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First-Time Winner Spotlight Andreas Seppi

Eastbourne, England

Seppi© AFP/Getty ImagesAndreas Seppi won his first ATP World Tour title in Eastbourne.

Italian Andreas Seppi prevailed against Serbian No. 3 seed Janko Tipsarevic in three sets Saturday at the AEGON International in Eastbourne to claim his first ATP World Tour title. caught up with the new champion following his victory.

Final Report

Did you ever think your first ATP World Tour title would come on grass?
No, I don’t think so. I’ve had some good results on grass; I played one semi-final in Nottingham and twice the third round at Wimbledon. So I always enjoyed playing on grass, but I didn’t expect the first title on this surface.

You’ve played nearly 200 tournaments on the tour, and turned pro in 2002. How does it feel to finally break through?
It’s a good feeling. It was just my second final. I’ve played a lot of semi-finals and I was also close to my first title in Gstaad in 2007, when I was serving for the match and I lost 7-5 in the third set. For sure it’s a special feeling to win my first title. I hope I can enjoy it for a few days.

Laurence Tieleman was runner-up at Queen’s in 1998. Italians aren’t known for playing on grass. How does it feel to be a grass-court specialist?
Specialist is a big word! But as I said, I really enjoy playing on this surface and I always believed I could also play well on this surface. It’s a good win for me and hopefully I can get a place in other good tournaments in the rest of the season.

What did you do well this week to finally put five matches together and hold the trophy at the end of the tournament?
I think I served pretty well during all the week. Also my return was good. I think these two shots are the most important on this surface. There was also a lot of wind during the week so I just tried to play more in the middle, not to risk a lot, and I played a solid game. It was very lucky.

Your last final was in Gstaad in 2007 on clay – did you ever think this moment would come?
Of course it was a few years ago and that final was really unexpected because I was playing not my best tennis before. I think in the past years I got some more experience and I also played better tennis, so I always thought, ‘maybe I can get another chance.’ This week for sure will really help me for the rest of my career.

You’re pretty consistent on all surfaces. What is your favourite surface?
For sure I had my best results on clay, also because we played most of the tournaments on clay in Europe. So I enjoy playing on that surface; I think it’s my best surface. It’s strange, though, that clay is my best surface and I won my first title on grass! I think on every surface I can play some good tennis. It depends for sure on the moment, how I feel. I always try to give my best on every surface.

Three players from Italy are in the Top 50; what is the state of Italian tennis?
For sure we have some good, solid players. Fognini in Paris at Roland Garros made the first major quarter-final for a long time. So it was good for us. I think we just need a player who goes a little bit more up in the rankings, like Top 20 or Top 15, just to make more movement again in Italy. We just need one really good player.

You’ve won your first title... now what are your goals for the rest of the season?
I think my goals haven’t changed. I always try my best and try to enjoy it when I’m going on court. Hopefully I won’t get injured during the year, that’s the most important thing. That’s it.

Is there anyone in particular who has helped you get this far in your career? Or someone that you looked up to when you were younger?
Not really.... For sure I had some idols. My favourite player was Yevgeny Kafelnikov; he also was a good grass-court player! But I didn’t really have a person who I looked up to. I just want to thank my parents, because they always let me make decisions when I was young about playing tennis or skiing. They never pressed me and I think that was good for me to make my own decisions. I think it helps also on the court when you have to make a decision about what to do. I think it’s important.

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