Andreas Seppi on the Functional Tennis Podcast

Andreas Seppi

59 Consecutive Slams & Counting

Episode 51

We are delighted to announce that Andreas Seppi joins us this week on the Functional Tennis Podcast.

Andreas is an experienced player, having beaten the biggest names in tennis. He has multiple ATP titles to his name.

He talks about everything from growing up in Italy, practicing with Jannik Sinner and beating both Roger Federer & Rafael Nadal.

Andreas tells an interesting story and gives us a look into what his life is like - both on and off the court.

 

If you find it interesting please share the podcast with your tennis friends and family.

Thanks to our sponsors HEAD who allow us to have a producer and a better sounding podcast 🙏


Follow Andreas Seppi on Instagram

https://www.instagram.com/andyseppio

Episode 51 Transcription

 

Andreas Seppi

Hello, this is Andy Seppi and you're listening to the Functional Tennis Podcast.

 

Fabio Molle

Welcome to Episode 51 of the Functional Tennis Podcast. I'm Fabio Molle, your host. This week we have the super nice and super talented Andreas Seppi on the podcast. Andreas has a career high raning of 18, he has won over $10 million in prize money and has had epic wins against many of the world's best during his 18 years on the tour so far. We talked about life in the Rockies, his first baby, his most memorable matches and least memorable matches, life after tennis, tips for juniors and much more. Before we get started, check out our new Instagram account called the Functional Tennis Podcast (@functionaltennispodcast), where you can stay updated on the latest podcast info. Congrats to Sebastian Dietrich on winning the Mansour Brahmi book. Finally shout out to our podcast sponsors HEAD. Okay, let's get chatting to Andreas. Hi, Andy, how are you?

 

Andreas Seppi

Hi, I'm very good, you?

 

Fabio Molle

I'm great. Yeah, welcome to the Functional Tennis Podcast, it's an absolute pleasure to have you on here and excited to talk to you. So tell me how's the tennis going? You're getting a bit of practice in?

 

Andreas Seppi

Yeah, I'm still like practicing but not as much as I normally do. Because the tournament's are still far away, so nobody knows right now when when the tour will be back. So I'm just you know, keeping a certain level of activity. And yeah, just trying to be ready once the tour starts again.

 

Fabio Molle

And where in the world are you now, in Italy or in the Rockies?

 

Andreas Seppi

In Italy. We got back from Colorado in mid May. So also because yeah, we had a baby in end of February. You know, my parents and Michela's parents, you know, they were like putting some pressure. So, so we came back to Italy.

 

Fabio Molle

Nice. You had a little baby girl?

 

Andreas Seppi

Yeah, exactly.

 

Fabio Molle

Yeah. Great. What's her name?

 

Andreas Seppi

Liv

 

Fabio Molle

Oh, very, very nice. And it must be so amazing. We just had our first just nine months ago. And it's totally amazing. Has it changed your outlook on life?

 

Andreas Seppi

Yeah, of course. Yeah. It's I mean, it's a completely different experience. And in the end, you know, with all the problems we had with the virus and everything, I think I was anyway likely to stay, you know, at least at home with my wife and my baby for the first three months. So it was also nice to see her growing and everything. So yeah.

 

Fabio Molle

I'd say that is actually amazing because you guys are traveling most weeks of the year, and I'm sure your wife comes with you some weeks but not every week. So it must be great to be with your baby and you must be getting good at the nappy changes?

 

Andreas Seppi

Haha I am pretty good now, I have to say!

 

Fabio Molle

Tell me who does who does the night shift? Do you split that between you?

 

Andreas Seppi

No, my wife. She's still breastfeeding. So anyway, she has to wake up for her. But, it was just the first month because she was really tiny. So she was just 2,2 kilos, so we had to wake her up every three hours to feed her and but from the first month on, actually, she's sleeping like the whole night. So eight, nine hours. So actually, we are pretty, pretty lucky with that.

 

Fabio Molle

That is pretty good. Our guy gets up. Still, he's up all the night all the time. And breastfeeding was great for the first six months and then it changed a little bit but I wish you all the best with little Liv. That's very exciting. I was speaking to Rohan Bopanna yesterday, and I was like - any questions for Andy? And he was saying when you're in the Rockies, asking him how training was with Scott Davidoff?

 

Andreas Seppi

I mean, he was there coaching. I think the college team for several years. So he spent some time there also. And during the tour, and now just yeah, during Covid, he was there for a week and we caught up. Actually, once on the practice court. So yeah, it was nice, you know, seeing him there also.

 

Fabio Molle

Great. Well, I'm sure Rohan listens to this, I'm sure. So he'll hear this here. So you're from the Dolomites region in Italy. It's close to the Austrian border. And do you consider yourself fully Italian? Or is there a bit of mix?

 

Andreas Seppi

No, I would say I mean, I consider myself as fully Italian, for sure. But, of course, say let's say I grew up with, with German, so I went, like say kindergarten and elementary and middle school, to German school. And then actually, I did the last five years in Italian, so yeah, let's say actually my first language at the beginning was German.

 

Fabio Molle

How many languages you speak now?

 

Andreas Seppi

Yeah, German and Italian and English let's say I mean I understand Spanish and yeah talk a little bit but speak a little bit but not so good Spanish.

 

Fabio Molle

And what was it like growing up? It's a mountainous area, would it be known for its tennis players or for its high level of tennis?

 

Andreas Seppi

Of course it's not like usual place to play tennis. There are much more like winter sports here. I did skiing also and it's a little bit maybe unusual to play tennis. But yeah, like now also Jannik (Sinner) you know, he's on tour, so its already two in not so many years.

 

Fabio Molle

Is Jannik (Sinner) from your region?

 

Andreas Seppi

Yeah, exactly, yeah.

 

Fabio Molle

Oh, wow. And when was the first time you actually practiced with Jannik?

 

Andreas Seppi

I mean, I saw him the first time, I think when he was 12, something like that. Because a good friend of mine, like, showed me. He said, like this guys, this kid is playing really good. So I saw him, like once and then and then yeah, I think at 14 he already went to the, you know, Tennis Center of Ricardo Piatti. And I was also there sometimes practicing with my coach. So yeah, I saw him like in let's say in the early stages already

 

Fabio Molle

Was he impressive when you saw him even as a 12 year old?

 

Andreas Seppi

Yeah, of course. I mean, you can see already you know, like, if somebody has some good strokes, or how he's is on court, I think you can tell a little bit but of course, like 12, is really early.

 

Fabio Molle

Yeah. What do you see in a young player, be a teenager - is something that really sticks out that you go, okay, this guy or girl could be really good in the future.

 

Andreas Seppi

Yeah, I think especially the dedication and everything and how somebody wants to improve and how how he's listening and trying to do you know, the things somebody tells them. So, and how quickly you know, he can do that. So I think that's, you know, that's very important for somebody, who you know, wants to learn to be like, a good player.

 

Fabio Molle

They gotta learn quickly and not make the mistakes again, and keep, keep that loop going and going. Oh, coming back, your from that mountainous area in Italy. How come you decided to relocate over to the Rockies?

 

Andreas Seppi

Yeah, that's a good question. A lot of people ask me this question and there's actually no logic. Because I mean, Colorado is not a tennis place at all. So there is also altitude, it's like 1500 meters. So it's a little bit different. And actually, it was just, you know, like my wife, she was working there one summer at a ranch because she really likes horses and everything. So she was working there. I went there a couple of times to visit her and we had like a round trip and we really liked the place. So we just decided, like, one offseason to to go there to rent a house for a month and to play a little bit there and see how it is. And then in the end we ended up buying a house already after a month. Yeah, and that was like end of 2017. So yeah, and now, I mean, during the year it's anyway difficult to go there because you're always on tour, but we always spend the offseason there. And then, you know, sometimes during the US tournaments, like before Indian Wells or after the US Open, sometimes we spend time there.

 

Fabio Molle

And when you're there, do you find it easier to switch off from tennis?

 

Andreas Seppi

Yeah, it's, it's for sure. There's a lot of, you know, things to do, especially, you know, hiking or with a mountain bike, and we both like nature, so, so it's for sure, you know, the right place to be for us.

 

Fabio Molle

When all this Covid nightmare is over, are you going to be bringing the parents over there?

 

Andreas Seppi

Actually, Michela's parents, they've been there already. And my parents not yet so they definitely want to come to see the place. So yeah, maybe if everything is going well with the the COVID, maybe end of the season or end of the year and they can join us for a bit.

 

Fabio Molle

Nice, they can do a bit of babysitting for you!

 

Andreas Seppi

Exactly.

 

Fabio Molle

It's so it can be hard to get the Italian people to travel outside of Italy sometimes.

 

Andreas Seppi

Yeah, right now for sure. Yeah, right now it's not easy.

 

Fabio Molle

Especially now, especially now. But yeah, that must be exciting though. Are there many Italians living over there?

 

Andreas Seppi

In Colorado you mean?

 

Fabio Molle

Yes.

 

Andreas Seppi

No, no, actually, not. I mean, I haven't met one yet. They prefer more, you know, like touristic destinations like New York or Florida or LA something like that.

