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October 20, 2004

Feliciano Lopez

MADRID, SPAIN, M. SAFIN/F. Lopez 7-5, 6-7, 6-3

THE MODERATOR: Questions in Spanish for Feliciano Lopez.

Q. Two days ago you were winning your first tournament. Maybe you hoped to go farther in this one, too. How do you see this?

FELICIANO LOPEZ: It's a pity because yesterday I won a match, a difficult one. And today I could have won also. It's a pity. I met Safin on the court. He's a great player, No. 7 or 8. I knew this could happen. It's a pity because I was confident. But those are the facts. I played the final in Vienna, I was tired, then I came here. That's not an excuse, of course. The match was tough. I played well. But it's not an excuse.

Q. Without looking for an excuse, but the ball that hit the net is a matter of chance more than anything else.

FELICIANO LOPEZ: Yeah, there were two balls that touched the net, two of his. One was deuce. Sometimes it happens to the opponent, sometimes it happens to you. It's a pity, but I have to accept it. Maybe I could have saved the match, but who knows.

Q. Were you surprised at Marat's game?

FELICIANO LOPEZ: No, of course not. I know he's capable of this and more. I've played against him often. Now he's looking for a place in the Masters. He was aware of that, and he was playing a hundred percent. He didn't give me a ball. He won today because he was superior. I know his level is very, very high. My level was good, too.

Q. Are you taking care of yourself? Yesterday you ended late, then you had to play earlier today. What about the schedule?

FELICIANO LOPEZ: Well, the organization is not to blame. I think that's in their hands. I guess I should have played at 7 p.m. It hasn't been that way. Yesterday I went to sleep very late. I know they've done their best, the organization. I said it last week, with Fernando and me a bit upset, disappointed, because we're both local players in a good moment. Well, we're both feeling the organization maybe hasn't given us the importance we deserve. But the tournament does not depend on Madrid only. People have done all they can. I know that they fought to do their best. Well, it seems that Madrid players are not important. We all know Safin is represented by him, Tiriac.

Q. You said the other day you still have the goal of ending the year in the Top 20. What do you plan to do during the next months?

FELICIANO LOPEZ: I've got two tournaments left this year. Paris Bercy is very important for me. Right now I'm 22 in the Champions Race. If I do it well, that will help. Then I have the Spanish National Club Competition and my tennis is over then. Of course, I'll also prepare for next year.

Q. What do you think about the model controversy?

FELICIANO LOPEZ: I knew you were going to ask. I think they've given it too much importance. I woke up today, and it said on the press and on TV. I don't think it's that important. Of course, it's the first time someone does this in a tournament. But as Manolo said, they thought it was going to be good for the tournament, the public, attractive for the crowd. It's not a sexist subject. In my opinion, it's out of context to see it this way.

End of FastScripts….

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