Who Is Sebastian Serrano?
It was a hot summer day on the tennis courts when Sebastian Serrano was crushing forehands down the line. I was utterly mesmerized. I was going to be coaching a friend on the court next to his but stood transfixed, watching him hit. He was amazing. I immediately needed to know who this guy was. And we quickly became friends. Sebastian is a former level 400 in the world rankings of tennis. He dominated in the professional world and now is creating his own path with the beginnings of his tennis academy. We chatted about playing authentically to your own style, understanding your strengths, getting negative thoughts out of your head, and entering the flow state where the magic truly happens. We also discussed why it’s so important to pick yourself up after you fall. Which happens time and time again. Enjoy!
Check out his tennis coaching program: https://chevyserrano.wixsite.com/tenniscrew
Sebastian has dedicated his life to his love of sports, most specifically in the area of tennis. Indeed, he is a former ATP tennis player and at one time was ranked as number 400 on the world rankings for tennis. Sebastian is a man that walks his own path and is constantly seeking to make tracks of his own, especially with the announcement of his new tennis academy.
After dominating in the world of tennis, Sebastian has gone back to his roots, and has set up his own tennis academy in order to teach the tennis court stars of the future. With plenty of interpersonal skills that make him an incredible teacher, Sebastian has a lot to offer anyone looking to pick up a tennis racket and learn to play.
Level 400 in Tennis
With a lengthy background in playing tennis, stemming right from his childhood, it seemed only natural that Sebastian would score high on the world rankings for tennis players. A national champion in his home country of Colombia, winning five times overall, and then going on to represent Colombia internationally a various number of times, Sebastian has come a long way to achieve his dreams.
With a high, almost batting for half, win rate on all professional levels, Sebastian Serrano is very skilled and experienced. Getting out onto the court puts him into a flow state, and allows him to focus 100% on his game. He has an extremely high doubles ranking to show for it, standing at 450, and for singles games, he comes away with a score of 720.
Building a Tennis Academy
Learning the right game is all about offering more than just coaching. It’s about being passionate about what you do, with enough experience to back it up. A tennis player needs to be able to get into the flow state, where nothing but the game matters, and your concentration and focus is on the court in front of you. It’s all about knowing what thoughts to push out of your head, and when a professional brings their acumen to the coaching world, a lot of magic can happen.
Working with many elite athletes over the years, Sebastian Serrano has now turned his mind, time, and skills to building a tennis academy. After working side by side with some of the biggest names in tennis, he aims to work in “your” corner, providing as much constructive criticism and insight as is required for any of his students to improve their game.
With a lot of passion for ensuring people play their best and know where to step and how to swing in order to secure the game, you could very well name Sebastian as a legendary tennis coach! He invites any and all wannabe participants to take their game to the next level. Sebastian encourages people to play to their own style and helps guide them to it during coaching sessions. You’ve got to find your strengths and encourage them, while also being able to pinpoint your own weaknesses. And with a proper tennis academy training program to follow, Sebastian truly believes any person out there can find their very own place on the tennis court.
He has now opened up his own tennis academy, known as Tennis Crew, with an easy-to-access website for all comers to book sessions through. This is just another sign of his business acumen as a tennis coach—the tennis lessons are available and accessible to anyone.
There are plenty of classes offered, depending on what a student wants from their time working with the Tennis Crew. Both private and group lessons are available; private lessons are for those looking to improve their game one on one, and is quoted by Sebastian as being the best way to improve your game and up your skill level. But Sebastian tells us that group lessons are also just as important; they offer an encouraging environment to play in, filled with hard-working players and plenty of camaraderie to keep you motivated towards working your best with your tennis racket. After all, tennis is supposed to be fun!
Any and all ages, skill levels, and schedules can come and be a part of the classes offered by Tennis Crew. The Tennis Crew is getting bigger and bigger every single day, and there are plenty of proper tennis methods, tennis equipment, and the right atmosphere on hand for both beginners and professionals.
