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FELICIANO LÓPEZ

Photo via Scott Barbour

Photo via Scott Barbour

HOUSTON RANKS AT THE TOP OF ONE TENNIS PRO’S TRAVEL SCHEDULE

Though not from Houston, professional tennis player FELICIANO LÓPEZ considers Houston one of his favorite spots to hit the court. And he’s got a lot of basis for comparison. Currently ranked 14th in the world, López has an intense travel schedule and pretty much always has since he started playing professionally almost 17 years ago. “It’s beautiful – I feel very lucky to play there in Houston,” the top-ranked pro says on his upcoming tournament next month in River Oaks.

Talking with López, he’s about as polite as they come, but you wouldn’t know it on the court with his 200km/h serve, where he takes pity on no one. Although he considers tennis a “beautiful sport,” it is his job and he’s raked in almost $10 million throughout the course of his career. The hardest part of playing professional tennis for López isn’t the 3–5 hours of hard work he puts in on the court at least six days a week, it’s the grueling travel schedule that comes along with it. “I have a lot of favorite places I’ve played in. I like America in general – I like Miami, New York and Houston. I like my hometown of Madrid too,” he adds with a smile. “You have to sacrifice a lot. It [tennis] takes a lot of determination, dedication and hard work,” Lopez says of his sport. His toughest competitors? You probably guessed a few of them. “NADAL, FEDERERand DJOKOVIC – those three for sure,” López says.

AS FOR YOUNG ASPIRING PLAYERS, LÓPEZ OFFERS THIS SAGE ADVICE: IF YOU ENJOY IT, PLAY IT.

Check out Feliciano López at the 2015 Fayez Sarofim & Co. U.S. Men’s Clay Court Championship April 6–12 at River Oaks Country Club.

This article originally ran in the print issue of Local Houston Magazine’s March 2015 issue (their first ever sports issue, which The Blonde Side’s Jayme Lamm was guest editor of). The online version is here