Grazie, Andy: Tribute to Andreas Seppi, The Professional | ATP . round

When Andreas Seppi He was seven years old, and among his hobbies are playing football and skiing. Tennis was not on his radar because his family had never played the sport.

But one day, Sippy’s childhood best friend tried tennis, so Andy wanted to give it a try. After more than three decades, the 38-year-old Italian on Tuesday ended a career in which he finished in the top 100 at the end of the year for 15 consecutive years (2005-19), winning 386 tour-level matches and three ATP tours. . titles.

“I would have signed right away if someone had said to me, ‘You can play until age 38,'” Sippy told ATPTour.com. “I feel really fortunate to have been able to do this for so long.”

When the current world is number 1 Carlos Alcaraz Sippy has had a Pepperstone ATP rating for two and a half years. The veteran has been a fixture at the top of the men’s games ever since, constantly competing against the best players in the world.

Sippy defeated a group of superstars including Roger FedererAnd the Rafael NadalAnd the Stan WawrinkaAnd the Daniel Medvedev And the Leighton Hewitt, which helped him climb to No. 18 in the world in his career. But perhaps the most impressive thing about Sippy’s journey was not the level he reached, but his longevity.

Federer, Sippy
Image source: Peter Staples / ATP Tour
The Italian has competed in 66 consecutive Grand Slam draws Wimbledon In 2005 until this year Australian Open. This is the third longest streak in history behind only Feliciano Lopez (79) and Fernando Verdasco (67).

“I remember when I got close to the top 100 and then got inside, I finished the year maybe 70 or something. I was always thinking somehow, ‘Okay, I hope I can stay a few more years in the top 100,'” Sippy recalls. “Now looking back and seeing that I’ve been doing this for 15 straight years is something I never expected early in my career, and so I think maybe that’s the part I’m most proud of, just because I’ve been able to stay in like this high level for a long time.

“Of course I could have won other tournaments or maybe my top rating would have been a little better, but this feat of playing all these years at this level, I think is the most special for me.”

Part of the reason Sippy was one of the most consistent players of his generation was his work ethic. The Italian was a consummate professional, which you would call a professional pro. countryman Fabio Fognini Share an honest message to his friend and colleague on Instagram.

“It was great to share so many years together in the ring. You have been a friend, companion, foe but above all an example of dedication, professionalism and strength of will,” Fognini wrote. “You have always pushed me, pushed me to be better every time we faced each other. I hug you and wish you the best for the future.”

The ATP Tour champion on all three surfaces – on turf in Eastbourne (2011), mud in Belgrade and difficult in Moscow (both 2012) – Sippy wasn’t the most vocal player on or off the court. But he was a tough contender and a gracious fellow who was kind to everyone around him, treating top stars, up-and-coming players, and tournament staff the same way.

Seppi was first introduced to Yannick Sener When his countryman was 12 years old and he always made himself a supplier.

“Congratulations on a great career, my friend,” Sener wrote on Instagram. “You are a great example and we will miss you.”

Seppi has played some memorable matches, including the victory over Federer in the third round of 2015 Australian OpenNadal in Rotterdam in 2008 and Wawrinka in the final set tiebreaker to reach the quarter-finals of Rome 2012. He also jumped from two sets down to stun the former world number one Juan Carlos Ferrero In the 2005 Davis Cup game.

“There were quite a few very interesting things,” Sippy said.

This season, minor injuries are starting to make his ability to stay at the top of the sport difficult.

“After the first three months I started to suffer a little more with some of the smaller things, a little bit with the shoulder, a little bit with my back. Let’s say little aches, nothing serious, but always something. I didn’t have time to get back in shape and play more,” said Sippy. of championships in a row.” “When I played three consecutive matches in US Open and lost [in the] The last round of qualifiers, I played three days in a row and the third match I was struggling with my shoulder and back. There I learned that my body couldn’t do this anymore.

From this point of view, it was an easy decision [to retire] because I thought it was not possible to play three or four games in a row anymore… The recovery process is much slower. [It was] It’s just hard to keep up with all these guys.”

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With Sippy’s career winding down, his family will return to Boulder, Colorado, where the Italian bought a home in December 2017. While he doesn’t have concrete plans for the future – traveling as a full-time coach wouldn’t be part of those. Plans – Sippy says his two sons are going to school in Colorado. The 38-year-old will have time to reflect on an impressive career path.

Sippy chuckled, before saying, “Sure there will be some good stories.”

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