- The 41-year-old Spaniard bids farewell to Acapulco, one of his favorite tournaments.
Acapulco, March 1st – Feliciano López has been one of the most consistent tennis players over the last decade at the Abierto Mexicano Telcel presented by HSBC. That consistancy and his love for Mexico and the tournament have allowed him to say goodbye as a professional player this 2023, an announcement he made last december and precisely,this news and last participation, gives a nostalgic touch to the XXX edition.
“I am happy to be here for another year. I still can compete, I have prepared myself to say goodbye as I always wanted, beyond winning or losing. You have to cope with the sadness of not having to chase that yellow ball around the world anymore… I played my last Wimbledon and when it was over I had the feeling that it was time, that my moment had come, that I had enjoyed a lot, specially the last few years, because many beautiful things happened to me that I did not expect” shared from Acapulco the current doubles champion.
Unfortunately his partner in the Mexican ATP 500, Stefanos Tsitsipas, got injured before the tournament and Feliciano could not find another partner to defend the title. He totaled six in doubles over a two-decade career and seven in singles. “The only fear I had… well, I’m still afraid because when you’ve been doing something for 20 years, you’re always afraid of what comes next. That happens to a lot of players and athletes, they’re afraid to retire because they don’t know what’s going to happen after tennis. In the end we have been doing this all our lives. For as long as I can remember I’ve had a racket in my hand, traveling all over the world,” he added at the beginning of his farewell tour.
A professional since 1997, the Spaniard reached No. 12 in 2017 at the age of 35 and for the same reason he defends veteran tennis players.
“The decision was made by me, it’s a conversation that arose with my closest environment, they asked me when? At first I was a little annoyed by the question. The last 10 years I have been asked, over and over again,but things were going well. The tennis players of another era, from the age of 30 is usually an age where they used to retire for one reason or another, now we see that careers are much longer, some play well at their 40’s. From the age of 30 onwards everyone starts to retire, and you listen to all the excuses ; Hey ‘leave me alone, I’m fine, I’m doing what I like’. I’ve always taken it differently, I play for a year and think about the future. I’ve been very lucky, I haven’t had any injuries, it’s been a wonderful last stage”.
Feliciano will face today in the second round of the Acapulco Open 500 the American(US) Frances Tiafoe, an opponent who is on the rise.