SportsFeliciano Lopez says goodbye with honors in Mallorca after 25 years of...

    Feliciano Lopez says goodbye with honors in Mallorca after 25 years of tennis

    Point and end to one of the longest running careers in Spanish tennis. Feliciano Lopez played match number 1598 this Thursday, his last as a professional. He has done it in the ATP of Mallorca, where he has lost in the quarterfinals against the German Yanick Hanfmann (6-2 and 6-4 in 1 hour and 10 minutes). feli, who announced his retirement in 2022 and only played invitational tournaments that were special for him, has given much more war than expected on the island. He was able to eliminate Max Purcell (number 62 in the ATP) last Tuesday and did the same on Wednesday with his compatriot Jordan Thompson (number 71 in the ranking). But despite the good image shown against rivals almost 20 years younger than him, the defeat against Hanfmann has precipitated that at the age of 41, and after 25 in the elite, his time has come to hang up the racket.

    In this his last season, Feliciano Lopez has played only six tournaments. The one from Mallorca, an ATP 250 grass court led by Toni Nadal, has served as an official farewell after not receiving the invitation to the Wimbledon dispute. On the grass he has brought out his best serve and net game, something that has not changed until the last day. The Balearic event was the second in 2023 in which he surpassed the first round (something he had only achieved in Acapulco, in February). The player himself said that he has exceeded his expectations. “I didn’t expect to be here today playing. This week very beautiful things have happened and they have been very special days in my country surrounded by my family and friends”, he said excitedly after the organization screened a video with his best moments and a message from Rafa Nadal.

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    The tributes to feli in Majorca have been happening since last Sunday, with two exhibition doubles matches: the first of feli with Tommy Haas against the American Ben Shelton and the Frenchman Richard Gasquet: and the second for the Spanish and the German against the comedians Arturo Valls and David Broncano. Already on Monday, he also said goodbye to the doubles discipline, where he played his last match with Stefanos Tsitsipas (a 6-4 double defeat against Santiago Gonzalez and Edouard Roger-Vasselin).

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    The Greek, number 5 in the world, has not missed the evolution of his doubles partner from the stands either. Although on the track he has not done very well. Despite being the first seed and favorite to win the tournament, he fell in the second round against the same executioner, Hanfmann. Feliciano has been the Spaniard who has gone the furthest in the tournament after the eliminations of Roberto Carballes Baena and Alejandro Davidovich.

    In addition to Nadal, at the Country Club of Santa Ponca he has been supported during the tournament by illustrious figures such as Carlos Moya or Marc Lopez, who was his doubles partner at the same time as coach. Since 2019, Feliciano has been combining his career with directing the Madrid Masters. And from this month, he also assumes the position of director of the 2023 Davis Cup Finals. He will continue to be linked to tennis, from which he leaves with seven ATP singles tournaments and five doubles in his showcase, as well as three Davis Cups with the Spanish team (2008, 2009 and 2019).

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    To his credit are also several milestones. He is the only tennis player to play at least 20 times each of the big four (Australian Open, Roland Garros, Wimbledon and the United States Open) and the player who has played the most consecutive Grand Slams (79). In Mallorca, he has also become the fourth tennis player with the most direct aces in history (10,260).

    Despite the fact that he would have liked to retire at Wimbledon, Mallorca has given Feliciano Lopez a sweet ending. However, there will still be one last dance from Toledo in an exhibition tournament: the Luanco (Asturias) beach tennis, which takes place at the end of July in an emblematic setting on the shores of the Cantabrian Sea.

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    Source: EL PAIS

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