Maria Galatescu – On The Move
Story courtesy of College Sport Media
Despite the disruption of COVID-19 Maria Galatescu is on the move. The Year 11 tennis player at Queen Margaret College has jumped 400 places in the International Tennis Federation (ITF) junior rankings.
Hovering around the 800-mark most of last year, the 15-year old has leapt to 424th in the world in February, 2022.
In the past six months she has made an ITF singles final, four semi-finals, and won two doubles titles.
In interclub competition Titahi Bay she has moved up to the top division, won the pre-Christmas interclub title, and leads the post-Christmas tournament with just three rounds remaining.
Such progress is remarkable when one considers the adversity that Galatescu has overcome. In addition to the stress of Covid, her mother Monica and longtime coach Francis Glover both passed away in 2021.
“Mum got cancer and passed away nine months ago. I think about her everyday. Mum was my biggest supporter in tennis. My role model for everything,” Maria said.
“Francis was my coach for five years. He taught me to have fun on the court and not stress out.”
Galatescu was introduced to tennis by her father Dragos, a Romanian swimming champion and tennis enthusiast who migrated to New Zealand two decades ago. Maria tried swimming for a period herself but fully committed to tennis after the enjoyment of keen contests with her Dad.
“Dad is a very competitive person and we used to play against each other a lot. Sometimes we’d go ballistic.
“Tennis is a mentally challenging sport. I’ve been trying harder to move on quickly to the next point and not show my opponent physical frustrations from losing a point, just a ‘come on’ or something like that is more helpful.”
Galatescu is an aggressive baseline player with a dominant forehand and double-handed backhand. Her favourite players are Roger Federer and Naomi Osaka.
“I like to be aggressive but I’m not all out attacking. I like to structure my points and look for a weakness in my opponent before hitting too heavy.”
The combination of power and calculation has resulted in New Zealand selection for Galatescu. Last year she was picked for the Billie Jean Cup team while two years earlier she represented New Zealand in Australia where she played against Australian states and Oceania teams. New Zealand was fourth in an event played on a combination of hard courts and clay courts, the latter uncommon in New Zealand.
Galatescu doesn’t intend to spend much time in New Zealand in 2022. An Asia/Oceania Group I Billie Jean Cup qualifier is scheduled next month in Kuala Lumpur and she is hopeful to contest tournaments in the USA and America.
Evidently Romania once boasted Ilie Năstase, the world’s number one ranked player in 1972 and 1973. He was the first professional sports figure to sign an endorsement contract with Nike.