Sebastian Serrano Podcast Transcription
Charan: Hey guys, this is Charan Prabhakar, and welcome to the Lemonade Stand podcast. I am here with my good buddy, Sebastian Serrano. And Sebastian, it’s very cool how we met. I was on the court playing tennis one day, and I’m super-duper average, I would say, as a player, but while I was playing, I saw this guy, this handsome devil, just serving so hard and so fast and always getting it in. I was like, “Who is this guy? And I just want to watch him and have him coach me.” And it turns out that’s Sebastian. He was a former ATP player, played on the Pro Tour for a little while, became level 400 in the world at one point, and went on to become an official tennis coach and has coached a lot of different people from all around the world. Really like, you were in LA for a bit, now you’re currently in Utah. And then you are also having aspirations of creating your own tennis academy. Is that right?
Charan: That’s awesome, man. Well, I’m going to reposition myself, just to get as comfortable as they can, but Sebastian, I want to thank you for being on this podcast. I’m really excited to hear about your journey and I’ve got a couple of really fun questions for you. And now, this is not the typical podcast, because most of the people I interview were business entrepreneurs that have started startup businesses or are directors or producers or things like that, but I really haven’t had the opportunity to interview an athlete, a professional athlete. So this has been awesome. So thank you. Thank for humoring me and being on this podcast.
Sebastian: No. Thank you, man. Like you said, we met at a tennis court and we’re just having fun there, and one of those things are like, we started talking and here we are.
Sebastian Serrano Talks About How He Got Started in Tennis
Charan: Here we are just sitting down and having a conversation. Well, I’d love to first talk a little bit about your history. So you’re from Columbia originally, right? So how did you get into tennis and can you kind of walk us down that path for a bit?
Sebastian: Yeah. So I always played tennis. I don’t remember not playing tennis. I always liked sports, all kinds of sports. My dad was a soccer player. I liked soccer a lot, but I don’t know. I just picked up the racket and I just loved it, and I just started playing. It was a tennis club in Columbia, and that’s what we would do with my family. We would just go to a club, play tennis and hang out. Yeah.
Sebastian: So I always played. Yeah.
Charan: You always played. And it was one of those things where your parents didn’t have to force you to do it or anything. It was just like, “No, I really like doing this.”
Sebastian: Yeah. I really liked it. I liked soccer as well. At some point I reached to a point where I had to decide like…
Charan: Which one.
Sebastian: … which one, and I chose tennis. I was better at tennis, so that’s what I did.
Charan: That’s awesome. At what point did you realize, “Hey, you know what? I think I’m actually pretty decent at this sport”?
Sebastian: Well, when I was 12, I was already the best one in my city, in Cartagena.
Charan: Oh, cool.
Sebastian: In my age group. And I liked it, but only when I was 14 that I went to a national event. At that point I moved from Cartagena to another city, to Bucaramanga to practice. And I remember that first national event where I actually did good, because before I was the best in my city, but not really good in the national tournament. And that tournament I go, that was the first one. I was 14, and I reached the semifinals. Yeah. Since I was 14, I was like, “Okay, I’m pretty good.” I mean, I didn’t think I was good, but when I look back, I was always in the top five in my country.
Charan: In your country. That’s amazing, man. I don’t even know if I’d ever be the top five in my house, and there’s not even five of us there, so it’s great. That’s awesome, man. So you did that and it really kind of build your confidence. And so at what point did you go from just playing in these local tournaments and then national tournaments to, “Hey, I want to get on the pro tour.”
Sebastian: So later, like 15, 16, all these kids were talking about this other tournaments. Like if you were good enough in your country, then you could go play outside, like Brazil. And there was this circuit of tournaments called the [Cosat 00:06:12] Circuit. And I really want it to be there. And then I needed to be even better than the ranking I had. And I worked for that one. And then I ended up going to this circuit of tournaments. And then after that, I come to college. I got a scholarship at East Tennessee State University. Is not the biggest school, but we were like top 10 in the nation. And I did pretty well in college. I was like one match away to become an All-American.
Sebastian: I never made the All-American thing because I actually didn’t know if that was a big thing.
