First-Time Winner Spotlight: Francisco Cerundolo
Cerundolo’s early season form saw him break the Top 100 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings for the first time in February and reach his first ATP Masters 1000 semi-final in March. Last week in Sweden, he upset top seed Casper Ruud for his first Top 10 win and also defeated Pedro Sousa, Aslan Karatsev and Pablo Carreno Busta to take the title at the clay-court ATP 250 event. The triumph lifted the 23-year-old to a career-high No. 30 on Monday.
ATPTour.com caught up with Cerundolo after his win over Baez to find out what the victory means for the in-form Argentine.
What does it mean to you to win your first ATP Tour title?
To win my first title is amazing. It feels fantastic and it is a dream come true. I’m really happy because I played a really good week, some amazing matches, with good wins against very tough players. So I’m very proud of myself.
Could you take a moment to acknowledge some of the key figures in your life and career who have helped you to reach this milestone?
My family is important in my tennis and my life because my parents are both coaches. They have an academy in Buenos Aires, so I think tennis is a big part of my family. They helped me a lot since I was a kid. I chose to play tennis myself, they did not [force] me, but after I made that decision, they helped me a lot.
My family and my friends are key in my life, because they give me stability when I am away, and it is fantastic to go back home to be with them to not feel like a tennis player.
How would you describe yourself as a player, and how would you describe yourself off the court?
As a player I like to play aggressive, like to dictate with my forehand. I think everyone notices that. I also can defend really well, but my most important element is to be aggressive.
Off court, I think I am a chill person. Relaxed, not stressed, and really happy. I like to study, but mostly a relaxed person who doesn’t get stressed with everything.
You and your brother Juan Manuel Cerundolo now have one ATP Tour title each. Are you motivated by each other’s success?
It’s really nice that I have tied my brother with one ATP title now. I think it’s amazing to share life on Tour with my brother, because it is tough, and you always travel alone. Of course, you have friends on Tour, but being with your family is an extra motivation, I think.
Back in Buenos Aires we practise a lot, we discuss a lot of tennis, a lot of knowledge, and we can share a lot of knowledge and experiences. There is no pressure or competition between us, it is all positive.
You are studying an online degree alongside your life on the ATP Tour. What motivates you to do that?
I finished high school when I was 18 years old and after that I went to college in the U.S. and did seven or eight months in economics. I left because I wanted to go pro, but then I found out I had this option to keep studying while playing on Tour.
I will continue to do it because I like economics. It’s not that I love studying, but it is cool to not only be thinking about tennis. It’s always good for me and my brain, and I will continue studying until I get my degree hopefully one day.
Your favourite school subject was math… does that apply to tennis too? Do you enjoy looking at your match stats to work out where you need to improve your game?
I love maths, and that’s why I study economics. I didn’t study engineering because it is impossible with tennis, but I love everything with numbers. I love looking at stats. It is not that I use it too much in tennis, but I probably discuss with my coach or my parents some stats that I’ve seen. Brain games are also fun for me.
We’ve read your dream job would be to be a singer…do you sing often?
I sing all the time. In the shower, when I go to my room and put music on. That’s my passion. I don’t have a favourite karaoke song, but I like reggaeton a lot, and Bob Marley is one of my favourites. It’s not that I listen to one type of music. I like rock, I like pop. It depends on my mood.