Irishman Fabio Molle set up Functional Tennis on Instagram with the goal of promoting his passion for the sport and highlighting some iconic rallies that may not have been given the publicity they merit.
It has proved to be a huge success, with world No.1 Novak Djokovic among the tennis superstars following the Functional Tennis Instagram page. Fabio has also got the bug for innovation and has even created his very own ‘Saber’ tennis racket that helps players to find the sweet spot when they hit the ball.
Here, Fabio tells All Court Tennis Club about the Functional Tennis story:
HOW DID FUNCTIONAL TENNIS START?
Tennis has always been my passion. I played a lot as a kid and a few futures tournaments, but injury affected my ambition and now I find myself working full-time in the sport by running Functional Tennis. I found a lot of great videos online that I felt could help players develop their game and began sharing them on the account, but I didn’t think it would take off as it did. I don’t know why or how they got so much traction. I haven’t advertised or promoted the account, it just kept growing. I guess it was just a case of right time, right place.
YOUR NAME IS NOT FRONTING THE FUNCTIONAL TENNIS INSTAGRAM PAGE, SO DO PEOPLE KNOW YOU ARE THE MAN BEHIND IT?
The account is not about me. It is about the players and coaches. I know some junior players have been spotted by agents on the Functional Tennis account and been signed, which is a wonderful sideshow of this. I also know that big agencies like IMG look at our videos to find and scout players which is pretty cool.
IS IT HARD TO TURN AN INSTAGRAM ACCOUNT INTO A BUSINESS, EVEN WITH A FOLLOWING AS BIG AS FUNCTIONAL TENNIS?
Making money out of social media is tough if you are not the face behind the account. If the Instagram or Twitter account has your face on it, you can do very well out of it, especially when you are dealing with 60,000 followers, but that’s not the case with Functional Tennis.
What we have is a massive influence in the tennis world and that opens a lot of doors. I am also the front person of our podcast which is great fun to work on. We have had almost 200 episodes with some great guests on there and hopefully lots more to come. Goran Ivanisevic, Casper Ruud and Liam Broady are some of the star names we have had on the podcast so far and there are lots more in the planning for the coming months.
WHAT COMES NEXT FOR FUNCTIONAL TENNIS?
We have an online store and the plan is to add new products as we go forward. We are also looking to build a new community online for tennis players, coaches and parents. We also want to continue to grow the amazing following we have built.