Sebastian: I was like…
Sebastian: But now when I look back, I remember I was one match away, and we were so close to win that one. It was a doubles match. Yeah. And then I’m done with college and I’m like, I mean, I did well. And I remember in college I was beating most of the kids that were doing better than me before. So I’m like, “I’m improving a lot. I improve a lot here in college. Maybe I should try the professional thing.” And that’s when I decided after college to play professionally.
Charan: That’s just amazing. I mean, it’s great that you had that experience where you’re like, “Okay. Yeah. I think I want to go for this. I want to try it professionally.” I don’t think I could ever say, “Yeah, I think I’m ready to be a professional tennis player.” So it’s amazing that you had that experience. So you did the… It’s the ATP tour, is that correct?
Sebastian: Yeah. It sounds like an easy thing when you say like, “Oh, I want to be professional.” But it wasn’t actually that easy. You know how it is when you are going to take a big decision, and you don’t really know what you’re stepping into. You see these guys on TV like, oh, amazing. Like Federer, Rafael. But the reality is, the ones that are trying to get there are grinding. We call it that, “the grind.” And I really didn’t know it was that hard. I remember that when I started, I felt like college was great, they give you everything. I mean, any athlete who played college tennis and a decent Division One, they give you shoes, clothes, rackets, travel. You don’t have to worry for anything. You just go play. And then I was like, “Well, college was like this, then professional is probably even better.”
Charan: Oh yeah. They’re going to give me professional clothes. Yeah.
Sebastian: Exactly. And then you go. And I remember the first week thinking like, “Okay, so who’s my coach. Do I have a coach?” You have to go find coach.
Sebastian: And you’re on your own, it’s an individual sport, so that’s what I learned the most from tennis; you build a character, you understand that whatever you want to accomplish in life, it depends on you. I don’t know how it is for a football player out there. They belong to…
Charan: A team-
Sebastian: … to huge teams and in my mind, it sounds like it might be easier, because I live the other route, but I’m sure they went through a lot of struggles as well.
Charan: I’m sure. Yeah. But it’s interesting because you’ve kind of had to create your own path for yourself. Right? And that is very true. It’s like, it is a very individual sport. So it’s like, you have to find the right coach for you, you have to find the right type of feeding regiment for you. Right? And from what I gather, you’re kind of paying your own way. Is that right?
Charan: That’s a very expensive professional sport to get into.
Sebastian: Exactly. Yeah. Like I said, I didn’t know what I was jumping into, and I always did things like that in my life. I just felt it was right. It was what I wanted to do.
Sebastian: Why do I have to find a job like every other people, and just follow that. I knew it wasn’t going to be hard. Yeah. I mean, I don’t regret it. I just jumped in and did it, and I found a coach. Yeah. And I was training with that guy and then we were playing tournaments. And then as you go, you’re learning other things. It’s a journey. Just like life, you don’t know what’s next.
Charan: Yeah. Well, it’s interesting because what you’re saying, it sounds very much just like an entrepreneur, right? They didn’t want to go down the path that was already laid for them, that other people have paved the way for. They’re like, “All right, well, I want to kind of blaze my own trails. I want to see what that looks like.” And yes, it was a lot of hard work, but it’s also incredibly rewarding. Right? Would you say to go down a path where you’re actively creating it every day? How did that feel for you every day, kind of waking up and doing your thing?
Sebastian: Yeah. Yeah. You said the word, it’s creative. It’s like every day it’s kind of like a new thing that you’re creating. Yeah. So I started playing tournaments and it wasn’t a new adventure. I will go to a tournament. Actually, even before I started, I remember I got injured.
Sebastian: I did a preseason. I was ready to go, and then I break my knee.
Charan: Oh my gosh.
Sebastian: And I was like, okay-
Charan: And that’s not a good idea. Right? To break your knee if you can go play. Right?
Sebastian: Exactly. So…
Charan: Oh man.
Sebastian: So again, I’m trying to figure out, “Okay, I got to fix this.” Yeah. Then I fix it and luckily enough, like two tournaments after, or three, after I recover, I remember I made a semifinal in a future, that put me like in the 700s or something like that. And then it was like a big thing because it changed my mentality. At the beginning I was more doing it like, “Let’s see what happens.”
