Spain's golden era is fading but Lopez stays positive

Fri Nov 18, 2016 5:49pm EST
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By Martyn Herman

LONDON (Reuters) - Spain must accept the fact that the sun is setting on its golden generation in men's tennis and the next one may take a while to arrive, Feliciano Lopez said at the ATP World Tour Finals this week.

For the first time since 1999, no Spanish player was involved in the singles at the showpiece event featuring the world's top eight players, with only Lopez and his namesake Marc Lopez flying the flag for the powerhouse nation in the doubles.

The pair bowed out on Friday, losing their final group match to Raven Klaasen and Rajeev Ram.

No Spanish player has won the singles title since Alex Corretja beat compatriot Carlos Moya in Hannover in 1998, but the likes of Moya, Juan Carlos Ferrero, Tommy Robredo, David Ferrer, Fernando Verdasco and Nadal have all been regulars.

Nadal would have crept into the top eight this year but ended his season early to recover from injury.

The clock is ticking on 30-year-old Nadal though and there are serious doubts about whether he will ever return to the level that once made im the most feared opponent in tennis.

Ferrer is 34 and Verdasco, Robredo and Lopez are all in their 30s.

"It's something that we have to accept, our tennis is not going to be successful forever," the 35-year-old Lopez told Reuters at the O2 Arena.   Continued...

Sep 1, 2016; New York, NY, USA; Feliciano Lopez of Spain hits to Joao Sousa of Portugal on day four of the 2016 U.S. Open tennis tournament at USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. Mandatory Credit: Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports