Thursday, July 8, 2004

Former Met champion ready for new challenge in doubles


By Colleen Kane
Enquirer staff writer

Cedric Kauffmann, a former tennis professional on the Challenger circuit and the 2003 Met singles champion, returns to the Met this year, but he won't defend his title. Instead, Kauffmann pairs with Brian Nester as the second doubles seed. They will vie for their first doubles title. In singles, Kauffmann will take a seat and watch as a fan, hoping his friends will succeed.

We caught up with the Paris native and Five Seasons pro Wednesday.

Question: Why aren't you playing singles this year?

Answer: I've tried not to play too many tournaments. And I'm teaching a lot of people in the draw this year, some juniors who can make a name for themselves and maybe win the Met. I'd rather let them get a chance. Matt Dektas (a co-worker) and (Ryan and Michael) McCarthy, who I hit with once in awhile, have a good chance. ... I have a lot of friends in the draw, and I would rather be a spectator instead of going out there and hustling. I've hustled enough.

Q: What are your chances in doubles?

A: It's a good tournament, so to win is going to be tough. But someone is going to have to play well to beat us. ... We're getting used to playing with each other.

Q: Have you ever played defending champs Jeff Wolf and Dan Kronauge?

A: Never played them. I've seen Wolf in pro-ams around town. And I know Kronauge from college and stuff like that. They're a very good doubles team.

Q: What progress have you made?

A: My tennis has slowed down. The only time I hit is with the juniors. I'm the head pro at Five Seasons (Cincinnati). It's a great time. I'm loving it. It's a great job.

Q: Have you played any tournaments recently?

A: I played one money tournament in Dayton a couple months ago, but other than that just the Met.

Q: What's your advice to someone who's just getting started in tennis?

A: Just try it. Grab a racket and a friend, or borrow a racket. It's a great game, a great workout. It's fun and a good time with your friends. ... And you can play throughout your life, from when you're 4 or 5 until you're 95.

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