Feliciano Lopez break Slam streak: ‘Just to challenge these animals’

FROM WIMBLEDON – Spaniard Feliciano Lopez, who broke Roger Federer’s consecutive major record, stepped out at Wimbledon on Tuesday for his 66th Grand Slam in a row.

The 36-year-old Lopez says that over the years, he rarely became injured. His body is very fluid, and he keeps away from long rallies. 

Well, that doesn’t work well on clay, and sometimes on the hard courts. But, on the slick grass, yes, shorter is better.

“My technique … I play quite easy, so I don’t make a huge effort in every single shot that I play,” Lopez said. “I haven’t suffered any big injuries in my career. This is the most important thing. And also mentally I have the strength enough to be playing so many years.”

Lopez never stops. Once in a while, he can rest at home in Spain. But, not for very long. He plays and he plays, and he travels from east to west. A number of players get hurt and then they have to stop. Look at Andy Murray, who pulled out just before Wimbledon. During the last year, he could not play tournaments for 11 months. And now he is on the sidelines again. The same goes with Novak Djokovic and Stan Wawrinka; they both were hurt for a long time. 
But not the creative Lopez, who has had a respectable career. He sees what has happened to the top guys. 

“Probably the two-handed backhand guys have more injuries in the last years. This is something that I realize,” Lopez said. “I don’t know why. But it is true that the two-handed backhand guys have been struggling with injuries lately more than one-handed backhand guys. Also, the stress that these guys they have every single day they compete, because they have to win every day. Also, the mental part is so important that it might be affected, on your body when you step in the court.

“These guys can suffer. And then they can have a big injury like Andy. He had last year, not this year, the hip surgery. Novak in the arm. Roger in the past, also in the back. Rafa [Nadal], his whole career he’s been suffering injuries. They have a lot of stress.”

Look at Lopez on court – running, bending down, sliding, swinging – he has stayed in there, playing the Slams 66 times in a row. That has been 16 years and a third. That is huge.
“Of course it means a lot to me. It’s not about reaching this number of the most consecutive Grand Slams played. It’s about playing at the top level,” Lopez said. “For me, to challenge the best players in the world. This is what I thought at this stage of my career was the most important thing, to stay healthy and to be able to compete against these monsters. But, after the 30s it was so important for me to stay fresh and healthy, just to challenge these animals”

Sharapova keeps stalling
Maria Sharapova lost again, going down to Vitalia Diatchenko 6-7(3) 7-6(3) 6-4. Once again, the five-time major champion couldn’t pull it of. She was so close to winning, but as she says, she needs to be more patient. When the errors mount, then she over-thinks. She says she is not panicking, but she gets shaky.

“I think it’s always a different type of pressure. When you’re young, it’s a pressure of the unknown. You don’t know,” Sharapova said. “It’s the pressure of the inexperience, how you’re going to deliver under circumstances that are presented at you that are very new and challenging. When you’re older, you have those experiences, which is sometimes very helpful. You have been in that position, and sometimes you pulled through and did extremely well, and others you haven’t.nAll those are still memories in your mind, but I think that’s what makes tennis great, you have to create new ones.”

She sure does. No. 22 Sharapova said that gradually she is getting better, which is reflected in her hike up the rankings. But, she has a tremendous work to do. She will never gives up, and she will always battle, but she has to improve. Very soon.

“I think the fight, the motivation. Obviously the health,” she said. “That’s crucial, to be able to keep putting the work in. In a matter of a couple points, maybe the situation could have been different. I would have been here saying, I didn’t play my best tennis. I’m giving myself another chance.

Sharapova has lost a number of matches this year. In some she has played OK; in others, she has been off. She was crushed by Angie Kerber at the Australian Open. She upended Karolina Pliskova at Roland Garros, but then Garbine Muguruza destroyed her. Overall over the past six months, Sharapova has had some fine wins, like beating Jelena Ostapenko and Daria Gavrilova. However, beating the top players has been a gigantic challenge.

