Currently ranked at 427 on the ATP list for December 13th 2010 this Moldovan Davis Cup player recently competed in his 9th and 10th singles finals on the ITF Pro Circuit. Success in both finals gave him his first titles since November 2009 to set him on a path back into the ATP Top 400.
Recently, we were able to catch up with the ten time Futures finalist.
ITF Pro Circuit : Can you tell us where were you born and maybe describe the area where you grew up?
Roman Borvanov : I was born in Chisinau, Moldova (a former Soviet republic). Chisinau is the capital and I have lived there till 2000. I graduated from high school in 1999 and my mother got lucky that year when she applied for the Diversity Visa (green card) and won it.
ITF Pro Circuit : Do any other members of your family play sport?
Roman Borvanov : I have an older brother who also used to play tennis but finished when he graduated from high school and went to University.
ITF Pro Circuit : So how did you get started in tennis? How old were you? Where did you first play?
Roman Borvanov : My brother was already 12 and playing tennis when I turned 6 and went to the 1st grade. My parents didn’t have many options but to send me to the same tennis academy too. There were 8 clay courts and 2 indoor wood courts. It was the only tennis facility at that time in the whole city! I grew up playing on clay during the warmer months and on hard wood during winter months.
ITF Pro Circuit : What can you tell us about your current coach?
Roman Borvanov : My current coach is Aaron Gross and he is a coach at the University of Portland. He made a big difference in my tennis after I came to play for the University of Portland. I didn’t have a chance to compete in Juniors when I was growing up in Moldova because I didn’t have financial resources and when I came to the US, I didn’t really know how to play on hard courts and physically was pretty weak. During my college years I got stronger, physically and mentally. My coach pushed me on the court every day and wanted me to play professionally after college because he believed I could do it. I started believing in myself more after my Junior year when I went to play my first Futures and qualified during the second one and made a quarterfinal. I went back to school and decided that I would work even harder in my Senior year.
ITF Pro Circuit : Who were/are your tennis idols?
Roman Borvanov : I don’t really have any. When I was a kid I liked watching Ivan Lendl compete. He made the biggest impression on me at that time. His intensity and professionalism struck me the most.
ITF Pro Circuit : What is your greatest tennis memory either as a player or as a fan?
Roman Borvanov : Saving a match point in the first round of my first main draw Futures event match and then winning it 76 in the third set.
ITF Pro Circuit : Away from the tennis court do you have any other interests?
Roman Borvanov : I like reading inspirational books and articles about real life events. Sometimes they help motivate me when things are not so good.
ITF Pro Circuit : If you had not become a tennis player what career path would you have liked to have followed?
Roman Borvanov : Computer software development or some kind of mechanical engineering. I’m very good at math and could apply myself in those fields.
ITF Pro Circuit : In your opinion, what would you say are the best and worst aspects of being a professional tennis player?
Roman Borvanov : The best is being able to travel and see different parts of the world. Worst aspect, I don't get paid enough and do it more for the love of sport.
ITF Pro Circuit : So far in your career, what has been the nicest venue that you played at?
Roman Borvanov : Three years in a row at Indian Wells Tennis Garden. The view is amazing, the conditions are unbelievable and the people are very nice. I have many friends that visit there for vacation and to support me when I play there.
ITF Pro Circuit : What has been the most bizarre venue that you played at?
Roman Borvanov : Very dusty hard courts in Durango, Mexico three weeks ago, where I ended up winning a tournament because I served very well there. During the final the dust from the clay courts was blowing onto the hard court where we played and during the change over they used the blowers to remove the dust off the court.
ITF Pro Circuit : What is the best experience that you had on the ITF Pro Circuit?
Roman Borvanov : Winning two weeks in a row in Mexico last month was the most amazing experience! I worked hard off the court before it and it felt great to rip off the benefits.
ITF Pro Circuit : Which player(s) are you friends with?
Roman Borvanov : I have a few friends from my college team, a few American tennis players (because I play mostly in the states) and my Davis Cup teammates from Moldova.
ITF Pro Circuit : How do players relationships with each other compare on the ITF Pro Circuit to other tournaments you have played?
Roman Borvanov : Player relationships are much better in ITF than ATP or bigger tournaments. In ITF the players are more friendly and I can book a practice with anyone I want. In ATP, nobody will say Hi and nobody will want to practice if they don’t know you very well.
ITF Pro Circuit : How has playing on the ITF Pro Circuit helped you as a player?
Roman Borvanov : It definitely made me tougher mentally because I have to deal with so many things other than tennis when playing a match in the Futures (bad courts, ball change 11/13, no ball boys, sometimes no towels, not enough linesmen and more bad calls, bad stringing jobs...)
ITF Pro Circuit : Would you recommend that top juniors play the ITF Pro Circuit?
Roman Borvanov : Yes, it makes them tougher mentally. Although they have to make sure they don’t get stuck in Futures for too long.
ITF Pro Circuit : What aspect of another players game do you envy?
Roman Borvanov : Serve and volley of Patrick Rafter.
ITF Pro Circuit : If you could only have one Grand Slam title, which would you choose?
Roman Borvanov : Wimbledon.
ITF Pro Circuit : Do you have a favourite holiday destination?
Roman Borvanov : Hawaii.
ITF Pro Circuit : Finally, what has been the best piece of advice you have been given?
Roman Borvanov : "Just shut up and hit the damn ball"
ITF Pro Circuit : Thanks for your time and all the best for 2011.