Sebastian: Or “this is going to be fun.” I was just thinking a year of traveling and get to see the world or something. And then I was thinking, “Wow, I’m 700 in the world. Maybe I can be like one of these guys, one of these amazing players you see on TV or something.” Yeah, but it sounds like a complicated thing that you have to figure out and something like that, but at the end of the day it’s like, you wake up, you just do the best you have, whatever that means. Maybe if you’re injured, it’s just putting ice, and that’s the best you can do that day.
Sebastian: And if you’re healthy, then you just go and train as hard as you can, and you trust the guy that’s coaching you. And then if it’s tournament day, you just go out there and you just give it all.
Sebastian: And that’s my… the way I think. When you know you’re giving you all, something good has to come from it.
Charan: I love that thought, that principle of, you can’t control your outcome really. Right? I mean, you have no idea what’s going to really happen, and you have expectations, but at the end of the day, all you can really do is give it your best. Go out there, give it your best and work hard, and then let the outcome just kind of take care of itself.
Sebastian: Exactly. Yeah, exactly. If you are doing all this because you know it’s going to give you a lot of money or if you’re going to be on TV, I mean, you’re not doing the right thing. You just got to do your best, and be happy with whatever comes out from it. It’s kind of like faith. If you have faith, you cannot have faith because “Okay, I’m going to be faithful because I want to have a baby.”
Sebastian: No, you’re faithful because you know that’s the right thing to do.
Charan: It’s the right thing to do.
Sebastian: You got to trust that God is in control and he wants the best for you no matter what.
Charan: Yeah. And that’s a beautiful place to get to, right? When you can kind of let go of like, “I’m doing this because of this and this and this.” And you let go of all those things, you say, “Hey, I’m doing this because it’s just the right thing to do. It just feels good.” And then whatever happens is the result of it. Now, I have not really had the chance to kind of dive into the questions I’m about to do with you, to other people because they haven’t really played sports, but because you are a professional athlete, I kind of wanted to talk a little bit about this, because I really do believe that there’s a lot of sports analogies that can really apply to life. And if you have the opportunity to just experience sports a certain way, you can kind of experience life a certain way. Right?
Sebastian Serrano Talks About Playing Authentically
Charan: So the question I was going to ask you is actually regarding playing authentically. Right? Now, when you watch players like Rafael Nadal, and Roger Federer or Novak Djokovic… And for those of you that aren’t huge tennis followers, those are like the top three or four in the world right now. They all have certain fundamentals that are true and tried, but they all have their own unique style. And when I watch you play, I’m like, “Wow, Sebastian has got his own unique style.” And everyone’s style is a little bit different than everyone else’s. You can try mimicking, but at the end of the day, you have to have your own kind of style. So how did you find your style, or how did you find what was authentic to you?
Sebastian: Yeah. You get to know yourself as you play. And for me, I remember when I got out of college, I was more of a grinder. I would stay in the baseline, I would hit a lot of balls, kind of wait for the other one to make the error, but then you’re playing the professional tour and it’s way harder. And then all players talk to each other and they are like, “Okay, this guy play like this or like that.”
Charan: “So I have to hit a certain way.”
Sebastian: Then they know how to beat you. That happens a lot to a lot of college players. They jump inn the tour, they do well the first two, three tournaments, then they figure them out and then they can’t win anymore. And that’s exactly what happened to me. Next time I did a semifinals was like five years later.
Charan: Okay. Wow. Yeah.
Sebastian: Yeah. And then you learn. Just like life, right? You got to get good at everything. You cannot just depend on “stay in the baseline and be a grinder,” then you got to learn how to have a big serve, come up to the net, change it up with slices, hit high balls, hit angles, mentally strong in different ways, because you can kind of be the mental strong guy, Rafael guy, that’s super intense. And you can also be the mental strong guy, Federer, that seems so relaxed.
Charan: Yeah. And it’s so interesting, their approaches, right? Like when you look at like Rafael Nadal, he hits the ball so hard every single time. And Federer may not hit as he does, but he’s got all these really interesting techniques where you can go from the baseline to the front, and then he’s got these certain techniques and just destroys people’s games. Right? Well, and I’ve also noticed even the way they swing the racket, is a little bit different from player to player to player. So how did you find the swing that works for you?