 

Fabio Molle

And one question we had from one of our listeners was, are you into the fishing at all? Between the Dolomites and the Rockies, fishing is meant to be really good.

 

Andreas Seppi

Yeah, actually, I went already, like more times in Colorado than here. I have to say. Let's say I'm not really into it, but when when I have to chance sometimes, and, you know, I'm just not playing and I have some time I go, but it's not like that I'm really really into it. Well yeah, I'm still learning like, I would like fly fishing in the river. So yeah, you know, I am trying to learn.

 

Fabio Molle

And we're just gonna we're going to slowly move on to tennis here. You say like Colorado and the Dolomites, are very high. So the high altitude is good for the fitness when you come down to sea level. Has that helped your fitness because I was doing some research and obviously I've known you're always in a big five setter match over the years and you actually got your win percentage is 51,2% in five setters, which is I think is pretty good record but looking at you also have 43 out of 155 matches of your five setters went to five sets, which is pretty crazy.

 

Andreas Seppi

Yeah, for sure. Like, I mean, everybody knows the five setters. I mean, especially in the Grand Slams, and always like, so I had many of them and and as you said, for sure the altitude can help your fitness. I mean, that's the good part, maybe living there, you know, like, for sure. You feel more comfortable on breathing, especially to breathing on sea level and our house where we live in Colorado, it's 2500 meters, so it's even higher. So it's pretty high

 

Fabio Molle

Do you really feel that at sea level? Do you feel the lungs just breathing more freely?

 

Andreas Seppi

Especially at the beginning. I mean, of course it's it's I mean, when you go for high altitude to too low. You can adapt quickly with tennis. I mean, I just need a couple of days and that's fine but with the breathing I feel that I have for a couple of weeks for sure some bonus let's say and but the most difficult thing is the opposite from you know the low altitude to go to the high right also playing you need much more time I always like let's say a week or something to really adapt to that and to the breathing and so. So yeah, I take it as an advantage you know for sure for the fitness and especially now with 36 you have to be fit to compete with the young players.

 

Fabio Molle

True. You need any advantage you can get. Has training changed now that you're in your mid 30s compared to your late 20s? Do you do less practice more fitness or more mobility, etc?

 

Andreas Seppi

Yeah, I think it has. It has changed and, of course I spend less time on court before I was always hitting twice a day and having some fitness. Now actually, I prefer hitting once maybe, you know, a longer session two hours or two and a half, and then have more time, the half the other half of the day to do fitness and so I think that changed a lot. And also, of course, like with my hip problems, I had the last you know, four or five years I do a lot of mobility also for my shoulder. So I normally always spend like an hour before I start practicing with all my daily exercises.

 

Fabio Molle

All this little strength work that people don't do when they are 20 all of a sudden change. Yeah, I think no matter what level of sport you are, being a professional athlete or an amateur, everybody gets to that age - their mid 30s. So earlier, some a bit later you have to do that prehab work every time or else you're just going to fall apart. Coming on to matches, what has been your most favorite match in your 18 years on tour now?

 

Andreas Seppi

Yeah, favorite you said?

 

Fabio Molle

Yeah, the one that stands out the most. The one that you will tell your grandchildren.

 

Andreas Seppi

I mean, it's really difficult to pick just just one you know.

 

Fabio Molle

Or just one of them.

 

Andreas Seppi

Yeah, but for sure like the I mean the win over Roger at the Australian Open is something special because beating him I think in a Grand Slam is for sure very hard. Especially like, in his, in his good years or whatever. And I mean, he still has good years. And then, yeah, of course, I think the win over Rafa I mean, they are the things two of the best players in history or the two best players in history. So to have beaten them once at least is for sure something special. I think I will put like maybe a couple more - the one with Wawrinka in Rome. It was like three and a half hour match I won like 7-6 in the third and he had like six match points and it was just like an unreal atmosphere. I never had like that atmosphere again in none of my matches, not in Davis Cup and not on tour so it was just like a really unbelievable atmosphere. So just because of that, I would say I always you know, I want l remember that match. And then maybe one more match in Davis Cup against Ferrero. It was one of my first Davis Cup matches and he was like, let's say one of my my idols growing up, his game style and everything I liked it a lot and I won like in a five setter. I think I was 2-0 down in sets and you know, coming back and winning the match it was for sure something special.

 

Fabio Molle

You've definitely played in a lot of classic matches. I see you've beaten nearly everybody. But there was one guy that stood out and this may probably lead on to my next question. The toughest loss to take?

