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Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 19 October 2018

Feliciano Lopez proud to beat Roger Federer's record for most consecutive grand slam appearances 

The Spaniard delighted to 'beat Federer at something' as he prevails in first round at Wimbledon

Feliciano Lopez broke Roger Federer's record for most consecutive appearances at a grand slam as he triumphed in the first round at Wimbledon. Gerry Penny / EPA
Feliciano Lopez broke Roger Federer's record for most consecutive appearances at a grand slam as he triumphed in the first round at Wimbledon. Gerry Penny / EPA

Feliciano Lopez joked it was high time he found a way to beat Roger Federer after taking the Swiss player's record for consecutive grand slam appearances.

Spaniard Lopez celebrated his 66th consecutive showing at the tennis majors by cruising past Federico Delbonis 6-3, 6-4, 6-2 and into the second round at Wimbledon.

The 36-year-old revealed his pride at setting the new record, but accepted a fair slice of luck too, in avoiding major injury.

"Well, when I was about to break the record, I thought, 'Wow, I'm going to beat Federer at something'," said Lopez, whose unbroken run began at the 2002 French Open.

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"It's only a number, but I'm really proud of my consistency. It's not about the number of grand slams played, it's about how many years I have been playing at the top level. This is the most important thing.

"I think the way I play maybe also; I don't play so many rallies.

"Also my technique, I play quite easy, so I don't make a huge effort in every single shot that I play. That's also important.

"I haven't suffered any big injuries in my career. This is the most important thing.

"And also mentally I have enough strength to be playing so many years."

Federer played at 65 successive slams from the 2000 Australian Open, until missing the French Open in 2016.

Lopez's reward for victory will be to face Juan Martin del Potro in the second round, after the fifth seed eased past Germany's Peter Gojowczyk 6-3, 6-4, 6-3.

Rafael Nadal proved too good for Dudi Sela in the opening round at Wimbledon. Ben Curtis / AP Photo
Rafael Nadal proved too good for Dudi Sela in the opening round at Wimbledon. Ben Curtis / AP Photo

Meanwhile, world No 1 Rafael Nadal was also victorious in his opening match, defeating Dudi Sela 6-3, 6-3, 6-2.

In the women's draw, defending champion Garbine Muguruza proved too strong for Britain's Naomi Broady as she won 6-2, 7-5.

Angelique Kerber, the former world No 1, and 2016 runner-up at Wimbledon, defeated Vera Zvonareva 7-5, 6-3 to set up a second-round clash with American Claire Liu.