The Toledo tennis player Feliciano López has confirmedduring the Tourism and Sports Forum organized by EFE Sport Business, with the collaboration of Best Option Media, that next season he will play “some tournaments to say goodbye”, because he is already “an age and it is something normal”.
Thus, 2023 will be his last season as a professional tennis player. before focusing on his new role as director of the Mutua Madrid Open.
Feliciano has also highlighted the importance of Roger Federer in the world of tennis, in addition to assessing the impact that the Mutua Madrid Open has both locally and internationally.
“Time will tell if Rafa Nadal, Novak Djokovic or Federer himself is the best of all time, but beyond that, Federer’s retirement marks a before and after”, explained the director of the Mutua Madrid Open.
“It is a moment that you know is going to come, but it is painful when it comes. I believe that very few athletes transcend beyond sport and he has, like Michael Jordan or Tiger Woods.
Feliciano López joked about having more appearances in a row than the Swiss in Grand Slam tournaments. “He’s the only thing I beat him at,” he said with a laugh.
“What I highlight most about him is that he has taken tennis to another level at one point, after the withdrawal of Sampras and Agassi. in which there was not so much attention”, he argued during the VII Efe Sport Business Days Forum.
“And, of course, we have to talk about his way of being, his quality as a person, his character. Few people have found Federer a but in his 23-year career. He is an example on and off the track. It is very difficult to maintain that for so long. Tennis won’t be the same without him.”
Apart from current tennis news, marked by that Laver Cup in which the Swiss will officially say goodbye to tennis playing a double with Rafa Nadal, who became number twelve in the world hhas valued the importance that the Mutua Madrid Open has and the luck that the tournament “has been accompanied during these years by Rafa Nadal and that, suddenly, now a child like Carlos Alcaraz comes out that will also accompany us for many years”.
“Alcaraz is a very important asset. Nadal has been accompanying us since 2004 and 2005, the tournament will continue until 2031 and we are lucky that Carlitos assures us of another Spaniard succeeding in the years to come. They are two incredible tennis players”, said Feliciano López.
The man from Toledo affected the message. “I always tell everyone that in the country where we have the best tennis player in history, now another child will emerge who is number one in the world. at such a young age it is very remarkable, it is surreal”.
Similarly, Feliciano wanted to highlight the importance that Madrid City Council has had from the beginning. “It has been a very important part since 2002 in which the then mayor, Álvarez del Manzano, Ion Tiriac, the owner, and Manolo Santana, director then, they bet on bringing the tournament”.
“All the mayors who have accompanied us have understood that the tournament belongs to the people of Madrid and not to any political party”he added.
The tennis player from Toledo highlighted the importance that the tournament has for the tourism industry. “The economic impact has been 230.9 million euros and the average expenditure of each total foreign visitor has been 644 euros with an average stay of 5 and a half days. 26% of viewers are foreigners, which is something that I did not expect. That is a huge accolade for tourism in the city, because it is people who go out, who consume…”.
He wanted to make clear the importance at an international level that it has for the city of Madrid. “It attracts a lot of people from outside. Next year we are going to have a 15-day tournament, which will bring even more people. I, who still have the good fortune to be able to play many tournaments outside of Spain, people tell me that they want to come, that they want to get to know the city and the culture”.
And also in terms of sponsors, the event is fundamental, especially for Mutua Madrileña, the main one of all. “It’s just that people already say ‘we meet to go to the Mutua’. That is a luxury for them. It was difficult for us to get people to associate it, but in the end we have achieved it”, he summarizes in this regard.
Taking advantage of the context of the Tourism and Sports forum organized by Efe Sport Business, he said that, since the tournament try to “find a place for each sponsor, that they find their place and that we can have a lasting relationship”.
Before finishing, Feliciano referred to the different way in which sports are approached in the United States, using the example of the drink that was fashionable at the last US Open, a cocktail called ‘HoneyDeuces’. “It is that there the customer who enters the event, consumes, takes merchandising… it is a different concept from what we see in Europe”.
Lastly, he discussed the influence he is having the entrance of Arab capital in the world of sport. Feliciano López has given as an example what happened in the world of golf with the LIV circuit and has dropped that “although there is no concern as such in the world of tennis, there is a certain buzz in case a company arrives with a lot of capital with which the ATP cannot compete”.