honesty. Modesty. And charm.”

Career Accomplishments: “Winner of 12 career WTA singles titles and 16

doubles titles. Highest career ranking was no. 8 in the world in May, 1979.

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  • Thomas Tung · May 26, 2017 at 1:13 pm

    Like Nastase and Comaneci; a real legend in Romanian sports.

  • Scoop Malinowski · May 26, 2017 at 8:23 pm

    Definitely Thomas but far less celebrated.

  • catherine · May 27, 2017 at 1:38 am

    Virginia was one of a few Romanian girls around in the 70s – the first wave of East European players but she was by far the best.
    Of course Romania being part of the Soviet bloc things were quite difficult for them in some ways and opportunities were fewer.



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