No. 1 Roberto Cid of the University of South Florida returning a ball against Furman University

Roberto’s journey and sacrifice to play tennis

Transitioning from the Dominican Republic was the next step for elite player

TAMPA, Fla – Roberto Cid is no stranger to the sacrifices that go with playing a Division I sport for a top-ranked university.

When he was 13, the family moved from the Dominican Republic to Florida so that the youngster could pursue a tennis career.

“My sisters wanted to study here and I wanted to play tennis and so because of those things, my parents decided to move here,” Cid said last Friday at the University of South Florida tennis complex.

“Tennis is not as big in the Dominican as it is here, so in order for me to improve and get to a higher level I have to get out of the country, so we decided to move here and go to an academy in Boca Raton.”

There were many challenges.

“I left all my friends and I didn’t speak English back then so it was tough for me in the beginning to get used to the culture here,” said Cid, currently ranked No. 21 in the nation as a member of the USF Bulls.

“There is also a lot of time spent playing your sport and you have to keep practicing every day to stay in shape, otherwise you will fall behind.”

Though he misses the Dominican Republic, he has served his country in the past playing Davis Cup and will have the opportunity to do so once more.

“It’s one of the best feelings to represent your country and it is the biggest team event in tennis,” said Cid, shortly after the Bulls had beaten Furman 4-0. “I haven’t been able to represent my country for about a year and a half because every time we are (also) playing matches here, so it’s been rough.”

“But, this July I will be playing in the finals to go to the World Group, so yes I am excited for that.”

Not only was Cid a former Davis Cup player, he also played on the ATP tour before coming to USF.

“The first thing is that I wanted to get my degree,” Cid said. “I wanted to have something for later and also it’s very expensive to travel on your own and to have a coach.

“So I wanted to just go to school and keep improving and then when I do graduate go back again on the tour with a stronger game, so I can do better.”

Follow Martha @1Misstennis