Lopez Sets New Record In Barcelona
The Spaniard is playing at the Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell for the 17th time
"Playing 17 straight years here, or 60 consecutive Grand Slams, shows that you've had a bit of luck with injuries to be able to have such a long career," said Lopez. "I've worked hard for it. I've taken care of myself and it's an honour to be here another year because for me every 'el Godo' is a gift.
"There aren't many tournaments like 'el Godo' left, that are played in a club like this. And in my case, it's even more special because I was brought up here," continued the Toledo-born Lopez. "I came here when I was 13 and I feel a lot of love for the people at this club. For everyone who works here, from the people at the entrance, the serving staff, the locker room attendants. It's very special."
The 35-year-old Lopez, No. 40 in the Emirates ATP Rankings, had a special opening match this week when he faced another tournament veteran, Albert Montanes. It was the Catalan's last professional match.
"These are difficult matches to play, there are lots of feelings," said Lopez. "I tried to forget all that and focus. In the end, he said goodbye in his favourite city, at his favourite tournament, and for me it's an honour to have been able to be part of that day."
Next up for Lopez is a clash with World No. 1 Andy Murray, who is yet to strike a ball in Barcelona after Bernard Tomic withdrew from their second-round clash. "He's the type of player that has a different talent to everyone else, with an incredible ability to adapt," said Lopez. "That's why he's so good and why he is No. 1.
"For me it will be spectacular to play in my club against the World No. 1. It is a great match. These are the matches I keep playing tennis for."