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May 11, 2017

Feliciano Lopez

Madrid, Spain


6-4, 7-5

THE MODERATOR: Questions in Spanish.

Q. Very high level today on the court, but you didn't manage to get through. Was it you or was it Djokovic, that he's very strong?
FELICIANO LOPEZ: I think today I played really good tennis in general. I think tactically I played smart. I did what I had to do. I was very brave. Perhaps I missed in a few important moments something, especially at the end of the first set. I missed a few shots then. Then he had breakpoint. I lost the first set.

In the second set, more or less the same thing happened. He got things right, and I missed a couple of shots. Details decided today's match.

But I'm very happy about today. I think that I played very well. I think he played very well, too. He served strongly, well, with a lot of rhythm. He has changed the rhythm of his game a lot. He played very fast and very smart.

Perhaps the other days I have seen him with ups and downs, but today I saw him play very consistent and strong during the whole match. We both have to be happy about today's match.

Q. Do you think it would have been different if the roof was open?
FELICIANO LOPEZ: I think they are different conditions, of course. When we stepped onto the court, it was very windy. Wind is a very important factor in tennis. It's much better to play with the rooftop open, and the ball doesn't move so much, it's not so windy. I think the tennis you see when the roof is closed is better. We can play with a higher quality.

If it suits my game? I don't think it makes a lot of difference. It's true that the court was not completely dry. Today was not a sunny day. The drier it is, the quicker it will be. If the rooftop is closed, the clay court is slower.

I don't think that was the issue today. The roof had nothing to do with today's loss.

Q. Right now you're not very happy, but you'll play doubles with Marc Lopez. You have won a Grand Slam playing doubles, the final in Wimbledon. What can you say about that?
FELICIANO LOPEZ: I'm happy about that. I think I've had some very good years. This year I managed to be again up with my great level. Physically I've played well. I'm very competitive to play the best players in the world. I'm very happy about that. This last month has been very positive for me. I'm very glad about everything that's happening these recent months.

Q. Could you explain a little bit how you see Djokovic in the start of the year. It's been a different start of year for him. The other day he had a few good moments. Today he played well. Do you think he's more vulnerable now?
FELICIANO LOPEZ: Yeah, well, Djokovic has been three or four years unbeatable. Nobody could beat him. This year hasn't started that good for him.

It's true that during the matches he's had ups and downs. He hasn't been playing as consistently as he used to play. But I think we have to understand that to be up there with all of the pressure, stepping onto the court with the obligation to win, there might come a moment where the level won't be the same always. It's very difficult to keep up that level.

I think today he played, again, really good, really solid, serving very good, as I said, without ups and downs, very consistent. At the end victories in matches is what gives you confidence. I think he's gaining his confidence again.

I think if he continues playing as he's been playing today and winning matches, it's logical we're going to see the same Djokovic as we're used to seeing.

These kind of players, seems like when they lose, it's a disaster, but it's not that way. We're used to that. That's not the way it should be. Normally people, when somebody loses a match, everybody goes crazy and starts to think what is going on.

Maybe he's three years unbeatable, and for one moment we thought he was going to be the best in history, even better than Roger Federer. But everyone has the right to play better or play a little bit worse during their career.

Look at Federer right now, for example, he has won another Grand Slam, and nobody gave him chances to do that. I think tennis surprises you very often. Novak is doing things in the right direction, professionally. He's trying to be back up there playing as he used to. I'm sure he will be playing again as he used to very soon.

Q. I don't know if you know anything about the alternative Davis Cup that they are planning on playing, 16 teams in the world. Do you know something about it?
FELICIANO LOPEZ: I've heard something about that Davis Cup. But the ATP, I haven't had their official confirmation of that alternative Davis Cup.

I think it was a good idea to maybe do something similar to what we used to play before Roland Garros. It was a very nice format, a very complicated week. In the last 10 years the best players started to not play so good during that week. But I played that competition for a couple of years. I've seen really good players playing there. I saw Sampras playing in that competition.

Then the calendar changed, and the tournament stopped having the best players. It was still a nice tournament, but the top players were not there anymore because it was just the week before Roland Garros, and people don't want to risk that week right before Roland Garros, have an injury before a Grand Slam.

I think the idea now is to do something similar to what we had back in the day. They were looking for a good week to do a tournament like that one, which was great.

I don't know if the format is going to be the same as that tournament. When I played, three players per country played, it was two singles and one doubles. I don't know how it's going to be this year. If it's confirmed that they're going to do it, I'm glad about it. It's going to be great news for tennis.

Q. What you were saying about Djokovic, do you think leaving his old team is going to make a difference in him?
FELICIANO LOPEZ: Well, it's very difficult to evaluate things like this. We don't know what's happening in his head. We players make decisions in our career thinking that things are going to be better. If Novak has made this decision after so much time working with them, it's because he thinks it's going to suit his game and it's going to be good for him.

I don't know what's going on in his head. He's been working a lot of years with Marian, for example. I remember when Novak showed up on the circuit. I already saw him working along with Marian. I'm sure that it's not easy for him because the trainers and the people with us, at the end of the day, they're our family. They are there all day.

I'm sure it was a very hard decision for him. But in life we have to make decisions. I think he thinks that's going to be the best thing for him. I'm sure he's trying to look for someone. I don't really know his plans. But I think that's a question you have to ask Novak.

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