Just earlier than the brand new 12 months, Spain’s Feliciano Lopez introduced that he’ll say adios to life as a participant on the ATP Tour this season. The 41-year-old will end his profession with farewell appearances at a choose few tournaments, the primary of which is that this week on the Abierto Mexicano Telcel presentado por HSBC.
After greater than 20 years as an expert, Lopez is discovering it laborious to say goodbye.
“Since I decided this is going to be my last year on Tour, it’s been a little bit difficult because it’s something that you don’t want to do, because I love what I do,” Lopez instructed ATPTour.com in Acapulco. “I have a passion for tennis. Even though I know this is my last year, I wish I could continue playing and it’s a little bit sad. But on the other hand, I have to do it because I’m 41 years old and this is not going to be forever; I understand.”
The former world No. 12 has made probably the most of his Acapulco wild card this week, incomes his first tour-level singles victory since July 2021 with a 7-6(3), 6-4 win towards Christopher Eubanks—a participant 15 years his junior—on Monday night time. It was his first aggressive match in practically 5 months.
“It’s been a while since I won my last ATP match,” Lopez mirrored. “To be honest, I had this in mind because last year was difficult for me. I couldn’t win any matches on Tour, even though I played only a few tournaments. But still it’s something that I had in mind and it was kind of a relief moment when I finally won my match yesterday.”
After taking part in a light-weight schedule in 2022, competing in simply 11 tour-level matches, Lopez’s win was reward for an intense effort in what was his final offseason coaching block.
“I knew this was going to be very challenging and very difficult,” he stated of returning to the ATP Tour after the layoff. “That’s why I was preparing myself to be ready here in Acapulco. I think considering all the circumstances and all the challenges that I’ve faced in the last year I think I played great tennis overall.
“The match was nice, I used to be feeling nice bodily and naturally my tennis has some room to enhance however I believe the extent general was very respectable.”
Having earned his method again into the win column, Lopez will subsequent face sixth seed Frances Tiafoe on Wednesday in a marquee match in entrance of the Mexican crowd. Lopez received their lone earlier ATP Head2Headvert assembly in Antwerp in 2018, however the in-form American comes into this matchup as World No. 15, only one spot off his career-high Pepperstone ATP Ranking achieved earlier in February.
“I know it’s a very difficult match,” Lopez stated. “Probably probably the most troublesome one which I’m going through within the final three or 4 years as a result of Tiafoe is considered one of then finest gamers on this planet, particularly now that he is been taking part in nice tennis within the final 12 months and a half. I do know it’ll be very troublesome however I’ve nothing to lose. I’m right here to get pleasure from myself.
“My only goal tomorrow is to play the best I can… to be myself on the court, to be aggressive. It’s one of the matches that you really want to play.”
Beyond Acapulco, Lopez has already been confirmed as a wild card in Barcelona and Mallorca. He can be hoping to return to The Queen’s Club in London, the place he received his two most up-to-date tour-level singles titles in 2017 and 2019. He additionally received the doubles title there with Andy Murray in a 2019 trophy sweep, and later claimed the 2022 Acapulco doubles crown with Stefanos Tsitsipas.
While Lopez is hoping for a wild card to this 12 months’s Cinch Championships in London, he says it is going to be powerful based mostly on what he has heard in the intervening time.
“It’s one of the tournaments I would really love to play there one more time,” he shared.
Of course the Spaniard will perceive the complexity of the state of affairs, given his position as event director on the Mutua Madrid Open since 2019. It’s a place that may present some solace to Lopez and his many followers: The seven-time tour-level champion could also be stepping off the court docket, however he’s not leaving the sport of tennis.
Source web site: www.atptour.com