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May 9, 2018

Feliciano Lopez

Madrid, Spain


7-5, 2-6, 6-2

THE MODERATOR: Questions in Spanish, please.

Q. Talk about the match.
FELICIANO LOPEZ: A difficult opponent for me to play against. The first set I had it lost, and I could have turned it around. I had 15-40, and I lost the set. The second set I started really well. It seemed that the momentum had changed, that there were not so many long rallies and I was dominating the points since the beginning.

In the third set, I stopped serving well. The points started to be long. He's been playing really solid. I think there were two long rallies. I just let it go and went down when I realized my way of playing him was not hurting him. I think I stopped serving well, stopped making the points shorter for me. It was not an easy game overall.

Q. Were you thinking about it could be your last match here in Madrid?
FELICIANO LOPEZ: When I won the second set, I was very positive. I thought I was going to be able to turn the match around, that the match had come to a turning point, that I was dominating. But he broke me in the third set, 2-Love up. There was another change there. I was dominating, but then we started, I don't know, maybe a stupid game, he started to play really solid, I didn't serve well.

Of course, I wanted to do things well. I wanted to play tomorrow against Rafa. I really had a lot of joy to play tomorrow's match against him, but I wasn't able to do that.

I think today Diego played really well. It was a match of ups and downs, but overall I think I have played better.

Q. What are you doing these days as director? What are your functions? What are you learning about the management?
FELICIANO LOPEZ: Well, not much really. I try to do more things before the tournament, some events, some communication events together with Manolo and with Gerard. Some of the things with Manolo, especially communications stuff. Then during this week I've just tried to be focused on the tournament. There are some small details I'm aware of, especially player-related stuff. That's all.

I actually have been focused on my tournament. I've been really involved in the previous weeks before the tournament. There were a few events we had to do. I'm learning quite a lot.

I think it's something completely new from me. But to see a tournament like this from the other side, from the management side, is not easy. As players, we always see it from our side. When we come here, everything is perfect. Sometimes we don't realize all the work that there is behind a tournament like this.

Now I'm experiencing it from the other side, from the management side. I have the two points of view and I like that. There are many organizational things we have to prepare a lot of weeks ahead, during the whole year. But since the tournament finishes this year until maybe next year, I'm going to be director, and I will have enough time to learn things and to be able to help to make this tournament big, to make it stay here in Madrid. I think there are many things that can be done.

For now, this week, I have been focused on just playing my tournament.

Q. Being director and not being able to play, it's something that the ATP has imposed, right?
FELICIANO LOPEZ: No, no. I think this came from when Tommy Haas was director of Indian Wells. I'm not sure when he was named director we already had this law or not. But it used to exist, as Nicola states. But I know that he wanted to play, that he had the illusion to play and be able to say good-bye. Of course he couldn't do it. There was no exception for him.

I think this is a fair decision. I think that a player cannot be playing a tournament at the same time as he is in management, as director. Of course, you're not going to do anything to benefit yourself because that would draw too much attention. But I do feel it's something more related with the image.

I think we are honest players. I am not going to place myself in the schedule because I'm director, too. I'm not going to take advantage of that because I can make decisions on important matters. In this tournament, when you're director, you're here 9 in the morning till 12 at night when the last match finishes. Those two jobs are not compatible. You can't play at the same time as being in management.

Q. It's been 17 years playing this tournament. Can you do an overall evaluations of your best and worst moments?
FELICIANO LOPEZ: Of this season?

Q. Overall.
FELICIANO LOPEZ: I've always said my best memories from the first year, I was really young. They invited me to play. I had a wild card. I played with some of my idols. I won two matches. I played Agassi, and I nearly messed up the tournament because I was going to beat Agassi. That match was something I really remember. Even though I lost, when you're young, you still haven't played in venues like the Rocodromo, for example, in front of so many people that were cheering for me, against one of the biggest legends of tennis. It was something totally new for me that I was not expecting. It helped me a lot for my future career.

After that, I have lived great moments. The conditions suited my game better in the Rocodromo. Here in the Caja Magica against Federer, I also had the great match that I nearly won, but I lost. I think that the tournament has been a constant evolution and I have been able to live all of the moments since its inception till today. Right now I think the tournament is at an incredible moment and I have been very lucky to be able to work in this tournament when we have a lot of sponsors that support us. I think that I have a very tough job ahead of me because they have done things very well, and I just have to keep the same level, maintain this tournament at the highest level.

Personally speaking, I have experienced great things in this tournament, but if I had to choose one, that would be the first year because for me it was a turning point of my career.

Q. I don't know if you thought you could postpone being director because next season will be strange, you'll play every tournament except this one?
FELICIANO LOPEZ: No, no, no. When I made that decision, it was already made. This year for me is going to be a transition year. I think that this is the best way to do things. This year I'm here learning. I'm dedicated to my career, to the tournament, to play as well as I can. Of course, to partner with the tournament and help them in everything that I've been able to.

But I think it's the best way of doing things. For me, next year I'm not going to play here. I think it's not going to be a problem to be able to play all year in other tournaments, then not to play here. I already assumed that since the beginning, since we decided that I was going to be director. I don't think this is a problem.

There are many things I can do also in my journey, my other tournaments. I can do many things related to this tournament when I'm on tour. Especially meetings at other tournaments where I'll be participating. I don't think that's a problem.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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