The Stars of Spain

This is the second post about the top ten ATP players in certain countries, this time TPFTennis takes a look at Spain. If you missed our last article, about the US’ top ten, read it now – CLICK HERE.

Guillermo Garcia-Lopez is ranked as Spain’s 10th best player and 70th in the ATP rankings. Lopez has now been professional for 10 years, with this being his eighth in the world’s top 100. During his singles career he’s reached three finals triumphing in Bangkok and Kitzbnhel. In terms of titles he’s had more success in the doubles, reaching  three finals and winning one on the outdoor hard courts of Doha. The Spaniard, who has reached a career high of 23rd, has earned a career prize money total of $3,663,557 (singles and doubles combined).

Daniel Gimeno-Traver is currently his country’s 9th best tennis player and ranked as ATP’s 68th, two places ahead of fellow countryman Guillermo Garcia-Lopez. Since turning professional in 2004, he’s failed to win or even reach the final of an ATP tournament. The Valencia born man has had more success in the doubles, reaching two finals and even winning one in 2012 at Vina del Mar. With a total career prize amount of $1,669,665, the 27 year old has enjoyed some exciting games over his career, including a win over Novak Djokovic in 2006. The Spanish player has wormed his way back into the top 100 this year after slipping out of it last year.

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Albert Ramos, who has a total prize money of $1,013,202, is Spain’s 8th highest ranked player and ATP’s 48th highest ranked player. In 2011 he finished in the top 100 for the first time and has progressed well since then and that year also saw him qualify for his first grand slam, which was the Roland Garros event. Since turning professional in 2007, Ramos has recahed only one final an dthat came this year at the Outdoor clay event in Casablanca. The Spaniard’s highest ranked victory came over Cilic in the Shanhai Masters. The highest ever ranking he’s achieved so far is 38th, next year he’ll be wanting to push on and achieve a higher ranking.

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Pablo Andujar is on course to finish in the ATP’s top 50 for the second year running, the 26 year old is currently Spain’s 7th best and ATP’s 40th best. He has won the Casa Blanca tournament two years on the trot, both this year and 2011. The Valencia man has appeared most, grand slam wise, at the Roland Garros event. His best achievment in the French Grand Slam is reaching the second round, which he has done three times. The Spanaird has also won two doubles titles at Winston-Salem  and Vina del Mal this year. Having won a grand total prize amount of $1,935,723 and a high ranking of 33, Pablo knows what it takes to progress up the world rankings.

The sixth best Spaniard is currently Feliciano Lopez, ranked 36th currently in the world, he has been resident in the ATP top 50 for the last nine years. He was also a good doubles player, his career high being 3th last year, but he now concentrates more on his singles play, and thus he is currently 245th in the doubles. In singles, last year he reached the Wimbledon quarter finals for the third time, where he lost to British No. 1 Andy Murray. He’s also been doing very well in the Davis Cup. This year, he got to the 4th round in the Australian Open, and got to the semis in Houston and Munich. Furthermore, he narrowly missed out on a bronze medal in the London Olympic games, coming in 4th with his doubles partner David Ferrer. He later retired with a left wrist injury in the Beijing semi-finals whilst playing Jo-Wilfred Tsonga on 6th October. Lopez quickly recovered from that injury and competed in the ATP World Tour Finals with Marcel Granollers, to many people’s surprise they won the tournament. Read on below to find out more about his doubles successes with fellow Spaniard Marcel Granollers.

Marcel Granollers is currently Spain’s fifth top player and ATP ranked as 33 in the singles. This year the Barcelona man couldn’t quite equal his 2011 singles finish of boasting a position in the top 30. This year has really stamped his mark on the doubles game, with partner Feliciano Lopez, winning the season ending AP World Tour Finals. The Spanish double duo became the first Spaniards to win the title since Juan Gisbert and Manuel Orantes in 1975 with a 7-5 3-6 10-3 win in the prestigeous final. They went into the London event, held at the 02 Arena, as the sixth seed out of eight. The formidable Spanish pair were full of confidence after their final showdown victory in London but couldn’t continue that form for their exquisite Davis Cup final against Tomas Berdych and Radek Stepane of the Czech Republic. The final was a 3-6 7-5 7-5 6-3 defeat in Prague. Earlier in the year, the doubles duo reached the semi-finals of the US Open but unfortunately it ended there with Lopez retiring at 6-6 in first set due to a calf problem. In Marcel’s singles career he has managed to pick up 3 titles, a win in Valencia, Gstaad and Houston. He is yet to beat his current all time best singles ranking of 19 but can be pleased with a total career prize money of well over $4 million.