Sebastian: Yeah, so is related to personality, to your anatomy and your body. Some guys are more stiff than others. Federer, I’m sure he’s way looser than Rafael.
Sebastian: Yeah. So you got to know yourself, you’ve got to know what’s your strength. For me, like I was saying, college I was the strong player from the baseline. So that was my base.
Charan: Yeah. You would start there.
Sebastian: Exactly. That would be my thing. I knew I could always go back to that. I could just grind it out and be annoying and be so like a fighter and getting the other guy’s head.
Charan: Yeah. You’re the guy that’s like, “I won’t ever miss the shot. I’ll stay back here all the time and be consistent.” So then they’ll try something, they might get it out, and then you get the point.
Sebastian: Exactly. Exactly.
Sebastian: Exactly. I’m just going to hit one more ball back, then you. I’m just going to hit it back again.
Sebastian: And that was my base, but after I became more of a complete player, especially in my service game where you have to be more aggressive, I started being way more aggressive, especially with my forehand. I realized I could be so loose with my forehand, with my wrist, and just create a whip. And I had a deadly forehand kind of thing. I mean…
Charan: Yeah. Oh, I’ve experienced it. I know it’s very scary.
Sebastian: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. It’s maybe like life, you have an opportunity, you got to take it. Tennis becomes more and more like that as you get better and better, and it becomes a matter of who takes control of the point first, so you really have to develop a weapon where you know that if you’re comfortable, that ball is not coming back, or at least you’re going to make the other guy be on his heels until he comes out with a crazy shot that he can’t go back to neutral [inaudible 00:20:15]. So I develop a forehand weapon, that I can send the guys…
Charan: Yeah. Packing home. Yeah?
Sebastian: Yeah. Yeah, and that was my weapon. So grinder, fighter, good legs. I could run a lot. I could last long in matches. The longer a match will go, the better for me.
Charan: Oh, wow. Interesting. Yeah.
Sebastian: Yeah. And…
Charan: Because your endurance was just so much longer and stronger than that of your opponent.
Sebastian: Yeah. I like training, I train super hard, and I think that’s also why I had injuries. Yeah.
Charan: No, that’s great. One of the things I like is one of the first things you said is like, when you play tennis, you really come to know yourself. Right? And I think it’s super important to know your strengths and to know your weaknesses and to say, “Okay…” Just like in life, the more you know your strengths, you’re like, “Okay, this is where I feel comfortable in. This is my circle. And then I can expand, and I can get bigger and bigger and bigger, but I will always have my base.” And for you, it was always being in the baseline, hitting the grinders. That’s awesome.
Sebastian Serrano Talks About Overcoming Self-Doubt
Charan: Now, another thing with tennis is it’s a very mental game. Right? And I know for me a lot of times, I get in my own head, not just with tennis, but in life. Right? I’m like, “Oh man, should I do this or should I not do that?” And my psyche, my thoughts, kind of get it so I can’t even move forward sometimes. Have you ever had instances when you are playing tennis where your own thoughts kind of messed you up?
Sebastian: Yeah. Yeah. And it’s kind of annoying.
Charan: Yeah, for sure.
Sebastian: You are always thinking stuff. As you were talking, I remember that so many times, let’s say you’re going to hit a backhand and you’re thinking, “I’m going cross,” and then all of a sudden you doubt, and you were like, “Oh no, let’s go down the line.” And then the shot goes to the middle. It’s kind of amazing.
Charan: Yeah. It’s like-
Sebastian: You doubt, and then you don’t go cross, you don’t go down the line, you go to middle.
Sebastian: And that’s easy one for them. And I learned that you shouldn’t doubt, you shouldn’t doubt. You should do whatever it’s flowing at that moment, it’s the right decision.
Sebastian: And now that I retired, I’ve found it’s related to life. You know deep inside what you got to do, and when you doubt you kind of do something okay, but it’s not great.
