Where Are They Now?
Talking with Brown's Cerretani
by Harry Cicma
, 8 December 2011
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From 2000-2004, James Cerretani was a standout tennis player at Brown University, earning first-team All-Ivy honors four straight years while representing the Bears in three NCAA doubles tournaments and helping to lead the team to two NCAA team tournament berths. Cerretani now competes on the ATP tour, where his current world doubles ranking is No. 48.
This weekend, Cerretani will join former college doubles partner and fellow ATP professional Adil Shamasdin to bring a charity exhibition event - World Class Tennis - to Providence, R.I. The event will take place at 5pm this Sunday, December 11, on the courts at Agawam Hunt. The event will benefit Tenacity, a non-profit organization that promotes safe and healthy after-school environments.
Harry Cicma of NBC Sports talked with Cerretani about his tennis and this weekend's charity event.
Questions and Answers
Harry Cicma (HC): How is life on the Tour going?
James Cerretani (JC):
courtesy, James Cerretani
It 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. Our teamwork has been fantastic. Her first event was at Wimbledon, where we reached the quarterfinals, so it was clear to me that our natural chemistry and work ethic was a big reason for our success.
HC: What has the experience of playing on the ATP Tour been like, how different is it from College Tennis, and how did Brown help you achieve this goal?
JC: 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 me (Choboy, Harris), 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, was 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 I travel on tour, I always feel comfortable in my own skin, and I 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.
HC: You have a great Charity event approaching on December 11th, bringing pro tennis back to Providence for the first time in decades. Tell me about this?
JC: We are all very excited about this first-time Exhibition/Charity Event. We were student athletes at Brown, so Adil Shamasdin and I both feel that we have a responsibility to continue to give back to the institution that has help us get to where we are now. We reached out to Head Coach Dave Schwarz during the Newport, R.I. ATP event this past summer, and 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 organization 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 Aussie-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.
HC: What are your goals on the tour?
JC: I am excited to say that my new coach and I have reach our 2011 goal - 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 Slam for me.
Addtionally, 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.
HC: You made the quarterfinals of Wimbledon doubles this year. Tell me about that result, what it means to you, and what it was like making the second week of Wimbledon?
JC: Playing in the quarterfinals of Wimbledon 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 honor to be there.
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