Feliciano Lopez says ‘lucky seat' is key to retaining Queen’s title this summer

Lizzie Edmonds
Feliciano Lopez of Spain poses with the trophy in the locker room after winning the 2017 men's singles final at Queen's: Getty Images

Feliciano Lopez has revealed he has one ritual when playing in a major tennis championship - he has to sit in the same spot throughout the match while courtside.

The Spaniard, 36, revealed he often barged past his competitor to get on to court first so he could take his pick of the seats.

The world number 33 said: “I am not a superstitious person, really. To be honest, the only thing I do is sit on the same bench each time. If I am going on to the court, then I want to get out there first to pick the seat and I will always sit on that seat. That is my only thing.”

Lopez was speaking before the Fever-Tree Championships at The Queen’s Club, which start on June 18.

He broke down on court there last June when he narrowly beat Croatian Marin Cilic, finally winning the title two decades after making his professional debut.

Lopez said the win was a “very special moment”, but confessed it would be “very tough” to maintain his title because of the competition this year. Fellow Spaniard and world number one Rafael Nadal, British number one Kyle Edmund and world number four Čilić are all due to play at the west Kensington club.

Lopez, who is based in Madrid, said: “[Winning Queen’s] was a very special moment. I lost in the final a few years before, which was so tough, so to finally do it, it was so special. To be honest, it was crazy. There was a lot of emotion. I wanted it so much, I wanted to win my entire career so I was just so happy.”

“It is not easy to win [at Queen’s]. When you see the line-up… This year is very tough and so to repeat what I did last year, it will be hard. I am confident in my capacity, I work hard and I am a good grass player.

“It is a difficult competition as it is one week, match after match, and you can play good one day, then not the next and that’s it. I hope to play a good championship and I hope to have a good season, but it will be tough.”

Lopez, who defeated former British number one Tim Henman in the latter’s last professional match at Wimbledon in 2007, said he was hoping to use the “great” atmosphere of the championships to help his chances.

He said: “It is a unique tournament. All of the all-time greats have played there. It is a dream for any tennis player to do Queen’s. The atmosphere is great, it is really special.”

Lopez, whose marriage to model Alba Carrillo ended in March last year, refused to say who his biggest competition would be this year, adding: “I hope to be able to compete and be healthy and ready. There is a lot of pressure but I just want to compete and be healthy.”

Lopez was speaking weeks after he became the player with the most appearances at Masters 1000 events, overtaking 20-time grand slam winner Roger Federer, also 36. He said: “It is good to be better than Roger at something.”

Limited tickets remain for the Fever-Tree Championships, from £65. Visit fever-treechampionships.co.uk