Charan: Yeah. And you kind of go against your spirit, you go against your instincts. And it’s interesting, because your instincts and your spirit at the very moment can be like, “This is it. This is what I got to do.” And then all of a sudden, your mind suddenly comes in. It’s like, “But is it really?” And I love how tennis is such an in-the-moment sport. Right? It’s not like chess. You can’t be thinking like five, six steps ahead. It’s like, “Hey, you know what? This is where it’s at. I got to go for here.”
Charan: So have you ever had it where your own thoughts kind of block you from your own progress, even when you’re in training?
Sebastian: Definitely. It’s funny. When I look back, I wish I would have taken it easier.
Charan: Oh, Okay. Really?
Sebastian: Yeah, because I always thought that the only way to make it was just-
Sebastian: Training hard, training hard. And I think that’s why I got so many injuries. I think I didn’t put into the equation the fact that when you’re a tennis player… I think I was doing it like in college, that I didn’t have to worry about traveling or about hotels, and that took a piece of my mind. So I was training even harder than in college, and then I had to deal with all these: find a coach, find a hotel, all these things. And I think that’s why I over-trained, and I had injuries that slow me down. And I remember having a friend, I don’t think he was as talented as me, he had the personality of like, “I don’t care so much.” And he didn’t have the injuries I had and he made it farther.
Charan: That’s so interesting, man. I mean, I remember, I think there was an interview I saw of Roger Federer, and I think his 2016 year wasn’t a very good year or he had injuries and stuff and he ended up taking like six months off, where everyone else was training and stuff, and he just took off time for recovery and all that stuff. And then he came back in 2017, and he just destroyed everybody. And it was just an interesting thing of like, hey, sometimes you just need that break.
Charan: You need a break to kind of relax and not be so hard on yourself, I guess.
Sebastian: Exactly. Like I said at the beginning, you got to give it your best, whatever that “best” means.
Sebastian: So in order to know what it means, you got to know yourself. You got to know; Okay, maybe the best these days is kind of not training for hours but two, or an hour and a half. And that’s how I did it towards the end of my career. So I wish I would have done it like that since the beginning. I felt like I learned, but later. [crosstalk 00:26:06] later. Yeah.
Sebastian Serrano Talks About the “Flow State”
Charan: And see, I need more of that. Sometimes I’m like, “The best I can do today is eat a dozen donuts. So I’m going to go do that.” I’m just kidding. No, it’s great, man. I love that you are listening to your spirit and what it’s telling you to do. So there’s two more things I’d like to talk about. When you are playing tennis, we talked about this earlier how sometimes you get into what’s called the “flow state,” right? Where you’re just so connected to everything. I don’t know. I don’t know if this happens to you, but it’s like the audience disappears, and all that matters is the ball. Right? So can you talk to me a little bit about the flow state? How does it feel when you’re in there, and what happens to you and all that stuff?
Sebastian: Yeah. As you were talking, I was thinking about this game, this video when I was little. It was called “Max Payne.” It was [inaudible 00:27:02] guy and shooting. And you could press a button, and then put everything in slow motion, and then you could have so much time to look at that guy…
Charan: And be like…
Sebastian: … kill him. And then look at the other side, kill that guy. And it was like everything was slow motion. It was easy. I think that’s the best way I can describe it.
Charan: Really? Yeah.
Sebastian: You could tell the other guy was having such a hard time. For him everything was happening in fast-forward. For me, it was slow motion.
Sebastian: Like, there’s no way I’m going to lose today.
Charan: That’s crazy.
Sebastian: Well, I mean, you could lose, but it was more like, you were just one with the racket, with the ball, with the court, with the audience, with everything that was around you. It was like everything was meant to be there at that moment, at that time. It was like a relaxed state.
Charan: Did you feel like a sense of euphoria? Did you feel excited when that moment happened or… Because I’ve had those moments as well. I have had a little bit with tennis. I’ve had it a lot with snowboarding, because I snowboard as well, or acting. I’m an actor and sometimes you’re just so connected in the moment that you are like… You know everything about your lines. You’re not thinking, that’s what it is. You’re not thinking, you’re just there. You’re just being present. How hard is it to get into that state?
Sebastian: It’s funny. That question is funny because the way to get there….
Charan: Is not think about it, right?
