Feliciano Lopez made time for his fans on Saturday by holding a Twitter Q&A on the ATP Tour’s official Spanish Twitter account. The 38-year-old, No. 56 in the FedEx ATP Rankings, answered questions about his future, serving as tournament director of the Mutua Madrid Open and his secret to staying at the top for so many years.
Can you definitely confirm that you will not be retiring anytime soon? | @phillippa62
I wasn’t planning on retiring in the short term. I’ve played the past few years as if each of them were my last and I’ve normally evaluated how things have gone at the end of the season. Based on that, I’ve decided whether or not to play another year. That’s worked well for me in recent years. It’s been a good way of focussing my goals during that time. Now, with this break we’re suffering due to the coronavirus, my plans have changed. The idea is to be able to play next year.
What do you miss the most about tennis now that there are no tournaments? | @ClaudiaMillan07
The thing that keeps me excited about continuing to play tennis is being able to remain competitive. That adrenaline from the competition is what I have missed most during these times. Obviously my training, daily work, everything that has been cut off suddenly from one day to the next is hard to accept. But I’ve also had other positive things during these difficult times like being able to be at home with my wife and also enjoy that time with her.
[TENNIS AT HOME]
When will the next virtual PlayStation tournament be? | @AziendaITF
I have no idea when the next tournament will be. Our tournament [in Madrid] was successful in every way. Before we started on that project, the organisers were a little nervous because it was the first time a virtual tennis event would be held. There were a lot of things, purely technical like internet connections in different countries, that were out of our hands. So we were a little more nervous than normal.
Despite the difficulties, it was a huge success and the players approached it with great enthusiasm. I think it was important for the world of tennis and specifically for us. Once again, we showed that our tournament has a tremendous capacity to innovate and reinvent ourselves during difficult times like the ones we are currently going through. It was a success in every sense and we are delighted.
If one thing has defined your career, it’s been your consistency. Your Grand Slam participation record still stands. What is your secret to staying at the top? | @icacharron
There are two very important things. One is the fact that I haven’t had significant injuries in my career. Physical fitness is something you have to work on from when you’re very young. I also have good genetics that have helped me not get injured, to be able to handle the stresses of work and so many years playing professional tennis. I think my style of play and technique have helped reduce wear and tear on my body as I am not making a huge effort on every shot in every match.
Then it’s looking after myself a lot, eating well, resting… In short, being professional and committed to your profession. This has been more important in recent years. When you’re young, sometimes you don’t pay too much attention to certain details which can make a difference, even though they’re small. In recent years, I’ve paid a lot of attention to nutrition and training my body to be more prepared when I face players who are often at least 10 or 15 years younger. It’s a very big challenge for me.
How do you cope with people asking you for autographs or photos when you’ve just lost a match or when you want to concentrate on an important match? | @leonor47142133
It depends on the match. There are times when you go out in a rage and you’re not in the mood, but that’s where we have to make an effort. I find it very difficult to say no to children when they approach in any situation. I think it makes more sense to respect someone’s privacy before they play a match than afterwards, sometimes even if I have lost.
Would you like to try Blind Tennis? Would you put on a blindfold and play with me? | @raulblindtennis
Yes, I would give it a go. But you’d be the clear favourite. I imagine that I would be disastrous at it. The only time I’ve tried to play with my eyes covered was recently in Singapore, where we are trying to build a tennis academy. I went out with a blindfold and it was a disaster. I managed to serve and hit the ball on the fourth or fifth attempt. I can only congratulate all of you that play the adapted version of the sport and send you my best.