The British and European #1 has taken the Tennis Europe Junior Tour by storm over the past few months. The racquet is the weapon of choice for this mild-mannered son of Moldovan parents, and he is as lethal with it on the court as he is humble off it.
Ceban juggles school, tennis competitions and living the life of a “normal” teenager from his home base in South-East London.
Dealing with sponsors and the mounting media requests, we grabbed the chance to have a one-on-one with the player who has stepped up his game and stamped his authority on the tour since last summer.
When do you remember first wanting to play tennis?
I was around 4 years old when I first picked up a tennis racquet. I remember that I just started playing with my brother in the local park.
Who are your favourite male and female players/inspirations?
I’m a fan of Sasha Zverev and Emma Raducanu.
How did you first hear about the Tennis Europe Junior Tour (TEJT) and what made you decide to play on the tour?
Well, it was my parents who signed me up for my first TEJT tournament because I wanted to take my tennis to the next level on the international circuit.
What are your favourite tournaments on the TEJT?
What stands out most for me is winning Les Petits As in Tarbes. I also enjoyed KKDP in Stockholm as well as Maia in Portugal. In fact, I’ll be returning to Maia this year.
What do you think about the Tennis Europe Junior School?
Honestly, I think, the Junior School is quite useful and is a great opportunity to learn new information.
What’s your day-to-day routine like?
Every day is different (smiles) but usually, if I am not competing, I have a set routine. At 7am I take the train to school in the morning and do my tennis training in the afternoon.
How do you successfully combine training, tournaments and school?
It's only possible because my school (Wilson's Grammar School in London) is super supportive!
What are some of the best aspects of the TEJT?
It's very diverse and there is a high level of competition.
What can be improved?
Possibly the number of practice courts available for the players during the tournament.
How do you decide on what tournaments to play?
It’s a collaboration between me, my coaching team and the LTA National Coaches.
Are you pleased with your results so far on the TEJT?
Yes, but there's room for improvement!
What part/s of your game do you think you need to work on the most?
As I aim to play on the ATP tour, all areas of my game will need constant improvement.
Who are your closest friends on the tour and is there a healthy rivalry among the players on the TEJT?
Those people know who they are (smiles) and as for rivalries, it's too soon to tell but there's always good competitive spirit.
What are your goals for 2023?
To start playing more junior ITFs while maintaining a strong position in Tennis Europe junior ranking.
And beyond that?
To be the best tennis player I can be!
What’s the “coolest” place you’ve ever played?
Wimbledon Championships, the All-England Lawn Tennis Club.
What’s the most interesting city you’ve ever visited?
I live in London, it's hard to beat (smiles).
Tell us more about your Dunlop partnership.
My mother contacted the Dunlop representative in the UK. Martin Hodgkinson came to my tennis session and we took it from there. Also, I have now taken part in two Dunlop training camps at the Mouratoglou Academy, and it's been a great experience for me.
Do you think there is too much pressure on young tennis players to win?
Tennis is about managing the pressure. However, for me it's always about improvement and enjoyment!
Do you have time to hang out with friends and do, let’s say, ‘everyday teenager stuff’?
It's tough, time is limited, but my school friends are there for me.
Building on that, what are your hobbies/what do you like to do in your free time?
Spend time with my family, especially when my big brother is coming home. Also, I like to read books, play chess, and watch Formula 1.
Big picture. What’s your dream?
Hopefully, to become a successful professional tennis player.
Any final thoughts or something you would like to comment about that I have not mentioned?
Just to say a big thank you to the whole Tennis Europe Junior Tour team for doing such a great job!