‘Roger Federer was a beast mentally and tennis-wise he overwhelmed you’

Ewan West
Roger Federer on court
Roger Federer reacts

Feliciano Lopez has described Roger Federer as a “beast” mentally and declared the Swiss great “imposed his dominance on the court because tennis-wise he overwhelmed you.”

The former world No 12 also feels his Spanish compatriot Carlos Alcaraz is “going to dominate the tour” once 23-time major winner Novak Djokovic retires.

Lopez, who retired from tennis after the ATP event in Mallorca last month, recorded wins over Djokovic and Rafael Nadal during his 26-year career.

The 41-year-old was unable to defeat Federer, though, losing all 13 of his encounters with the 20-time Grand Slam champion from 2003 to 2017.

The Spaniard won seven singles titles and reached four major quarter-finals in singles, as well as winning the French Open doubles title in 2016.

In an interview with Clay, Lopez discussed what made facing former world No 1 Federer such a difficult challenge.

“He usually imposed himself by his quality as a tennis player. Mentally, he was very strong, a beast. The three, even the four because I include [Andy] Murray, are mentally at a different level,” said the 41-year-old.

“Federer imposed his dominance on the court because tennis-wise he overwhelmed you. He was so good that you could not play at the pace you wanted. A different ball speed, a beastly rhythm and intensity of play.

“Each with their own particularities, it was very difficult to face them. There was nothing apart that made you suffer against him. His tennis was enough for him.”

The Spaniard spoke about world No 1 Carlos Alcaraz’s epic five-set victory over Djokovic in the Wimbledon final earlier this month.

“A spectacular match. It’s very difficult to say that it started a new era, but I do think beating ‘Nole’ in a Wimbledon final – it’s a very big step in Carlos’ career,” said Lopez.

“Carlos and ‘Nole’ are the two best players in the world by far right now. We will see how the year ends. Novak has two Grand Slams and Carlos one. I think Alcaraz is going to dominate the tour when ‘Nole’ is gone if everything stays normal.”

The former world No 12 also addressed the possibility of 2009 US Open champion Juan Martin Del Potro returning to play at the New York major this year.

“Yes, I would love to [see him play]. In the case of Juan Martin, much more, because he has suffered a lot of damage with injuries. His career would have been very different without them. He was already brilliant and he would have been even more so,” added Lopez.

“I was very sad to see him retire the way he did. Because tennis-wise he still had a lot left in him. I still think so, because Del Potro has shown that by training after operations and a thousand things he has been able to return to the top ten and beat the best.

“I hope he can return to tennis in a competitive way, even if it is only one tournament, two or three. It would be a pleasure to see him.”

READ MORE: ‘Carlos Alcaraz looks like Rafael Nadal but he has more speed’, says ATP star