20-year old German player Cedrik-Marcel Stebe recently won consecutive singles titles in Antalya, Turkey. These two titles, his first of 2011, will certainly help his climb up the ATP rankings ladder.
Currently sitting just outside the ATP Top 300, we were able to catch up with the player this week.
ITF Pro Circuit : Can you tell us where were you born and maybe describe the area where you grew up?
Cedrik-Marcel Stebe : I was born in Germany in Mühlacker and I grew up in Vaihingen/Enz, both cities are located quite close to Stuttgart. Vaihingen/Enz has a castle which is the town's landmark on a hill and it's now used as a Christian youth hostel.
ITF Pro Circuit : Do any other members of your family play sport?
Cedrik-Marcel Stebe : Everybody used to play tennis in my family, my father also plays golf.
ITF Pro Circuit : So how did you get started in tennis?
Cedrik-Marcel Stebe : Well, my parents became members in a club, so I went with them, tried it and loved it immediately. I was about 3 1/2 years old when I had a racket in my hand and used it in the sandbox for the first time. I started at a local club, a pretty small one where my dad taught me the first lesson when I was about 3 years old.
ITF Pro Circuit : What can you tell us about your current coach?
Cedrik-Marcel Stebe : I’m being coached now by Benjamin Ebrahimzadeh who played quite successful on the ATP Tour and who is the Chief Coach at the Schuettler & Waske Tennis University in Offenbach near Frankfurt am Main.
Always when Alexander [Waske] is not on tour with Michael Berrer, he and Benjamin take care of me. Alexander started his professional tennis career in 2000 and held a career high ATP Singles ranking of 86 in 2006 and in the Doubles his highest ranking was 16 in 2007. Benjamin Ebrahimzadeh was also quite successful on the tour.
ITF Pro Circuit : Who were/are your tennis idols?
Cedrik-Marcel Stebe : I loved Marat Safin when I was young, I really liked his temper and how he smashed all of his rackets!
ITF Pro Circuit : What is your greatest tennis memory either as a player or as a fan?
Cedrik-Marcel Stebe : There were lots of tennis moments which were great but if I had to favour one it would be winning the US Open Junior Doubles title. There is nothing better than the feeling of winning a Grand-Slam title, even it was only in Juniors and in Doubles.
ITF Pro Circuit : Away from the tennis court do you have any other interests?
Cedrik-Marcel Stebe : I like playing instruments like the drums or piano, I also like playing golf to relax, basically I like every other sport.
ITF Pro Circuit : Do you have a favourite holiday destination?
Cedrik-Marcel Stebe : It's tough to say. There are so many places I'd like to go to, but probably I would pick Florida. I have been there many times already and I would go there over and over again.
ITF Pro Circuit : If you had not become a tennis player what career path would you have liked to have followed?
Cedrik-Marcel Stebe : For sure I would have something with sports, I can't live without sport. When I was young I played tennis and soccer at the same time, so I guess I could have become a quite good soccer player.
ITF Pro Circuit : In your opinion, what would you say are the best and worst aspects of being a professional tennis player?
Cedrik-Marcel Stebe : I think being away from home, your family, girlfriend and all your friends [is the worst aspect]. The best is that you get to see other places, different countries. That’s what all my friends tell me. But you don't get to see much but I’d still say it is the best aspect.
ITF Pro Circuit : So far in your career, what has been the nicest venue that you played at?
Cedrik-Marcel Stebe : I really liked the ATP tournament in Umag, Croatia. It is next to the ocean, nice atmosphere, simply amazing.
ITF Pro Circuit : What has been the most bizarre venue that you played at?
Cedrik-Marcel Stebe : I haven't really had a bizarre venue.
ITF Pro Circuit : What is the best experience that you had on the ITF Pro Circuit?
Cedrik-Marcel Stebe : That was when I won my first title on the ITF Men's Tour last year in Italy from qualification. I felt so much pressure falling off my shoulders. I played a few finals already but hadn't won a title yet. So this really released me somehow.
ITF Pro Circuit : Which player(s) are you friends with?
Cedrik-Marcel Stebe : Lots of guys I can't list them all.
ITF Pro Circuit : How do players relationships with each other compare on the ITF Pro Circuit to other tournaments you have played?
Cedrik-Marcel Stebe : Well I think they are good. Haven't had a bad experience yet.
ITF Pro Circuit : How has playing on the ITF Pro Circuit helped you as a player?
Cedrik-Marcel Stebe : I got lots of matches, because at the beginning I had to play qualification pretty often and that gave me confidence fighting through that I am able to play at Challengers or even at ATP tournaments.
ITF Pro Circuit : Would you recommend that top juniors play the ITF Pro Circuit?
Cedrik-Marcel Stebe : Yes I think they should start to get the feeling how the world looks like in Men's tennis and that being a top Junior is just the start of everything.
ITF Pro Circuit : What aspect of another player’s game do you envy?
Cedrik-Marcel Stebe : I like it how Roger Federer keeps motivating himself for every match even though he already had that many matches, he always finds a way to motivate himself.
ITF Pro Circuit : If you could only have one Grand Slam title, which would you choose?
Cedrik-Marcel Stebe : I can not choose between them I want to win them all!
ITF Pro Circuit : What has been the best piece of advice you have been given?
Cedrik-Marcel Stebe : Just put the ball once more into the court than your opponent, then you will win.
ITF Pro Circuit : Finally, have you set yourself any goals for 2011?
Cedrik-Marcel Stebe : Well I haven't set my goals on ranking but I just think that I have to keep working on the things I need to improve and everything else will come when I'm ready.
ITF Pro Circuit : Thanks for your time.