Emotional and Epic: Feliciano Lopez's Role in Rafael Nadal's 1000th ATP Win

Rafael Nadal scored his 1000th ATP victory against Feliciano Lopez in Paris 2020

by Jovica Ilic
Emotional and Epic: Feliciano Lopez's Role in Rafael Nadal's 1000th ATP Win

The veteran Feliciano Lopez retired from professional tennis in June at home in Mallorca. Rafael Nadal was there to support his Davis Cup teammate, honoring Lopez after many memorable moments on the court in the previous two decades.

Interestingly, two Spaniards met at the 2020 Paris Masters, and Rafa prevailed 4-6, 7-6, 6-4 in two and a half hours, earning his 1000th ATP victory! Speaking about the match, Lopez said he enjoyed the battle, feeling good about pushing world no.

2 to the limits at 39 and looking eager to extend his career. It was Nadal's tenth victory over his older compatriot, prevailing in set number two and scoring an early break in the decider that pushed him over the top. Rafa saved three out of four break points, delivering one break from seven opportunities and forging a small advantage in the shortest and most extended exchanges.

Nadal kicked off the match with a double fault, suffering a break in the first game for an early setback. Lopez confirmed the advantage with a service winner in game two and saved a break chance in the fourth game with an ace to open a 3-1 gap.

Rafa netted a forehand in game six to hand another game to his rival before holding at 15 a few minutes later to remain within one break deficit. Feliciano moved 5-3 in front and held at love following a service winner in game ten to wrap up the opener 6-4 in 40 minutes.

Nadal lost four points behind the initial shot in set number two and created five break chances. He held at 15 with an unreturned serve in the first game and earned two break opportunities at 2-1.

Feliciano Lopez shared thoughts about his Paris Masters match vs.

Rafael Nadal.

Feliciano saved them to stay on the scoreboard's positive side before playing against three more break points at 2-3. Nadal failed to convert those, serving well by the end of the set but not creating more opportunities ahead of the tie break.

Rafa landed a volley winner at 3-3 to grab a mini-break and fired two winners to earn three set points. Lopez saved two before Nadal seized the third to gather a boost ahead of the final set. The younger Spaniard clinched a break at love in the first game and saved two break chances in the next one to move 2-0 in front.

Both players served well in the remaining games, and Rafa sealed the deal with a hold in game ten, moving into the third round and securing a milestone 1000th ATP win. "Playing against Rafa is always special for me, especially at my age.

At 39, I value those big matches more, and they push me to play and practice every day. I was able to push Rafa to the limits, feeling competitive against world no. 2 and one of the best players in history. That means a lot to me, making me feel like going for another year before I retire.

There was also the emotional side of being involved in his 1000th ATP victory, and it was not easy to compete in front of an empty stadium, which is extra tough against Rafa. Under the circumstances we had, I enjoyed it the most.

I played very well, although, unfortunately, I could not win. Still, it was a match that gives me the strength to continue," Feliciano Lopez said.

Feliciano Lopez Rafael Nadal