The 37-year-old Feliciano Lopez had played the first professional matches before the most of the current NextGen stars were even born, entering the top-100 after Wimbledon 2002 and staying there ever since for a fantastic streak and a true testimony of his quality!
Feliciano has won almost 500 ATP matches in a career, competing in 17 ATP finals and lifting six trophies, the biggest one at Queen's two years ago after an epic win over Marin Cilic in the deciding match. Also, Lopez is only the second player in the Open era with at least 430 ATP tournaments played, joining Fabrice Santoro on that list and standing as the record-holder with 68 consecutive Grand Slam appearances since 2002!
Feliciano has already chosen his path once his career would end, becoming tournament director at Mutua Madrid Open, one of the most important sporting events in Spain. The veteran is ready to compete by the end of 2019, already signing to play Los Cabos at the end of July and also receiving a wild card for the ATP 500 event at home in Barcelona last week, his 19th and probably the last Trofeo Conde de Godo.
Making his debut in Barcelona back in 1998, Feliciano missed only one edition since 2001 and he is the two-time quarter-finalist in front of the home fans on the least favorite surface. With the 19th main draw appearance, Lopez has become only the sixth player in the Open era to achieve that at a single event, joining Andre Agassi, Roger Federer, Lleyton Hewitt, Fabrice Santoro and Jimmy Connors, also the second to do so at clay tournament after Santoro who competed at Roland Garros 20 times.
In the opening round, Feliciano lost to Fernando Verdasco and this was a significant defeat that sends him out from the top-100 for the first time since July 2002 and 887 consecutive weeks in the elite group! This was the second-longest streak among the active players behind Roger Federer who has been on 1021 straight weeks in the top-100, moving Rafael Nadal into the second place with 837.
Fernando Verdasco, Richard Gasquet and Novak Djokovic are the only remaining active players with more than 700 weeks without dropping out from the top-100 and we will follow their progress on the list in the upcoming few years.
With those 877 consecutive weeks in the top-100, Lopez is a proud owner of the third-longest streak in the Open era, only behind Roger Federer and Jimmy Connors whom he could have caught in three months if he had managed to score a few more wins in the last ten months or so.