 

Andreas Seppi

Yeah, I mean, for sure one is against Kyrgios at the Open. It was the match after Roger. It was to go to the quarterfinals. And I was leading two sets to love and I had one match point in the fourth set, actually. I mean, he was serving he has served like a big first serve. And, I mean, I was there but I missed the return. So that was a tough loss, I would say and maybe the toughest. And then I think also maybe against Novak also at Roland Garros, I was leading two sets to love also to go to the quarterfinal and I lost to him in five. I mean, I didn't have a real chance maybe. I still was like five all in the fourth and everything. But still I was playing really good. And yeah, maybe I could do a little bit more, maybe to win that match. So yeah.

 

Fabio Molle

Is it sometimes in those matches where you're two sets love up - Let's say you're playing Novak. And it's just like it goes out of your control. You can't, you know, Novak just raises his level or whoever you're playing, just raises their level and you just can't get a grip. Is that what can happen?

 

Andreas Seppi

Yeah, of course, I mean, especially against those players also 2 sets to love. I mean, the match is not over, you know, like, it has nothing to say. He's a he's a great champion and I mean, he has, he won so many slams, and maybe he knows also to how to come back from those matches. But yeah, it's was just you know a I think also a great opportunity so me and then to beat him once because he's the one of the players missing.

 

Fabio Molle

2021 - Novak, watch out!

 

Andreas Seppi

Yeah, exactly.

 

Fabio Molle

If you were to play, you don't give away your secrets here but if you were playing Novak tomorrow, what would you do differently than you've done before?

 

Andreas Seppi

I think it's difficult to say because every match is I think different and depends on the surface and everything and you know, I think I had some really good and close matches against him, but I just never could do the like the, you know, the last step or like closing it out and like, I don't know, I think I played for sure one of my best time is always against him because anyway against these guys. I mean, you have to play them anyway - you don't have anything to lose so you go in and try you know to play aggressive and everything and I normally always play one of my best tennis especially against those guys so yeah you know I just hope to get another opportunity and see how I can handle that.

 

Fabio Molle

You will. Keep up that mobility work and you'll get it. Which is your favorite slam out of all four of them?

 

Andreas Seppi

I really like Australia I mean for sure I also had the best results there but I just like you know, to go there after a good preparation, offseason preparation so I always feel really, really good physically and you know, confident to go and on the tour again and especially after maybe five weeks, you know of hard practice. You can't wait to start playing matches again. So, I always go there and play my best tennis so and yeah, also the atmosphere there and the climate is nice. So you're actually now I think, in a great city and you're in the city and the facility is just, you know, five minutes away, which is also comfortable for players. And they always have, you know, great, great service there. So I think it's, I mean, for me, my favorite tournament,

 

Fabio Molle

I've said it on the podcast before, I've been down there last year, and I thought it was amazing compared to the others. Craig Tiley has done a great job down there. And the players obviously seem to love it. It's great. You come off the off season. I'm sure you're just pumped to play want to get on court. you've trained hard and just want to play matches. So I can see that makes it a bit special. You've quite a calm personality on court. Is that trained or Have you always been been calm over the years?

 

Andreas Seppi

No, I've always been like that. Also, from junior on and I don't know, maybe, you know from the north. of Italy you are a little bit more calm than from, from comparing to to the south and I don't know it then depends also on the personality and everything and my parents, they were also always like pretty calm and they actually always let me decide, you know what I wanted to do, which I think helped me.

 

Fabio Molle

Fabio Fognini he's from is it San Remo? That would be quite north, would it? What would you consider it?

 

Andreas Seppi

Yeah, it's I think it's, it's more north than than south still. Yeah. And yeah, like his temper is for sure different than mine on court and and yeah, but I think it's it's nice to to have guys like him or and I think it will be boring to just have guys like me and just guys like him, you know? You think you need perhaps a mix of you know, personality and that's it that makes the sport interesting.

 

Fabio Molle

I agree. You need your mix, but I'd say his genes are more Sicilian than northern Italian. He's good. I like him. One thing that was asked was your racket. You use ProKennex. Not many players out there actually use ProKennex. How did that come about?

 

Andreas Seppi

I finished my year actually. I think it was the end of 2005 like it was my first year in the top 100 and I was like training offseason and they you know, they just wanted me to test some rackets. And then I was playing actually with the HEAD prestige before and this one is actually the same or like pretty similar to that one. So I just started you know, like, practicing with that racket and I really liked it. From then on actually, I just, you know, I always kept playing with with that racket and they actually have a big establishment in the north of Italy, like just two hours so my home so, you know, I knew them already from when I was younger so we had a good you know relationship and from then on actually I always played with that racket, and actually they were pretty big I think maybe in the 1990s or something like that. But then actually they stopped and yeah, right now also they are, focusing more on you know, producing rackets for club players, you know, for the elbow with the kinetic system and everything. So they don't really, you know, go to the pro tour lets say.

