Feliciano Lopez Slam record under threat with ATP ranking uncertainty
Feliciano Lopez is in danger of having his record streak of Grand Slam appearances ended as he sits barely above his lowest ATP ranking for 20 years.
After making his Slam main draw debut as a 19-year-old at Roland Garros 2001, the Spaniard made his second Major appearance at the same event a year later in 2002.
Since then, Lopez has competed in singles at every single Slam event consecutively for the past 19 and a half years, a streak of 79 tournaments in a row.
However, now ranked 113th in the world, the 40-year-old is in danger of having that streak ended not by bad luck through injury, but simply by potentially not being ranked highly enough to enter a Slam.
But the Spaniard appears not to be worried about such a possibility as he continues to focus on competing day-to-day on the tour.
“The truth is that now I am not thinking about Roland Garros,” Lopez told Marca last week while competing at the Mexican Open in Acapulco.
“In the end, the record is a consequence of being able to remain competitive and be in the top 100, which is where I would like to be and where I think I still have the level to be.
“For me each Grand Slam [appearance] is an individual record.
“The truth is that I don’t think: ‘I’m going to add 78, 79, 80. etc.’
“For me, each Grand Slam is a small trophy.
“Being 40 years old to be able to play them is very special. I don’t think so much about the record but how lucky I am to be there again.”
While Lopez has never progressed beyond the quarter-finals of a Slam, a feat he has achieved four times, the run of successive appearances speaks to the consistency and longevity of the man.
Speaking specifically about rankings and qualifying for a Major, a Grand Slam singles main draw is made up of 128 competitors.
Of those spots, 104 are occupied by the 104 highest ranked players to sign up for the event and be fit, 16 are taken by qualifiers and eight by wildcards.
Lopez climbed one place with the most recent ATP rankings update following Acapulco, from 114th to 113th, the former representing his lowest ranking since April 2002, before his incredible streak began.
On the contrary, should Lopez maintain a high enough ranking and be fit to play Roland Garros come 22nd May, he would tie fellow 40-year-old Roger Federer’s all-time men’s appearance record of 81.
Only one player has competed in more Slam main draws total than Federer.
41-year-old Venus Williams has played an astonishing 90 Slam singles events after making her Major debut as a 16-year-old at Roland Garros in 1997, missing just nine events in the 25 years since.
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