© Andreas Seppi

Italian Andreas Seppi has spent the past two off-seasons in Colorado.

Andreas Seppi: From Italy To... Colorado?

Seppi is the sixth seed at the Delray Beach Open

It’s not all that surprising to hear of an Italian player spending time training in the southern United States. For example, Fabio Fognini has spent time practising in Miami, Florida.

But an Italian setting up their future in frigid Boulder, Colorado? That’s a different story. Yet that’s exactly what veteran Andreas Seppi has done over the past couple of years.

Seppi’s wife wanted to earn a Master’s degree at the University of Colorado. So the couple went to Boulder in November of 2017. And by December, they bought a house.

“We were there for two months and I did my off-season there. We liked the place, it’s a really nice place. It’s similar to where we live back home in Italy. We live in the Dolomites, which is in the mountains,” Seppi said. “When we have the chance and we have some off time, we always go back there.”

Last year, Seppi missed nearly two months after Rotterdam due to a hip injury. Where did he go? Colorado. The Italian also returned with his wife to Boulder for a couple of weeks before the US Open. He then completed his second off-season in Colorado.

Many players spend November and December regrouping with their teams to refine their games, strengthen their bodies and mentally recoup for the season ahead. But Seppi has trained without his team, instead playing with current or former local college players.

“I did everything by myself actually so that was also something different because I usually have everybody around,” Seppi said. “I had my physical program [from my fitness trainer], but I had to do everything. It was nice. It was also nice to be a little bit alone with my wife for a couple of months because normally there’s a lot of people around and you don’t have so much time alone. It’s good to have some time for us a little bit.”

It still has been a significant change. While Seppi long trained near his parents’ home in Italy, and then for two off-seasons in Monte-Carlo, he has not dealt with altitude like he does now in Colorado. While he enjoys the area, that is the lone challenge.

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“Especially hitting the first week, it’s very difficult. The ball flies a little bit more and you have to adapt. It’s never easy at the beginning. Normally i’m there for more than a week, so it’s okay,” Seppi said. “But if you’re there just for a week, it’s hard. But it’s good for physical conditioning, breathing and everything.”

Whatever training Seppi has done in Colorado has worked. In 2018, he won an ATP Challenger Tour event in Canberra, Australia in the second week of the season before advancing to the fourth round of the Australian Open and later reaching the semi-finals in Rotterdam. This year, Seppi made the Sydney final and the third round of the Australian Open.

“It means that I can do it also by myself,” Seppi said, cracking a laugh. “It’s still a good place to practise and everything.”

Last season was a special one for Italian tennis, with Roland Garros semi-finalist Marco Cecchinato breaking through for his first two ATP Tour titles (Budapest & Umag) and Fabio Fognini lifting three ATP 250 crowns (Sao Paulo, Bastad & Los Cabos).

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“It’s always nice seeing some friends and players who you have a good relationship with doing well. It makes you work hard and do some good results,” Seppi said. “Especially Marco, he was practising with me when I was back in Italy. I practised with him when he was about 20 years old. We were practising together for two years and seeing him now, it’s nice.”

While Seppi has no plans of retiring yet, he now has a home away from home of sorts. And while he probably wouldn’t have expected it earlier in his career, he hopes to settle down in Colorado.

“That’s the plan. It’s not a tennis place, but me and my wife, we are just buying a ranch there. Her parents are into the hotel business, so we actually want to open a lodge-resort there,” Seppi said. “Working as a coach is difficult after being on the road for 20 years, and I would like to have a family with kids and everything. So being on the road [more after my career], it’s not my favourite thing. This is a good chance to stay in a nice place and do something there. If it works out, it will be nice.”

For now, Seppi is focused on the Delray Beach Open, where he is the sixth seed. The Italian plays Aussie Bernard Tomic in the first round.

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