“You always want to deliver in those moments. But I’ve never really shied away from that. I hope that I don’t continue to,” Sharapova continued. “I hope that I keep putting myself on the line for those moments. … You could work through all those formulas. But, at the end of the day, if I wake up and I want to go out and I want to put the work in, I think that speaks for itself. Doesn’t need to speak to anyone else. Just needs to speak for me, which is the most important thing.”

Four picks for Wednesday

Agnieszka Radwanska vs Lucie Safarova
I could be wrong, but Aga will continue to get better, given that she barely lost on Monday. This will be three sets, but in the end, Radwanska will confuse her.
Andreas Seppi vs Kevin Anderson
The huge-serveing Anderson can’t bent down, and he can slip of the grass. So, the Italian Seppi will edge him in five sets. 

Marin Cilic vs Guido Pella
The Croatian is getting better every week. He has a chanced to win the trophy and he will easily beat Pella in three sets.

John Isner vs Ruben Bemelmans
The American finally said that he likes grass. It has taken him a long time, but he is feeling enthusiastic. Bemelmans has improved a lot, but it is almost impossible to return against Isner, who will win in four sets.

The top 32’s in 2015: Who’s hot, who’s not? Tomic & F Lopez, Keys & Wozniacki (No. 20-17)

Tomic USO 13 TR MALT6955



No. 20

Dominic Thiem

Only 22 years old, the Austrian Thiem really improved this year, winning four matches in Miami, upending Feliciano Lopez and Jack Sock before falling against Andy Murray on hard courts. On clay, he won Nice by over stroking Nick Kyrgios, John Isner and Leonardo Mayer. After he lost early at Wimbledon, he went back on clay again, winning the title at Umag, and at Gstaad he beat David Goffin in the final. Thiem is flashy and can be very powerful. However, he did very little after August until the end of the season. He lost a lot of close contests and if he wants to go very far, he needs to improve and add more variety.

No. 19

Benoit Paire   

France has so many good players, but can any of them win a major? Hmmm. However, Paire has come out of nowhere beginning 2015 at No. 135 and ended the season ranked No. 19. That is pretty darn good. It took him a while to be able to go toe-to-toe with the elite, but he won three Challengers in France, and during the summer, he kept at it. The 26-year-old won Bastad by beating Tommy Robredo in the final, and at the US Open he stunned Kei Nishikori in the first round. In Tokyo, he bested him again, jumping on the ball and attacking early. But, Paire played too many tournaments – 32 events mind you – and he has to rest once and a while, but if he continues to improve, a top-10 is ripe on the picking.

No. 18

Bernard Tomic

For the first time, the 23-year-old Aussie has been much more consistent. Yes, he can get emotional off the court and he can be emotional when he is upset, but overall, he has improved and he has not given in on court, perhaps that’s the first time since he started out on tour in 2009. He does have a big first serve, he can rip his forehand and backhand, and he is pretty good at the net. However, the reason why he has yet to crack the top 10 is because his second serve is too soft, and, while has a fine slice, he pushes it around too much and he doesn’t attack early enough. Without a doubt, he has a lot of variety, but he doesn’t always dictate and if he wants to be able to knock down the big guns he has to be stronger physically and mentally. If he does in 2016, he can go very deep. How about the 2016 Aussie Final?

No. 17

Feliciano Lopez

Talk about the veterans improving all the time? How about the Spaniard Lopez, who for so many years was good, but not exactly great. Over  the past year, he has become a legitimate top 20. He moves well to the net and can put away his volleys (while nailing 743 aces this year). The 34-year-old reached the US Open, knocking off Mardy Fish in five dramatic sets, and beat Milos Raonic and Fabio Fognini before he fell in four tough sets against Novak Djokovic.

