Jun/19

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Feli Lopez, The Unique All Time Great

Feliciano Lopez has not won a major, he’s never been world no. 1, but he holds a special distinction that Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Pete Sampras, Novak Djokovic, Andre Agassi have not come close to equaling.

Lopez has played in 69 consecutive Grand Slam main draws and Wimbledon next week will be 70.

Lopez played his first major in 2001 vs Carlos Moya at Roland Garros, then missed Wimbledon and US Open and 2002 AO (did not play qualies) but resumed Grand Slam play at Roland Garros in 2002 and hasn’t stopped since.

Lopez qualified at 2002 Roland Garros and beat Didac Perez of Spain in the first round of main draw 46 64 62 46 64. That was his first major main draw win. Lopez lost second round to Tommy Haas, who was no. 3 in the world at the time 36 46 46. Lopez was just 20.

Fast forward seventeen years later to 2019 and Lopez is still a force in the ATP. Yesterday he won the Queens Club singles and doubles titles with another marathon display or Iron Man tennis.

On Saturday, Lopez won his singles semi 64 in the third set against 18 year old Felix Auger-Aliassime and then won two doubles matches that were postponed by rain.

Yesterday Lopez, apparently immune from feeling fatigue, won the singles final 62 67 76 and then the doubles final with Andy Murray 76 57 10-5 vs Salisbury/Ram.

Lopez is still listed to play the Eastbourne main draw first round this week and Hugues-Herbert.

With his stunning Queens success last week, Lopez upped his ranking from 105 to 53 and will be presumably be given a wildcard into Wimbledon main draw next week, which will be his 70th major in a row. Or his ranking was good enough at the cut off date.

Regardless Lopez will continue to add to his unbreakable iron man record of 70 straight majors, an achievement that will surely never be matched. Making Lopez one of the most unique champions in the history of tennis – and a possible Hall of Fame candidate for this special distinction, along with his overall career of outstanding successes, which includes a Roland Garros doubles title.

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72 comments

  • catherine · June 27, 2019 at 9:25 am

    Kerber bts Halep 6-4 6-3 – Angie played very well but Simona was poor – time after time she’d keep hitting the ball to the exact spot Angie was going. Didn’t seem to have any strategy and couldn’t get pace off the ground. And Eastbourne isn’t the fastest of grass courts. Disappointing year so far. Also seems weak physically.

    Angie could win this but I’d be fearful of the effect at W’don. The handshake was brief – looks like there is some coolness there. Or maybe just Simona’s disappointment.

  • catherine · June 27, 2019 at 9:32 am

    Jabeur bt Cornet and will face Angie next. Not sure if they’ve ever met. Might be Kerber/Ka Pliskova final.

    Doubt that Halep match will have tired Angie out.

  • catherine · June 27, 2019 at 10:15 am

    When Angie jumps in the air on her backhand you know she’s feel good and confident. She moved very well.

    I can’t figure out Simona. She’s going into Sloane Stephens territory. One Slam wonders.

    Sabalenka had heavy strapping on her right thigh when she beat Woz so this will most likely be over quickly.

  • catherine · June 27, 2019 at 10:32 am

    It’s the forehand A jumps in the air on – straight up. She also hit a tremendous lob at full stretch. I was impressed as you can tell.

  • Hartt · June 27, 2019 at 11:04 am

    Baghdatis just beat FAA in SS at the Hurlingham expo. The first set was close, with one poor FAA service game making the difference. But Baghdatis was the better player in the 2nd. It was as though the wily vet was saying to the youngster that he has some tennis left in him yet. Because he is retiring after Wimby I did not begrudge the oldie winning this match. It was very windy, so it was difficult for both guys to play their best.

  • Hartt · June 27, 2019 at 11:10 am

    It’s official. The ITF will wreck Fed Cup.

    From an AP story on T.com:

    “The Fed Cup is following the Davis Cup with a new tournament format.

    Starting next year, the women’s tennis event will be a six-day final tournament in April with 12 teams playing for an $18 million prize on clay courts in Budapest, Hungary, the International Tennis Federation said Thursday.”

  • Scoop Malinowski · June 27, 2019 at 11:11 am

    Hartt, USTA publishes special manuals with a couple of dozen juniors featured, names, photos, credentials, age. I think it gives the junior a sense of stardom and entitlement, as if yes I’m gonna be a successful pro. Most never come close. Not sure if USTA is still publishing these things.

  • Scoop Malinowski · June 27, 2019 at 11:13 am

    I would guess Bagdhatis was thrown a bone, wouldn’t look good for a rising teen to put a beating on a retiring legend in an exo. Another wise mature smart move by the kid.

  • catherine · June 27, 2019 at 11:56 am

    I read about half a paragraph from the ITF press release on the Fed Cup and then gave up. I couldn’t be bothered to hack my way through the tangle of detail. Budapest has it for 3 years.

