Q&A With James Cerretani
James Cerretani, the No. 48 ranked doubles player on the ATP World Tour, is joining forces with former college teammate and fellow tour member Adil Shamasdin to bring world class tennis to Providence, Rhode Island on 11 December. A portion of event proceeds will benefit Tenacity, a non-profit organisation that promotes a safe and healthy after-school environment.
Cerretani spoke about the mission of the event and reflected on his 2011 season with Harry Cicma.
You have a great charity event coming up, bringing professional tennis back to Providence for the first time in decades. What prompted you to coordinate this exhibition?
We are all very excited about hosting our first exhibition/charity event. Adil Shamasdin and I were student athletes at Brown University, so we both feel that we have a responsibility to continue to give back to the institution that has helped us get to where we are now. We reached out to Head Coach Dave Schwarz during the Campbell’s Hall Of Fame Tennis Championships this past summer. We started by giving a portion of our prize money to the program then, so this is just a continuation of that trend.
I have also done some work the last few years with Tenacity, a non-profit organisation that fosters education and inner city tennis. They have provided us with ball kids for the event, and we are excited to have them involved, so a portion of the proceeds will be donated to them as well. And most importantly, I want to provide a fun night of great tennis, uniting Brown alumni, our friends and all local tennis fans. This never happens in Providence, so I am thrilled to be able to bring some great players to the area.
In addition to Adil and I, we have 2011 Australian Open semi-finalist Eric Butorac on board for the event, and we have a few cool items from the tour that we will be auctioning off for charity. So it should be a lot of fun, and something we can build on into the future.
How is life on the ATP World Tour going?
Life on the tour has been great thus far. I made some changes to my training and preparation in the 2011 season, and that has made a big difference in my performance. Most notably, I am now traveling full-time with my sister, Chrissy, as my coach, and our teamwork has been fantastic. Her first event was at Wimbledon, where we reached the quarter-finals, so it was clear to me that our natural chemistry and work ethic was a big reason for our success.
What has the experience of playing on tour been like, how different is it from college tennis, and how did playing collegiately help you achieve this goal?
In many ways, the college circuit prepared me for life on the professional tour. I was fortunate to play for coaches at Brown that were very motivating, and brought the best out of m, so I was always practicing like a pro, even though I was in college. I also believe that the challenging academics at Brown, along with its diverse student body, were the perfect blend for me. The environment at Brown opened my eyes to interesting people from all over the world, so now regardless of where in the world I am traveling on tour, I always feel comfortable in my own skin, and make an effort to embrace the various cultures in between tournaments. My experience at Brown, I believe, has equipped me with the necessary skills to be successful on tour.
What are your goals on the tour?
I am excited to say that my new coach and I have reached our 2011 goals of a Top 50 year-end ranking and a deep Grand Slam run. Moving forward into the 2012 season, we aim to build on that success. We haven't sat down to write our goals down yet, as we just finished the season, but I will say that my goal and dream is to win a Grand Slam. Preferably Wimbledon, as it is the most special major for me.
Additionally, I will be very proud if I can continue to use my tennis as a platform to continue helping people in need, as much as I can. My work with charities has been very fulfilling, and makes me feel good to know that I am doing more than just playing tennis.
You made the quarter-finals at Wimbledon this year with Philipp Marx. Talk about that result, what it means to you, and what it was like reaching the second week at the All England Club?
Playing in the Wimbledon quarter-finals this season was just incredible. I haven't really taken the time to sit down with myself to think about it, because things happen so fast on the tour, and you must continue moving forward.
But I know that it was extremely special for me, because I was able to share it with my family. They don't get to see me play all the time, so they made the trip to London, and that made it much sweeter. I will also never forget the feeling of being in the locker rooms during the second week. There is this aura of professionalism and class that permeates the Wimbledon air, and there is nothing like it! It was a privilege and honour to be there.
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