He also reached the finals at two 250s ATPs at Kuala Lumpur and Quito. Sure, he won’t win a major, but he is pretty efficient and in 2016, could find his way into the semis at one of the Slams.


No. 20

Sarah Errani

Two years ago, it looked like the Italian would be a little more powerful, go for her shots and potentially dominate the clay. Not so. While she has been OK this year, she has moved back a little bit. Yes, on hard courts, she did upend Petra Kvitova and Vika Azarenka, which was excellent work, but on clay, she had not be able to rise up in Madrid, Rome and Roland Garros. Yes, she beat a bunch of young competitors by schooling them, which is fine, but her second serve is incredibly slow and, while she is a very good volley, she doesn’t come in often enough. In 2016, she will have to if she will ever returns back to the top 5 again.

No. 19

Elina Svitolina

Quietly yet steadily, the Ukrainian cracked the top 20, playing nearly every week, knocking out the likes of Angie Kerber, Lucie Safarova and Genie Bouchard. She is very fast, she rarely gets tired and when she pushes forward, she can kiss the lines. Without a doubt, the 21-year-old still needs a lot to learn. But she is smart and ambitious and, if she progresses, she has a real chance to reach the top 10 for the first time.

No. 18

Madison Keys

At times, Keys had a few tremendous tournaments: at the Aussie Open, she reached the semifinal, knocking out Petra Kvitova and Venus Williams and then fell against Serena Williams; in Charleston, she reached the final and lost to Angie Kerber; at Wimbledon she reached the quarters before she went down against Aga Radwanska in a terrific match; at the US Open, she got some revenge when she beat Aga in the third round, but then Serena pounded her in the fourth round. However, other than that, she did very little. She is one of the strongest young players out there, but she can get down on herself. She gets very frustrated when she isn’t all right, and she consequently sprays the ball. Without a doubt, Keys is good enough to win a major someday, but the 20-year-old has to take a deep breath and realize you can’t play perfectly all the time. If she plugs away, eventually she will become better and better and discover how exactly to play the correct way.

No. 17

Caroline Wozniacki

This has been ‘Caro’s’ toughest year since she began 10 years ago. Back then when she was No. 1 in 2010, she was exhausting nearly every opponent. She was not only super quick, but she never felt tired, she was incredibly steady and nailed her backhand from wherever direction. But now, she has been hurt too much, she has slower, she is constantly struggling about which way she is going and she has been too far back behind the baseline. She always shows up and tries, which is admirable, but if she doesn’t reconstruct her forehand, or become more aggressive on her returns, or charge towards the net, she is never going to win a Grand Slam. The 25-year-old has to change, or she will never reach the top 5 again.


Who’s hot! Sharapova, Nadal voted sexiest again

nadal_300Thanks to our very loyal and active readers and for the thousands of votes we received. We love the responses.

Maria Sharapova is on a roll, winning now for the third straight year. However, boyfriend Grigor Dimtrov, who was voted sexiest last year, came in second. He lost out to three-time winner Rafa Nadal, who also was the hottest in 2011 & 2012.

Tennis’ hottest couple, Maria Sharapova and Grigor Dimtrov, won it in 2014.

The awards were named for Ivanovic and Safin whose notable sexiness helped them capture the awards for the first five years of the poll, 2005-2009. They were declared ineligible after the awards were named for them.

Results of all seven 2014 TennisReporters.net awards are listed below:

Male Player


Rafael Nadal 35%
Grigor Dimitrov 23%
Roger Federer 12%
Feliciano Lopez 8%
Novak Djokovic 6%
Ernests Gulbis 6%
Nick Kygrios 4%
Tommy Haas 3%
Fabio Fagnini 2%
Ryan Harrison 1%

Female Player


Maria Sharapova 35%
Eugenie Bouchard 17%
Victoria Azarenka 13%
Caroline Wozniacki 12%
Serena Williams 8%
Maria Kirlenko 6%
Alize Lim 5%
Dominika Cibulkova 2%
Karolina Pliskova 2%
Sloane Stephens 1%