Marcel Granollers-Pujol

Fernando Verdasco occupies the position of Spain’s fourth best player and the world ATP ranking of 24. The Spanaird has a career high ranking of 7. His best grand slam event would be the Australian Open of 2009, where he reached the semi-finals. Impressive victories, including wins over Andy Murray and Jo-Wilfred Tsonga, helped him take a place in the final four. His semi was against then world number 1 and fellow countryman Rafael Nadal, the match lasted over 5 hours and contained 5 competitive sets. Ultimately Nadal was too much for Verdasco, who could however still take a lot of pride hoem from his brilliant effort. You have to go as far back as 2007 to find the last time Fernando didn’t finish in the top 25 and his impressive 2009 finish won him a place in the AP World Tour Finals, but he came home early after finsihing bottom of his group. $9,117,415 is the total amount that the former world number 7 from Madrid has won over his long career.

Currently sat in third – and eleventh in the world – is 27 year-old Nicholas Almagro. He is 6 foot tall and the Murcian prefers playing forehand on clay. At the start of the season at the Australian Open, he reached the fourth round before being defeated by No. 13 Milos Raonic. He then continued into the clay court swing of the season with a win in Nice, followed by reaching the quater-finals in Roland Garros, where he lost to Rafael Nadal, who of course went on to win the Grand Slam. He was badly beaten at Wimbledon, but he soon returned to form and was in the top 10 shortly before the beginning of the US Open. Last year he finished tenth and was in five finals, winning three of them.

The second best Spanish tennis player, David Ferrer has had one of his best seasons ever: He started with reaching winning his third straight ATP title in Auckland, followed by reaching the Australian Open final, where he was beaten by Novak Djokovc – who went on to win the tournament. In the next stint of the ATP calendar, South America, he played ten and won ten – picking up the titles of Buenos Aires and Acupulco along the way. But, in the four major European clay events, he reached one quarter finals, two semi-final, and one final but was unfortunately able to win none! He then picked up one more ATP title before reaching the Wimbledon QFs, where he lost to finalist Andy Murray. Following this, in Bastad he won his fifth title and fiftieth win of the season, again, as in Buenos Aires,  beating Almagro in the final! His weakest point during the season was probably during the North American stint. However, he  followed this by becoming the first player outside the top four (since 2008) to win an ATP Masters 1000 tournament, having beaten ‘Giant Killer’ Jerzy Janowicz (the first qualifier to reach a Masters 1000 final since 2009) in the final! He also competed in  the ATP World Tour Finals, but did not progress past the group stages. Although, in 2007 he actually reached the final! Coached by Javier Piles the thirty-year-old has been a professional for twelve years.

Spain’s best tennis player is Rafael Nadal – born and living in the popular tourist destination of Mallorca. The $50,000,000 player has had his worst season for eight years due to him being plagued with injury – specifically tendinitis of the knee, meaning he has not played since his defeat to 100+ ranked player Lukas Rosol. However, with the help of his coach and uncle Toni, he’s expected to be back on the court for next season. Like most of the Spanish players, his best point during the season is when they start playing on clay: Rafa began with a record eighth title in Monte Carlo (Masters 1000), followed by two more Masters 1000 tournaments, he was champion for the seventh time in Madrid, and for the sixth time in Rome! Nevertheless, his most glorious moment was yet to come – as he rounded off the clay season with a 6-4, 6-3, 2-6, 7-5 final l win over Novak Djokovic to become known by Roland Garros as ‘The King of Clay’. This was his seventh title, meaning he overtook Bjorn Borg. Until he was injured at Wimbledon, he was ATP ranked world No.2.

In his entire career though, he has won 6 career Grand Slams, an Olympic Gold, and – before this season – he has ended the tennis year in the top two for seven straight years. Many say that is the greatest player of all time! However, he does have one weak point, it is not a surface, but it is playing against Novak Djokovic in finals: His record against him not-in-finals is an astonishing 12-6, but in the final round of non-clay tournaments he has lost five and won only one in the last three years. Yet, as he showed in Roland Garros, Rome and Monte Carlo (where he beat the Djoker in the final) he will always be the undisputed King of Clay!

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