Tennis Prose



Feliciano Lopez is the ATP Iron Man


Feliciano Lopez played his first major at the French Open in 2001 – has not missed a major since other than not qualifying. That’s 61 in a row. Wimbledon next week will be 62 in a row.  (Federer has the longest active streak at 65 which ended last year when Federer did not play the French Open. Fed’s Grand Slam Iron Man streak began at the 2000 Australian and ended at 2016 French Open.)

Throughout his career, Lopez has played in the most five-set matches that have gone beyond 6–6, with the longest fifth set being 16–14er at the 2009 Australian Open against Gilles Müller.

Three years ago at the US Open Lopez is when I became a believer in the intestinal fortitude of the Spaniard. He was battling Ivan Dodig in the first round on grandstand, first match on. It was hotter than hot that day. It was scorching just sitting there in the media box. Lopez was getting smoked by the Croatian but he somehow managed to turn the tables and battle back to win the fourth set 64. Then at 1-1 in the fifth, Dodig retired.

In the second round Lopez, showing no ill effects of that win, defeated Japan’s Ito in another rugged four sets on another brutally hot afternoon duel. Remember, this was the same US Open that forced Americans Jack Sock and Steve Johnson to retire.

Lopez showed further Iron Man tendencies at the Australian Ope two years ago. Lopez saved three match points and beats Denis Kudla in five sets. Lopez outlasts Adrian Mannarino who retires in the fourth set, unable to even properly walk, his legs were so fatigued. Lopez won again in the third round and sets up a fourth round duel with Milos Raonic. Lopez the gladiator saved another match point in the fourth set tiebreak, which he won 9-7, and then finally lost 6-3 in the fifth to the Canadian.

Does this guy ever get tired?

Lopez’s overall five set record is 24-11.

Lopez is still a lethal force in the ATP at 35 years of age. He just won Queens Club in a marathon final vs Cilic. Lopez plays a physically demanding game with his primarily defensive/neutral slice backhand. Isn’t his body supposed to be starting to break down after all the wear and tear?

Nope, it hasn’t and it may never. I say Lopez is the ATP Iron Man.

By Scoop Malinowski




  • Andrew Miller · June 28, 2017 at 11:51 pm

    Andrew Miller writes:

    I became a believer in 2008 when FLopez and Verdasco won the Davis cup against Argentina in the Miracle of Mar de Plata. Probably the defining week in both of their careers, they went from being underachievers to seasoned pros soon thereafter. Personally glad Argentina finally won one last year, Del Potro needed eight years to get their first one!

  • Scoop Malinowski · June 29, 2017 at 9:19 am

    Scoop Malinowski writes:

    Andrew: Lopez deserves the Iron Man award credit more so than Ferrer who had his consecutive GS streak stopped before 50. Lopez is a big time player but for whatever reasons he does not get the proper credit and respect. That Davis Cup win was epic by Lopez and also Verdasco.

  • Andrew Miller · June 29, 2017 at 7:47 pm

    Andrew Miller writes:

    I like both of them!

  • GameSetAndMath · June 30, 2017 at 3:07 pm

    I am ready to give him the IM award, once he beats Nole at this Wimbledon in R4.



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