ATP Coach of the Year


Magnus Norman /
Stan Wawrinka
Stefan Edberg /
Roger Federer
Michael Chang /
Kei Nishikori
Toni Nadal /
Rafael Nadal
Boris Becker /
Novak Djokovic
Goran Ivanisevic /
Marin Cilic

WTA Coach of the Year


Carlos Rodriguez /
Li Na
Patrick Mouratoglou /
Serena Williams
Wim Fissette /
Simona Halep
Sven Groeneveld /
Maria Sharapova
Nick Saviano /
Eugenie Bouchard
David Kotyza /
Petra Kvitova

ATP Breakthrough Kid of the Year
(24 or younger)


Kei Nishikori 65%
Grigor Dimitrov 15%
Dominic Thiem 8%
Milos Raonic 6%
David Goffin 6%

WTA Breakthrough Kid of the Year
(21 or younger)


Eugenie Bouchard 49%
Belinda Bencic 23%
Garbine Muguruza 16%
Zarina Diyas 6%
Madison Keys 6%

Tweeter of the Year


Laura Robson 30%
Roger Federer 19%
Stan Wawrinka 15%
Tomas Berdych 12%
Serena Williams 8%
Caroline Wozniacki 6%
Maria Sharapova 5%
Andy Murray 3%
Eugenie Bouchard 2%
Grigor Dimitrov 1%

Sharapova Finally Tops Sexiest Poll; Nadal wins Men’s

Maria has rematch with Lisicki.

It took eight years for Sugarpova to rule as sexiest female player.

For the first time in seven years, Maria Sharapova has won the TennisReporters.net Readers’ Poll for Sexiest Female of the Year. Sharapova

Time for the 8th TennisReporters.net Readers’ Poll

Readers: Vote for your top and sexiest players in the annual TennisReporters.net Readers’ Poll.
Rafa put a dent in Federer's GOAT label.

Rafa put a dent in Federer’s GOAT label.

It’s the eight annual TennisReporters.net Readers’ Poll, designed for our readers to sound off on their preferences.

Our most popular categories are Male and Female Players of the Year and, of course, the Sexiest Players. We’re allowing comments on the polls for the first time ever.

Sexiest Female Player Award is named after Ana Ivanovic after she won for five straight years. Sexiest Male Player Award is named after Marat Safin after he was also a five-time winner.

Last year’s winners included Novak Djokovic and Petra Kvitova for Players of the Year along with Rafael Nadal and Carolina Wozniacki as the sexiest. Last year’s voting can be found by clicking here.

TennisReporters.net editors do not necessarily support the results of the vote, especially in the Player of the Year categories. We realize that many readers will vote for their favorites as opposed to the players who have had better results.

Polls are open for one week to Saturday, Dec. 29 with results posted on Sunday, Dec. 30.

TR 2012 Year end top 50: The men, Nos. 31-40

Marcos was wed to former player Karolina Sprem and also became a father.

We continue a review of the top 50 singles players on the ATP and WTA Tours. Today we look at the men ranked Nos. 31 -40.

31. Radek Stepanek

No the 34-year-old Czech is not the player that he was six years ago when he was a top 10 player, but he

ATP 2011 Review, Nos. 11-20

Andy was bit by the injury bug again.

This is largely a veteran group, with only two players under the age of 24 and a slew 26 or older. Only two men, Del Potro and Roddick have won majors, and none made it to the final four a major in 2012.

11. JUAN MARTIN DEL POTRO: My expectations for the Argentine were too high in 2011 as I expected him to return to his 2009 US Open winning form by mid summer. He did not, although despite two tight losses to Ferrer and Nadal in the Davis Cup final, he did show a lot more confidence and accuracy both off the ground and with his serve at year

Depending on Nalbandian

Ferrer will await Nalbandian if it gets to a 5th rubber.