 

Fabio Molle

You're one of the few. Have you used the same racket since 2006. Or have they modified it?

 

Andreas Seppi

It's, yeah, it's different material. But let's say the frame is still the same. They just changed some like material and balance a little bit and but yeah I I stuck with that kind of let's say frame, prestige frame. I tried like to switch few times with the Babolat pure drive. Yeah but it's you know it has the advantage but then also you don't feel so comfortable with some other things so it's, I think if you play for for more than 15 years with with one type of racket it's really difficult to to switch.

 

Fabio Molle

True, and your skills are that fine tuned that I'm sure if you get a Babolat pure Aero and your game is built on consistency - and all of a sudden you start spraying the back fence, which can be bad for business. We've two more questions for you. One is, obviously you're 36 now I know you could have many more years left depending on you love the game and take care of your body. Have you thought of after tennis? What's going to happen? Or have you planned any businesses?

 

Andreas Seppi

Yeah, I mean, like, my wife's parents are into the hotel business and we have like, a nice spot in Colorado in the mountains there we would like to do also something like a ranch. You know, and, like, maybe building some cabins and yeah, have like a lodge something like that. There and, you know, we we are working a little bit on that to see how, how we can go and, you know, it's also difficult to get all the permissions and everything so and yeah, we'll see how, yeah, we'll see how that works out. And then yeah, I think it's it's difficult to maybe to, to coach or something because you really have to be on the way again, you know, every week and I would not like to miss, you know, like my family and my life for so long again. So I think it's difficult to see me maybe coaching or something but you never say never, you know?

 

Fabio Molle

You seem like somebody who would just be happy on his ranch in Colorado with loads of animals, loads of fresh air, loads of nature, and just having fun with your family. That's what it sounds like. Last question Andy, and we asked this to all our guests. What advice do you have for young players? Let's say you saw Jannik - 14 year old. What did you say to him?

 

Andreas Seppi

I mean, for sure. It's, iportant or nice to be in a place where you have already some some pro players, you know, or where you can work with people who actually worked with some pro players and they had some success and everything. I think of course that helps, you know, because you, you can give them confidence, you know, when they tell you something that's like this, it's goning to work, you know. So then of course, you know, every player is different and every player you have to work differently, but I think to have a good team and everything around to you, for sure, also in the early stages helps, you know, because I saw a lot of like, good Italian players, maybe they, they were really good when they were young, but then maybe they go to 18/19 years and then they try to change the game once they are like maybe 18 or 20. I think it's difficult, you know, to change something in your game like late, something big in your game, like later, you know, I think if you should do it when you're 14/15 it's much easier. So I think that's one for sure. One important thing, and then it's I think it's good also if you have some other good kids around you. Because anyway, you have to have some fun, you know, on the court and outside of the court, especially at that age, because if you are alone, then, you know, it can be, can be difficult, you know, you sometimes its sad, you know, don't have like kids, maybe your age around you. And I think I was lucky also here when I grew up to have, you know, like many, many kids my age or even maybe a little bit older, and to, you know, to do stuff also outside of the of the court. So I think that can help for sure. And, I mean, in the end, it's, you know, we know that it needs a lot of dedication, but if somebody loves the sport, and I think everything, it's easy.

 

Fabio Molle

Will Liv be playing tennis in the future?

 

Andreas Seppi

Haha I mean, it depends on her of course. Like every parents say they don't want to they don't want to put pressure and you know, on what their kids want to do, but if she likes playing for sure I will, I will help her, you know, play and yeah, obviously if it's also I think there (Colorado) it's more difficult to see some tennis courts

 

Fabio Molle

You can build it on your ranch! Well Andy, thank you very much for coming on really enjoyed that. And hopefully tennis gets back to normal very soon and dizzy hopefully there is a US Open for you to go and take down Novak.

 

Andreas Seppi

Yeah, would be for sure a good place

 

Fabio Molle

Yeah. Okay. Thank you.

 

Andreas Seppi

Thanks a lot. Thank you. Thank you Fabio.

 

Fabio Molle

I hope you enjoyed the chat. I certainly did. And it was great to find out more about Andy. Next week I'll be back with an internationally renowned coach and expert who has worked with top athletes in different fields, something a bit different, but plenty to be learned. Until then. Hope you get out on the tennis court. Bye

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