  • catherine · June 27, 2019 at 12:15 pm

    Lisicki moves closer to H of F status. She fails to qualify for W’don.

  • Hartt · June 27, 2019 at 12:32 pm

    There is an article in the Guardian about player prize $, and I was glad to see Fed and Pospisil say what I have been going on about for some time now.

    “Federer told reporters in Halle last week the Challenger Tour needed help. Pospisil agreed. β€œOn the Challenger Tour they earn peanuts. If the four grand slams decided to give a couple of million dollars each – which is nothing [for them] – to the Challenger Tour, [it would benefit] guys that are ranked 300 to 100, most of [whom] are losing money.”

  • Scoop Malinowski · June 27, 2019 at 12:41 pm

    Federer Nadal and Djokovic and Murray could give a million each too to the Challenger Tour, it’s nothing to them. Why isn’t that an option? Then maybe ATP can match their generosity?

  • Scoop Malinowski · June 27, 2019 at 12:42 pm

    Is Gimelstob still earning a million a year for producing the ATP show? What if they got a new producer for $50,000, could the ATP divert the saved funds to the Challenger Tour?

  • catherine · June 27, 2019 at 1:41 pm

    You can’t just ‘give’ money to the Challenger tour or anywhere else. That’s just naive. How is it going to be ‘given’ ? No doubt the lower level players, men and women, could do with a bit more but it’s got to be properly managed, not just a one off which is the impression you get from statements like these. A rolling donation from GSs ? Can’t see it. Who runs the Challengers by the way ? I’ve never been quite sure.

    When W’don comes around we generally hear mutterings about more money. This year doesn’t seem any exception. There’ll probably be talk of boycotts. Every year the prizemoney goes up. And while it’s true the GSs are very profitable, they are also hugely expensive to run.

    Let’s see what comes out of the ATP meeting – I’d be very interested.

  • Scoop Malinowski · June 27, 2019 at 1:49 pm

    If Roger Federer wants to donate or invest in the Challenger Tour who is going to stop him?

  • catherine · June 27, 2019 at 2:34 pm

    Noboy’s going to stop him. But I’m betting he won’t.

  • Scoop Malinowski · June 27, 2019 at 2:39 pm

    A lot of players are talking about taking money from the ATP to give to lower ranked players but why not explore other avenues? I’m going to discuss this with a TV producer, who says he can produce the show for 60% of what Gimelstob gets. That’s a saving of about half a million right there. Why not look to cut costs in other ways like this? And devote those savings to a lower ranked player fund?

  • Hartt · June 27, 2019 at 2:44 pm

    Catherine, the ATP runs the Challengers, so the $ could go to them earmarked for the Challenger Tour. It would have to be ongoing, one year would not accomplish anything. If the Slams can allocate $ to the federations, why can’t they do the same thing for the Challengers?

    Tennis risks losing very talented players if they can’t afford to continue playing in the transition years following juniors. No one is saying they have to be wealthy, but they should be able to afford a coach and travel to tourneys, plus some $ to actually live on.

    And yes, the top players could have a role. As I said earlier, FAA and Bianca are each matching $ raised to help Canadian junior players, up to $50,000 each. An anonymous donor has pledged to match the donations as well. It looks like they will meet their target. That is small potatoes compared to what the top players can afford, but it is a substantial amount for these youngsters.

  • catherine · June 27, 2019 at 2:57 pm

    Hartt – I would think that allocating money from GSs to the national federations of the country where the tournament is held is rather different from funding Challengers which are held all over the place. I don’t believe the GSs should be involved in that. Seems to me it’s something for the ATP (and WTA presumably).

    I suspect (well, I know) top players in different countries do contribute to, or sponsor, promising juniors, and contribute in other ways, but we don’t always hear about it.

  • catherine · June 27, 2019 at 4:16 pm

    I’m tired already of all the hosannahs about Coco Gauff. I’m tired of her telling us how great she is and how much greater she’s going to be and I’m underwhelmed by her style. ‘I prefer to bang from the baseline’ was her quote today. When I saw her play in a clip she ran so far behind the baseline she actually disappeared off the screen. She describes volleying drills as ‘weird’.

    If Coco is the future of women’s tennis I think I’ll find something else to watch. Paint drying ?

  • jg · June 27, 2019 at 4:36 pm

    actually I saw the highlights of her match today and I thought her volleying was excellent, she seemed like an all court player with great volleys and technique, the stretch volleys looked like Venus’ She did not appear to be a basher to me, maybe I saw the wrong tape?

  • catherine · June 28, 2019 at 1:14 am

    Well, I was quoting something she said yesterday after her match. I have seen Coco play a few times and she definitely prefers the back court. Possibly on grass she’s opened up a bit but I don’t think we’ll see much volleying from her on other surfaces.

    At 15 it’s difficult to say how things are going to go. She’s modelled her game on the Williamses. Which one I’m not sure.

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