After a frightful Friday for Argentina when Rafa Nadal crushed Juan Monaco and David Ferrer pulled off perhaps the most significant victory of his career when he stopped Juan Martin Del Potro in a delicious nearly five-hour. five-setter, South America

US Open: grading the pros


This was written before the women

Wimbledon Men’s 4th Round Picks: Eight men soon to be out, and eight to stay in

Novak will try and fend off the charging Llodra.



Novak Djokovic received the booby-trapped gift of Del Potro in a similar round at RG and now Nadal has tall task of finding away to stop the consistently Argentine at Wimbledon. The Spaniard did take the DelPo down Indian Wells, but that was less than three months into Del Potro’s comeback and he looked pretty good in overcoming a motivated Gilles Simon 7-6(8) 7-6(5) 7-5. Del Potro is still not that comfortable on grass though and Nadal is. So much will depend on how well both men serve and whether Nadal can find away into Delpo’s backhand side. He absolutely must not allow Del Potro to climb into the zone on his forehand side. Nadal will scrape through in five dramatic sets.


As I wrote on USTA.com, this is winnable match for Fish, but 2010 finalist Berdych is playing extremely well again and will have to be knocked out of his comfort zone. The two have never played before and both are serving like monsters. Fish is a better volleyer and can match the Czech from the backhand side, but Berdych has a harder and more accurate forehand. If Mardy is going to reach his third Slam quarter, he must do an excellent job of attacking Berdych’s second serves, which I think he will and pull out a four set victory.


How exactly is Gasquet going to win this match knowing that Murray has come back from two sets down against him twice, including at 2008 Wimby, when Gasquet served foe the match at 5-4 in the third set? Sure he has tremendous talent, but the in-between-the-legs shot master Murray is right there with him, is mentally tougher and is a more solid all around player. The Frenchman will win one set, no more.


Huge props to both guys for getting here: to Lopez for his first-ever victory over Andy Roddick in the last round and to the Pole for qualifying and upsetting Gael Monfils. Kubot can really play, but with the way that F-Lo is serving, volleying and passing, he’ll get through here in straight sets.



This match will be a blast to watch, even though you have to like the Frenchman to come though on grass based on his big serve, athleticism and ability to take over the net. But Ferrer is a speed demon who has actually been volleying quite well himself. Whether he can stretch this to five sets will depend on his return, but let’s assume he will return at least decently, because you know the guy thinks he can mentally outlast the Frenchman. Ferrer may be able to for two sets, but Tsonga has become a better competitor late in matches and he believes he can win this one, which is more than half the battle with Big Jo. Tsonga in five.


The all-time great is 10-0 against the Russian, has beaten him twice on grass in Halle and has only dropped 2 of 24 sets to him. Is it clear enough who is going to win this match? Federer will enter the quarters again virtually untouched and then the fun really begins.


Few expected this fourth round contest, but Tomic is developing into a fine all-around player and the aging Belgian has gone deep twice at Wimbledon, so it should not come as too much of shock. The 18 year old has a lot of variety, as he’s able to keeps his slices low and can hammer his forehand. Malisse beat him on grass in Queens last year, but Bernie appears to be growing up mentally and will stay composed long enough to win in four. It finally looks like Australia has another top-10 player to be on its hands.


Llodra joins Lopez as another lefty serve-and-volleyer in the round of 16 and the world has seen him stifle plenty of foes, but even though Djokovic was feeling awful in his four-set win over Marcos Baghdatis, he still returns better than anyone else on tour and serves big enough to keep the Frenchman from chipping and charging a ton. This one will be a mini-thriller, as Llodra won there only super fast court meeting at the 2010 Paris Indoors. Djokovic won their other two meetings on slower outdoor hard courts, but with the weather heating up, the grass court should play significantly faster. I see Llodra making charge, but believe that Djokovic will win almost all the big points in a four set victory.