Feliciano Lopez: This Week’s Player To Watch (June 23-June 29)

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Every week, LastWordOnTennis will highlight a player to keep an eye on as tournaments are played around the world. This week’s selection is Feliciano Lopez.

With only two weeks between the French Open and Wimbledon, the transition time for players to get used to grass courts has never been shorter. The Mallorca Championships makes its debut this week, a timely addition to the calendar to offer players one more chance to acclimatize to grass before SW19 begins. Given many players ranked outside of the top 100 are playing in Wimbledon’s qualifying rounds, the field at Mallorca is incredibly strong–24 of the 26 players are ranked inside the top 100.

One man only just made the cut for Wimbledon‘s main draw at #90 in the rankings. Don’t let his ranking fool you – Feliciano Lopez will be a formidable opponent for anyone this week and is our pick for this week’s player to watch at the Mallorca Open.

Iron Man

Feliciano Lopez turn 40 this September yet has shown no signs of hanging up his racket.

Lopez’s win against Karen Khachanov in the Round of 16 was his 500th ATP Tour level win, the 10th-highest of active players. He also holds the record for the most losses of any active player at 466, testament to his longevity and grit.

The Spaniard is also set to make his 77th consecutive appearance at a Grand Slam at Wimbledon, a record that is unlikely to be broken by anyone any time soon. This kind of consistency can’t be understated – at 63 tournaments and 37 years old, Andreas Seppi is the only man with an active streak close to keeping up with Lopez.

Grass Court Specialist

It’s Lopez’s favorite time of the year – the grass season is in full swing and he’s primed and ready.

Armed with a huge serve, some wicked lefty slice and sublime volleying skills (he won the French Open doubles in 2016), Lopez has made a name for himself as a grass court aficionado. He has a win percentage of 64.8% on grass, 13.1% higher than his overall win percentage, giving him the second-highest gap between the two win percentages (the only active player with a greater positive disparity between these win percentages is Nicolas Mahut).

If anything, Lopez has gotten better on grass with age–the most successful week of his career arguably came as recently as 2019 when he won the Queen’s Club singles and doubles.

At the same time, Lopez bowed out early in his last two tournaments on grass, losing both times to Denis Shapovalov as he struggled to beat the Canadian for pace at the back of the court. His next match against Adrian Mannarino should be a different story, however, as the Frenchman doesn’t possess an overwhelming game. Lopez should manage to give himself opportunities.

Winning record against the field

Feliciano Lopez has a chance against most players. His game can be uncomfortable to deal with to say the least, especially on grass.

He has amassed a 14-12 record against the remaining competitors at the Mallorca Championships and only has a losing head-to-head against two players in the draw, Roberto Bautista Agut and Jordan Thompson. He has split his matches against the top-seed, Daniil Medvedev, the fourth seed, Pablo Carreno Busta, and has a winning record against Ugo Humbert, Sam Querrey and his next opponent, Mannarino.

Don’t count on Lopez exiting the tournament without a fight.

This Week’s Player To Watch

If you’re looking to support an underdog on paper but you want to watch a high quality tennis match, look no further. Feliciano Lopez has a big enough serve to make him dangerous on grass yet he is more than just that, showing all the finesse and reflexes of a man that’s spent 20 years on the professional tour.

Be sure to catch Lopez’s match against Adrian Mannarino this Thursday at the Mallorca Open.

Main Photo from Getty.