Thursday, March 1, 2012
DUBAI: Feliciano Lopez eager for Olympics on grass
Spanish heartthrob Feliciano Lopez is at a career-high ranking at No15 and is reaping the benefits of getting older and equally wiser.
Like a few other players in the top-ten dancing around either side of 30, Lopez tries to explain how his tennis continues to get better without letting his 30 years of age slow him down.
“I feel 100 per cent physically which is probably the most important thing right now,” Lopez told me by the pool at the Aviation Club on Tuesday.
“I avoided injuries during my career. Some of the players if you see them they are always down because of the injuries. So I’m so lucky with this part.
“I have more experience, I play more calm, which is very important for me. A few things that make me play better and better.”
The Toledo-born has quite a unique game for a Spaniard, as he thrives on fast surfaces unlike his clay-court-loving countrymen, and he’s excelled in Dubai his very first trip out here, making the quarters on debut in 2003, before finishing runner-up in 2004 and again in 2008.
He says: “Somehow these conditions (in Dubai) are good for my game. The second year I came here I reached the final so I’m always very happy to come here, this is a great tournament, so I think that’s what makes me play good here.
“I try to enjoy, go for dinner outside, go to Burj Khalifa. Yesterday we went to the Palm in the afternoon because we had a few hours off, so we had the chance to go there, because my coach had never seen it before. He was so happy to be there.”
Considering how well he’s been doing, Lopez is still hoping to move onwards and upwards as he eyes a good run at the Olympics this summer at Wimbledon – a venue where he’s made the quarter-finals three times.
He says: “I have the Olympic Games. I already played in Athens, but I would love to play there. Because of the place where it’s going to be – at Wimbledon and that’s my favourite surface. So I have a really good chance to play my second Olympic Games on grass at 30 years old, it’s a great opportunity for me. And of course to reach the top ten in my career, that would be a nice goal.”