Feliciano Lopez lost in the opening round of the Australian Open to Sam Querrey in three routine sets, but that loss actually got him one step closer to an ATP record that he looks on course to hold when he calls it a day. It is, however, not exactly a record players want to have.
Lopez’s loss against Querrey was his 412th at the ATP level, which makes Lopez the player with the second-most losses in ATP history, only behind Fabrice Santoro with 444. Barring unexpected retirement, Lopez seems to be a lock to beat this record, as he tends to average around 23-25 losses a season. Since is still a very solid ATP level player, it will take little more than a year for him to overtake Santoro bar an unexpected turn of events (injury, retirement, Lopez suddenly winning tournaments for fun, etc.).
Some other active players aren’t far from Santoro’s record and have a chance to be the ones holding this record, though their chances are clearly worse than Lopez’s: Mikhail Youzhny has 399 losses, which isn’t far from Lopez’s tally but the Russian’s career is in a much worse place, as it looks unlikely that he’ll be able to enter ATP events with any sort of regularity for much longer. Fernando Verdasco has 363 losses and he’s still going relatively strong and is younger than Lopez; same for David Ferrer with 354 losses and the motor to still play a lot of tournaments. It is not impossible that in five years it’s someone other than Lopez holding the record for most ATP losses ever, but all signs point to Lopez at least reaching the mark first.
Although this record doesn’t look flattering at all, it’s not as negative as it might appear. In this case, being the “biggest loser” in ATP history only shows how long Lopez was able to keep himself at a very high level–not high enough to win tournaments regularly, but to stay at a top 20/30 level–it’s a testament to his longevity as an excellent ATP player. Along with the all-time losses record, Lopez will also hold at least six ATP titles (two ATP 500, four ATP 250) in 17 tour finals, four Slam quarterfinal appearances, four Davis Cup titles, 36 wins over top 10 ranked players and surely at least 500 wins (he’s at 452 at the moment), with the chance to still add to all these numbers.
Feliciano Lopez has been a staple on the ATP circuit for well over a decade now and has every reason to be proud of what he’s accomplished in his career; he’s just likely to eventually become the holder of this rather unfortunate record.
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