Sebastian: Exactly. Is not thinking about it. It’s not like something you force, it’s hard, it just happens, but I feel like the best way to get there is with preparation, with the things you did before, and you know you prepare, you’re in good shape, you’ve been working your technique or whatever, you know the point in your playing, you feel ready for the battle. And then when you jump in there, you know that the only thing you got to do is just try your best. Just try your best, and trust that the other things are going to happen. Yeah, you don’t really put an effort in the moment, you just put effort before.
Charan: That’s so interesting. And that’s a beautiful thing, right? It’s the more you prepare, when you actually get there, you’re like, “Hey, I’m just ready to shine.” And it’s a beautiful thing to experience and to have an athlete experience flow, an actor experience flow, where you just kind of feel your best, you do your best. You could still lose, like you said, but it wasn’t even about that. I know for me, it’s almost like just being in the flow state is its own reward, if that makes sense.
Sebastian: Yeah. Another example I can give is like, if it was not your body playing, it was more like your spirit playing. You’re in your spirit playing, if that makes sense.
Sebastian Serrano Talks About Overcoming Challenges
Charan: Yeah, I think it does. I think it does because it’s like you’re not thinking about body mechanics and things like that. It’s almost like, like you said, you’re connected to everything. It’s like the most natural thing in the world to hit this ball over the net and stuff. Yeah, it’s a beautiful state. So that’s awesome that you’ve experienced that. Now, the last thing I wanted to talk a little bit about is what we were discussing about how to get back up again after we’ve fallen. And you’ve had some experience with this.
Sebastian: Exactly. Where I want to go with this, good example in my life, one of my injuries, so many times I have four surgeries on me. So two my knee, one here, sports hernia, and one of my hand. There were moments where when I was injured and I was… “Maybe I should stop here. Why would I keep going? I cannot even walk now.” And sometimes one of my injuries, I remember it happened in Germany. I had no one there, I didn’t know anybody. Went to a doctor, had the surgery. This doctor was… I mean, she was so good that after the surgery, you didn’t even have to stay in the hospital kind of, because the recovery was so fast. That was her advertising or something.
Charan: Oh okay. [crosstalk 00:31:56].
Sebastian: You put it back on the court after seven days or something like that.
Sebastian: And I didn’t want to spend more money or do whatever in the hospital. So I said, “Okay.” And I walked back to my hotel that day.
Charan: After the surgery.
Sebastian: After the surgery.
Charan: Oh my gosh.
Sebastian: And I remember taking the train in Germany. I was walking so slow. This one was my sports hernia injury. And that was a sad moment in my life. Yeah. And I remember thinking, “Do I want to go back?” But at that time I felt like that was the right thing to do, that I still had something in me telling me to try it.
Charan: To keep playing tennis.
Sebastian: To keep playing tennis. Yeah. And just like that doctor said, I remember 10 days later or something, I was running around the track. Couldn’t believe it, I had surgery 10 days before. Yeah. I mean, those are experiences, life humbles you, you know that when you play at a high level, I’m sure every athlete who play a very high level had some kind of injuries.
Sebastian: Yeah. And you fall down and you just got to get back up to your feet.
Charan: Well, it’s interesting because sometimes when life hits you down and knocks you down and makes you feel like there is no hope, there is nothing left. It’s like, “All right, I’m good. I’ll stay down. I won’t get back up.” I mean, can you imagine what would have happened in your life if you never went and played tennis again. What would have happened?
Sebastian: Yeah. I feel like right now, as I am trying new things with my life, I’ll be like, “Okay, this is enough. It’s good enough.” Because I always went back up and tried and I retired my terms. One day I was like, “Okay, this is enough. Now I’m married. Can I keep going with this?” And I decided to stop on my own terms. Now I have that experience. Now I know that whatever I want to pursue next in my life, I know it’s going to be hard. I know I’m going to have setbacks. I got to stand up again, keep going. Yeah, because I learned it from those experiences.
Sebastian Serrano’s Advice to His Younger Self
Charan: And see, it’s beautiful because we talked about how initially you thought, “Hey, what if my path was being one of the tops in the world?” And then it changed. And now you’ve retired from the ATP circuit, and you’re coaching, and you’re creating your own path right now, even though you don’t know what it looks like, you’re creating it as you go. So what advice would you give your younger self?
