Good evening Fabrizio Caldarone! First of all, please tell us a little about your career in tennis?
First of all Tennis has always been a very important part of my life since I was a child.
I tried to play professionally when I was younger and traveled around the world playing challengers, but always in combination with my academic career. In fact after obtaining my university degree in International Political Science at the university of Padua, I achieved a Masters in Sports Marketing & Management in Paris.
After that I had the opportunity to work as a tour manager for important companies and also as a manager for professional players.
Both have been extremely interesting experiences and allowed me to travel all over the world, and to meet interesting people. I had the opportunity to work with players at different levels from the top players, to wheelchair players and also young kids. The social responsibility and activity has always been very important to me, and I had the opportunity to join Tennis for Africa Foundation. There I was able to give the opportunity to many kids to play Tennis especially in Tanzania.
The coaching side is also an important part of my career, and it is the activity I am focusing on the most in the last few years, trying to help young players reach professional Tennis.
So you have just completed a contract in Shanghai, China…Please tell us about the culture and how tennis is in China?
The growth of Tennis in China is definitely very important, and there is a lot of interest there. The number of tournaments at different levels organized in China is a demonstration of the effort that they are doing. Obviously the Tennis tradition and culture cannot be compared to the ones in Europe, but the whole scene is improving fast.
I think that they should focus much more also on the game strategy and on the tactics solutions, which are crucial to determine the real improvement of the players. Also, I believe that the good juniors should play more tournaments in Europe, where the junior level is more competitive.
The local coaches are motivated to learn and improve their background, and organizations like PTR and the GPTCA are very active in organizing interesting courses for them.
What was your role in China, and how much were you able to help the Chinese tennis population?
My position within the Shanghai Tennis Team was head coach. I surely hope that I have been able to help and to give a positive contribution. It has been a great and tough experience for me, extremely intense also from a human stand point. The whole experience was positive and I learned a lot, which is extremely important in our job, like in all jobs I guess.
They say tennis is on the rise in Asia, but in particular China. Would you agree with this statement? From your experience, who are the next big stars to come out of Asia?
Yes sure, Chinese Tennis is growing so much! It is difficult to guess who will be the next star specially in men’s Tennis. There are a few good young players, but, as we know, the global competition is very high in all age groups. Surely, sooner or later China will produce a great player, but I think this player will come out from the next generation of players that are now probably still under 14 or even under 12.
You were a speaker at the recent PTR Asia Conference. How did you feel about that experience? Would you feel there is a lot of good coaches in Asia?
The recent Asia PTR Symposium organized in the prestigious Shanghai Racquet Club has been a real great experience. The organization was just perfect and we were several international speakers. Personally I made two presentations, one on court about the rythm or the direction change from the baseline, or both the direction and rythm change at the same time.
The other presentation was in the conference room about my experience on tour with professional players and also about their several commitments to respect.
The participation of coaches from all Asia has been very important as well as their curiosity and interest to learn and to improve their level.
Finally, where does the World of Tennis bring you next? Any exciting projects on the horizon for you?
Now back in Europe with my family, other than a short period of holidays, I am looking for a new interesting project in which my experience and background both as a manager and as an international coach could be used in the best way.
Thanks very much Fabrizio Caldarone for your time. I think the topic of tennis in different countries is really important to hear about and is great to hear that tennis is on the rise. If you would like to see more about Fabrizio you are welcome to check out his site.
Mark Wylam (Owner Sportsprosconnect.com)