August 25, 2005
NEW HAVEN, CONNECTICUT, F. LOPEZ/V. Spadea 7-6(5), 6-3, 6-4
Q. Could you talk about when your serve hit the line judge back there and the guy was hurt when you served?
F. LOPEZ: Yeah, I was like, you know, embarrassed a little bit. The ball was like so fast and went into, I don't know into -- it went into his neck or somewhere and I was really nervous because I thought I can really hurt him but finally after a few seconds he just recovered and I was happy because of that.
Q. Have you done that before, have you--
F. LOPEZ: I did once in Gstaad in a clay tournament after Wimbledon, but this time I hit the ball kid, serve to the other side, actually, to the advantage side, I shot wide and the ball went into the line and it's slippery a little bit and went almost into the eye, but the guy was okay also so I was lucky. But you know sometimes it is difficult for them because they are behind the player and if you serve fast and the player, they cannot touch the ball, the ball goes all the way through the fence and they are there. Sometimes it's dangerous.
Q. When you got the break early in the third set did you feel pretty confident the way you were serving?
F. LOPEZ: Yeah, I was serving very good. After I get the break in the third shot, for sure, I feel more confident. Especially the last game of the match I really feel like I will not miss the opportunity to win because I had a few great serves at the time.
Q. You had a breakpoint where you had a huge second serve down the middle. You were really going for it.
F. LOPEZ: Yeah, I go for it, yeah, it was a breakpoint, I think. When was that, third set?
Q. In the third set actually you had --
F. LOPEZ: 4-3 breakpoint probably. Yeah, I went for that. Sometimes you go with your best weapon and my serve is, for sure, my best weapon so sometimes when I am a little bit -- had some problems, I tried to hit the serve as best as I can. Today it works, but, you know, you never know what is going to happen tomorrow.
Q. Do you feel pretty comfortable on these courts?
F. LOPEZ: Yeah, the courts are good. Balls, I think they are a little bit soft. But I don't know, I just think probably US Open they are going to be the same. So it's good preparation for the US Open.
Q. Hard courts in general do you like to play on them?
F. LOPEZ: Yeah, I prefer hard courts than clay. My best results have always been on grass or indoor tournaments or hard court tournaments, so definitely my favorite surface.
Q. Why so different to the other Spanish players?
F. LOPEZ: Good question so many times. I don't know. Probably, I think I was practicing in Madrid before I moved to Barcelona. I moved there when I was 14, but from ten years to 14 I have been practicing in Madrid and we don't have that many clay courts there. I was practicing everyday on hard courts and Madrid it's also a little bit, you know, in altitude like probably 600 meters. This is probably why my game is probably more for this kind of surface.
Q. Do fans ever get you mixed up with Rafael Nadel; do they think that you are Rafael instead of Feliciano?
F. LOPEZ: No.
Q. Because you wear the same shorts?
F. LOPEZ: But he's wearing them all the time. I just wear them sometimes. I was wearing them in Australia because Nike, they want us to wear it there because they wanted to promote the shorts and -- but after the Australian Open, I didn't wear it that much. Just sometimes. But I feel comfortable with them but Rafael was wearing all the time.
Q. Talk about your next match?
F. LOPEZ: They are both very good players, Verdasco is lefty. This is probably one thing to know and he's a great player. And I play them twice, I think Fernando, I beat him this year in Marseille and Gonzalez, I didn't play him this year, but it's going to be tough anyway. Verdasco is probably my best friend in the Tour now so it is going to be difficult to play against a friend.
Q. What surface when you beat him in Marseille?
F. LOPEZ: Indoor.
Q. Did you grow up together; is that why you are close friends?
F. LOPEZ: Yeah, my father was his coach when he was young. So like almost a brother for me.
Q. Do you feel like you are playing well enough to win this tournament?
F. LOPEZ: Yeah, of course. Every match is very important. Great event as the US Open is, so now I feel ready to win tomorrow, I feel ready to play the US Open, and every match you win is very important now. I have a few matches now because I didn't win a match since Kitzbuhel. I lost in the quarterfinals. I lost twice in the first round Montreal and Cincinnati, so now I feel good again and ready for tomorrow and nor next week which is a very important week for me.
Q. How long does it take for you to get used to the hard courts after playing on clay for a couple of weeks, three weeks?
F. LOPEZ: For me not that much. For me it's even more difficult to go from hard courts to clay because for my game it is a little bit tough. The ball is always coming back and you hit the winner and come back again. So I prefer to play clay and then hard court than hard court then clay. But anyway, I lost in the first round twice. But it was not because I need a few tournaments to fix my conditions, no, it was because I play bad and I couldn't find a way to play good.
Q. You said you went from Barcelona to Madrid is that because your parents were there?
F. LOPEZ: My parents live in Madrid. We are from Madrid. Actually I was born in Toledo which is very close to Madrid but we are living in Madrid but the Spanish Federation they give me like scholarship or something like that when I was 14 and I moved to Barcelona. I have been there for nine years almost now. I went to the Federation and after a few years I took my private coach and I stood there.
Q. Do you feel that you are a patient player on-court like you are quite prepared to just keep on getting the ball back like all the claycourters --
F. LOPEZ: No, I don't like this. I prefer to attack and go for it.
Q. But if you had to be...
F. LOPEZ: If I have to do it I will do it for sure.
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