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June 25, 2017

Feliciano Lopez

London, England

F. LOPEZ/M. Cilic

4-6, 7-6, 7-6

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Outstanding performance today. Really all week as well as last week leading into today. Your opponent actually won more points than you today, but you won the important moments. Talk about that and playing with pressure.
FELICIANO LOPEZ: It was a very close match. I mean, this is a match I expected, to be honest. Playing against Marin on grass, I knew it was going to be like this. It's only two, three points at the end that makes the difference.

First set was a break that he played really well at 5-4. I got broken. Then we went into the tiebreak second set. I played really well there. I played some great points. I won the set.

And the third set was very equal. I mean, I knew it was going to be another tiebreak. Then it's one or two points, as I said before.

To be honest, when I lost the match points serving for the match, I thought then I'm not gonna make it again. My thoughts were on that match in 2014 where I lost against Grigor. And it was tough to handle the situation, no? I was just trying to fight. I couldn't do anything. Those moments where you are so tight, you just fight, you try to put the ball in, that's it. Try to serve like the best that you can do.

Serve there is so important. He save one match point with an ace. After I lost the match point I serve another ace. So, yeah, serve is pretty important there.

So, yeah, it was about hang in there. Those moments you cannot do any better.

Q. Having lost three years ago in the final, how important is this victory today for you?
FELICIANO LOPEZ: I think it's the best week of my career, I would say. To win this tournament at this stage of my career, I mean, this is so amazing.

I was waiting so long to win this title. Queen's is the best, I think. Outside of the Grand Slams, this is one of the most special tournaments. You feel the atmosphere here, all over the years, a tradition that this tournament, the players that have won in the past. For me to be here on Sunday holding the trophy, it's the best feeling I can have.

Q. You had Wawrinka, Berdych, Dimitrov, Cilic in the final. Is that the best run of results in quick succession that you have ever had in your career?
FELICIANO LOPEZ: For sure, yeah. Yeah. I think beating I think four top 10 players in the same week, this is pretty amazing. Yeah. It's also more -- not more important, but the fact that I have played these guys this week and be able to beat them, it gives me even more confidence, no? Because sometimes the draw, it becomes open after some of the top guys they lose, but in my case, it was not like this, no? From the very beginning I had the best players in the draw.

So that gives me a lot of energy for, you know, for the rest of the season.

Q. Not only did you play top players and win, none of them lost. You beat all of them. Sometimes you play someone and they don't play their best tennis. That was not true this week.
FELICIANO LOPEZ: It's tough to say. I mean, the match against Tomas was so close. I save a match point. Today it's also that kind of matches that they can go either way. Luckily I ended up winning today, but playing against these guys on grass, even playing my best tennis, or for some moments I was playing some of my best tennis, it was extremely close.

So, yeah, I played great, it's true, but I was also a little bit lucky, no? Because they played also very good. Marin played great today. He was solid, consistent, serving huge. He was moving so fast, anticipating a lot.

Yeah, it was very tough for me. Yeah, you said I was playing great, I was beating them, but also you need a little bit of luck in that moments because you are playing a very unique surface where everything is so quick and the matches are very close.

Q. At the age of 35, are you playing your best tennis ever?
FELICIANO LOPEZ: Probably. Two, three years ago I reach my best ranking. I was No. 12 in the world. I was also playing great. When I lost the finals here with Grigor, winning Eastbourne after, I had a great year.

But, yeah, this week I think overall, considering every match, every situation that I handled was probably the best week of my career.

Q. It's been a very long career. Did you have a sort of reset a few years ago to sort of change your attitude or change your training? Was there something that changed?
FELICIANO LOPEZ: I think, first of all, I was very lucky with my body. I didn't have any injuries. Well, I had also -- of course I have injuries, but not that kind of injuries where you're away of the game for such a long time.

Then since five or six years I realize that I have to, you know, do something different or at least something more if I wanted to extend my career. I wanted to still be competitive after 30s. I just started to eat a little bit better, to do a lot of prevention, you know, with my physio, with my trainer, with Marc. We have been working I think nine years already, and he's been very helpful to me. To be honest now, the physio is probably the most important part of the player, especially with old players like me.

I don't know. I think I read the game better. I know myself better. I know I can handle the situations better. I know the way I have to play, because when I was younger I was not playing that aggressive. I was more baseliner, trying to wait more for the opportunities, no?

Right now I think I know my game better, and I'm doing the right things to win the matches, no? So with the years and with experience, I think you know the other players better, also. So if you are healthy, if you're still healthy and strong, I think you have a very good chance to do your best as you get old, to be honest.