Sebastian: My younger self. Wow. Deep question. I don’t think I would do anything different, because at that moment I felt like that was the right decision, and I did it. Good one.
Sebastian: What would I tell him? Do you know what? I’ll tell him, “Just do it again.” I will do everything again.
Charan: That’s awesome.
Sebastian: I feel like maybe I stretch it a little bit too much. Like after the three or four years of my professional tour, I had injuries and I started thinking, “Maybe it’s time to stop.” And then I would stop a little bit, and then my injuries would start feeling better and then we’ll get back. I will do it again after I already stopped like one year, one year and a half. I would tell him, “If you decide something, stick with it.” Stick with it because I retired like two times, and then came back. I would see my friends playing on TV, and I’ll be like, “Oh, maybe I can be there again.”
Sebastian: And then I would pick up my racket again, start training again. And so I think at that moment, I didn’t listen to my inner self. I was a little disconnected from my inner self. Yeah. Then I would try to go again, then I will have another injury, I would stop. So I think that’s the advice: make sure you’re always in tune with your spirit, with your spirit.
Sebastian: I’m going to go more spiritual here. When you don’t follow the commandments, I guess, and you do wrong things, you get disconnected with yourself, and then it’s hard to know what you really, really, really, really, really want. So it makes it harder to make decisions. And that’s why I was like, “Okay, I’m done.” Then I would start again, then I’m done, then I would start again. And that was actually when I was able to connect again with my spirit. You know the story. I felt like I was one again. And that’s when I found my wife and that’s when I finally decided that it was time to stop and I really stick with that.
Charan: I love that, man. I think that’s a beautiful lesson. It’s a powerful lesson, because we have all kinds of reasons for doing the things that aren’t completely true to ourselves and our spirit. You experienced a little bit of FOMO, which is “fear of missing out.” Right? You saw your friends playing and you’re like, “Wait, I’ve retired. My spirit was like, “Yeah, you should retire.” But now it’s like, “Well, but they’re playing, maybe I should go back and play.” Or it’s like the “woulda, shoulda, coulda” game, right? Like, “I should have done this or I would’ve done this or I’m supposed to do this.”
Charan: But at the end of the day, when you listen to the spirit, your spirit saying, “Hey, this is really what you want,” then you can be at home with yourself. You can be happy. Instead of chasing all these different things and kind of going to all these different paths and stuff, you can kind be like, “Yeah, this feels good.” I appreciate that, man. That’s really good advice and it’s great advice for me to even hear right now as I’m kind of creating my own path, but Sebastian, thank you so much for being on this podcast. I feel like you’ve given me a lot to think about, so I appreciate that. Any last words of advice?
Sebastian: Yeah. I think in my life I had to figure out a lot of things on my own. My parents weren’t really united. They never really get a divorce, but they were separated. So I always had to figure things out on my own. Maybe I didn’t have the guidance. So I always tried, maybe this works. So I think if there are parents there, I feel like that’s maybe a message I want to leave. It’s so important to support your kids and let them decide. Teach them how to take decisions, to decide on their own. You kind of guide them, but at the end they decide. Right?
Charan: I love that, man. I love that. Having your parents support you, but then letting your kids decide. That’s great. That’s awesome. Well, Sebastian, thank you so much, man. I really appreciate you taking the time and being on this podcast, and I’m excited for your life, man. I feel like you’re on a really cool journey right now. I’m excited to witness it and maybe be a part of it in a little bit, but I’m really excited to see where you’re headed off to.
Sebastian: All right, man. Thank you.
Charan: Awesome. Thanks again.
Sebastian: Thanks for having me.
Charan: Thanks so much for listening to Lemonade Stand podcast, and we hope you enjoyed this episode. Be sure to subscribe to the podcast on whatever platform used to be alerted when we release new episodes. We’d also love to hear your feedback and the reviews, and if you or someone you know has an awesome Lemonade Stand Story, please reach out to us on social media, and let us know. Thanks so much and have a great day.