Coming to the United States was an opportunity freshman Antonio Cembellin could not pass up.
The ability to pursue both tennis and a full-time degree at the same time was something Cembellin said was not available in Spain. He wanted a shot at being a professional tennis player, but he also wanted an education.
However, it was not as if Cembellin woke up one morning and receive numerous offers from colleges in the U.S. He had to put himself out there for his talents to be noticed.
“I posted my videos on YouTube for coaches to see and IU found it,” Cembellin said. “I also posted all my records online for coaches to see.”
Making a decision to pursue tennis full-time was also not done quickly.
Cembellin, from Avila, Spain, had a first love of soccer and supports Real Madrid. Cembellin’s father though, told him his frame was too slight to ever make the cut at the professional level.
Besides sports, Cembellin also studied in a conservatory in Spain, and he plays both the piano and the trumpet.
“I made the decision between tennis and soccer at 12,” Cembellin said. “Actually when I was 12 I was playing soccer, tennis and music. I have been playing the trumpet for 10 years and the piano for five.”
Cembellin was a recruit of former IU Coach Randy Bloemendaal, and the Spaniard eventually committed to the Hoosiers because he believed IU had a good academic program to complement its tennis.
“I feel that some schools are only good in tennis and not good in studies while some are only good in studies, but IU has both,” Cembellin said. “I’m studying biotechnology here, and as kid I always wanted to do biotech or biochemistry.”
Though Bloemendaal recruited Cembellin, there were no complications with him getting up to speed with current coach Jeremy Wurtzman.
Wurtzman said he feels that it was easier to establish a relationship with Cembellin as they were in contact for close to a year prior to Cembellin’s arrival.
“We established relationship with Antonio right after I was hired last January,” Wurtzman said. “We definitely had a relationship coming into the fall, and I probably had a closer relationship with him than the other players because I had at least six months to get to know him before I started coaching him.”
Wurtzman said he feels Cembellin has contributed positively to the team since his arrival and Cembellin has also notched a few victories in the spring including the clincher over against Marquette at the end of January.
“Coming in we did have expectations that he was going to be very successful. What we’ve liked from Antonio is that he is very quick and fast out on the court and he also has very good ground strokes and a feel for the game,” Wurtzman said. “The two freshman have transitioned well and it’s only going to get better with the start that they’ve had, and I feel that’s a true telling of good they are because they are doing well shortly after starting.”