Q. You talk about playing your best tennis, feeling very confident going into the end of the grass court season where Wimbledon is obviously the pinnacle, biggest prize you can possibly win. What would you see is a good result at this year's Wimbledon? Do you fear anyone in the draw now since you're playing so well and have beaten so many good players?
FELICIANO LOPEZ: Tennis is a unique sport where anything can happen. From one day to the other, it can be so different. So it is true that I'm going into Wimbledon with a lot of confidence. Probably this is the Wimbledon that I feel more confident going into it.

But next week, you know, the draw has to be done. And then I hope I can still play in the same way, no?

But, you know, tennis is about sensations, you know, feelings. And also, you know, winning here, it's the best preparation I can have. But on the other way, I think you can have a very tough draw from the very beginning. There is so many unseeded players that they are so good. So I have to be aware of that.

But it is obvious that going into Wimbledon after winning Queen's is the best, you know, for me.

Q. A word on your opponent, Goran described him as inside the top three favorites to win Wimbledon ahead of Murray and Djokovic. Do you see him at that level? Do you see him up there with Federer and Nadal as a contender?
FELICIANO LOPEZ: Sure. Right now he's a contender rather than other players that they supposed to be, but they are not in very good shape. Tennis, as I told you before, is about the moment you are living. And Marin, he's been playing great already three, four months. Reaching the finals here, again, for me he's top 3 on grass. He won here one time, lost the finals twice. I don't know in Wimbledon his results, but for sure they were very good, also.

This year, seeing the other guys, it's a very open Wimbledon. Definitely Marin is one of the contenders.

Q. You say he's top 3. Who do you put as the other two inside that top 3?
FELICIANO LOPEZ: I think in the last three, four years, Andy was probably the best player on grass. I will say Roger No. 1 and then Marin, Andy. Rafa is full of confidence after winning the French, but he didn't play on grass in the last two years, I think.

It's a very unique surface. You need time, need matches. He didn't play one match for such a long time. But with Rafa you never know, because he's capable of everything (smiling).

But yeah, Roger, for sure, is the No. 1 contender right now.

Q. So if you beat Marin today and he's No. 2 contender, does that make you a contender for Wimbledon?
FELICIANO LOPEZ: I don't want to think that way yet (smiling). If I reach the second week, we will talk about something else (smiling).

Q. What is it about your game that makes you so successful on grass?
FELICIANO LOPEZ: I think my serve and my strokes also are made for grass. The fact that I can keep the ball low on the grass, it's very effective for me.

Q. There have been Spanish players in the past who didn't even want to play Wimbledon because they felt they couldn't play on it. So one inspiration was Manuel Santana and then Rafa till you proving that Spanish players could win on grass.
FELICIANO LOPEZ: Well, I was playing Wimbledon before Rafa, actually (smiling). I'm a little bit older than him, just a little bit.

No, seriously, I remember -- I think the first time I reach the quarters was, like, 30 years since the last Spanish guy who -- I think Orantes was in that round, in the quarterfinals. And then it's about to believe, also.

With me, it's different because since the first time I played there I believed that I can do well on the grass. For the other Spanish guys, they always need an example, you know. You need to see someone to succeed there in order to believe that you can do it, as well. And for so many years, they didn't want to try, because probably the grass was a little bit faster.

Also the system, you know, now you don't play a Grand Slam, you get a zero. So you have one tournament less to count on your best 18 at the end of the year.

It's a lot of things that I think everybody wants to play good now, especially in Spain. I mean, Wimbledon is the most, you know, prestigious tournament in the game. Why not to play there, no?

Q. There is a blueprint for Spanish players. People think heavy topspin from the baseline. How old were you when you think, I've got different strokes, slice backhand, volley? Was it something you always had?
FELICIANO LOPEZ: Yeah, yeah. I think this is my game since I was young. I mean, even though I was growing up on clay -- when I was 14 years old I started to play more on clay. Before that, I was practicing on hard courts every day. It was in Madrid, which is very fast, a little bit of altitude there and I was training every day on hard court.

Then it is true after moving to Barcelona I started to play on clay more, but I think my game was made for fast courts. My serve also, you know, I have to take advantage of that. This is the way I have to play on that surface.

Q. At Wimbledon obviously you play best-of-five rather than best-of-three sets. You and Roger are both 35. It could be more challenging. Today was a two-and-a-half-hour match and that was just three sets. If it could have carried on, you could have been looking at playing over four hours. Do you feel physically able to compete across five sets? Will that be an extra challenge leading into that tournament?
FELICIANO LOPEZ: No, no, no. As soon as you are healthy, it's okay to play best-of-five. In my case, I have a great record going into the fifth set. On grass, the points are not so long, so there are so many points that you don't have to run. It's only -- you don't rally. It's only serve. So many games, they go so quick.

So even though you play a long match on grass, it's not that demanding, you know, physically as can be on clay or hard court.

So as soon as I'm healthy, I don't think it's an extra challenge to play best-of-five in Wimbledon.

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