Italian Jewish tennis star plays for spot in Wimbledon quarter-finals
Camila Giorgi, 20
Never mind Mario Balotelli, the Italian with Jewish foster parents who failed to help his country to victory over Spain in the Euro 2012 final on Sunday night. A new day brings a new Italian Jewish sporting hero.
At Wimbledon on Monday, 20-year-old Camila Giorgi will take on third seed Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland for a place in the quarter-finals.
If you’d never heard of her before, don’t be too hard on yourself. Giorgi, from Macerata, Italy, was ranked 145 in the world before she began a run of six successive victories to take her through Wimbledon’s qualifying rounds and into the last 16, culminating in a stunning defeat of No. 20 seed Nadia Petrova on Friday. She’d already beaten 16th seed Flavia Pennetta in the first round.
According to the Jewish Chronicle, Georgi is considering immigrating to Israel, where she could certainly boost the Federation Cup women’s tennis team.
There have been ongoing talks with the Israel Tennis Federation on financial arrangements that could reportedly involve a $100,000 grant in return for a 30 percent cut of Georgi’s prize money over the next few years. The terms of an agreement are apparently to be completed after Wimbledon — by which time her world ranking will have risen into the top 100.
Raphael Gellar of Israel Sports Radio said Sunday that Georgi would be a significant asset for Israel. “Her presence on the Federation Cup team would help improve Israel’s standing,” he said. “Georgi has qualified for almost every Grand Slam, has experience in some of the biggest tournaments in the world and she’s still young. She’ll bring a solid ranking to a small country. Her career is now starting to blossom and we can only wait and see where she finishes at Wimbledon.”
With some of Israel’s most promising female players, including Israeli-Arab Nadine Fahoum, leaving the country to play for college teams, a rising star would be a major boost. “Based on her ranking, the addition of Georgi would automatically make her second on the team following Shahar Peer,” Gellar said. In Italy, by contrast, she’s ranked only seventh.
One of four children born to Claudia and Sergio Georgi, she is coached by her father, who introduced her to tennis at the age of five. On her World Tennis Association profile page, she names her favorite book as The Diary of Anne Frank.