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February 11, 2021

Feliciano Lopez

Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Press Conference

F. LOPEZ/L. Sonego

5-7, 3-6, 6-3, 7-5, 6-4

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Quite a long match today, how are you feeling out there on court and what were the conditions like?

FELICIANO LOPEZ: I'm exhausted, obviously. I was already tired the first day when I won my first match, so even more today. But I was feeling better today on the court, not the first two sets, but after the break I managed to do a 3-All in the third set and I started to play better, more aggressive, my serve was working way better than in the first two sets and, yeah, it was such a coincidence that after this break I was feeling much better also physically on the court.

The first two sets I didn't start it quite well, he was a better player. I didn't find a way, honestly, during the first two sets. Then all of a sudden after the break everything changed and the conditions, talking about the conditions, pretty fast, I would say, especially today, well now it's a little bit cloudy but it was sunny when we went on court, it was a sunny day, not so hot as it can be here in Melbourne sometimes, but it was quite hot and, yeah, this make conditions also a little bit faster.

Q. You've had many five-set matches in your career, I'm just wondering how this one matches up in terms of comebacks. How does this stack up with the others?

FELICIANO LOPEZ: Well maybe pole position, I don't know. As you know, to win a match in a slam for me now is very special. If I do it the way I did today, even more. Imagine how this, how special it can be for me to win a match after two sets 2-Love down against him, he's a great player. So for me to win today I think it's over any expectations, honestly, coming here with very short preparation.

As I said the day before in the press conference, I became father just lately, I didn't practice much and my preparation was the quarantine here. So to be in the third round now it's something very special for me. So that's why I'm very happy today.

Q. You've got the record for the most consecutive Grand Slam appearances. What do you remember from your first Grand Slam in 2001?

FELICIANO LOPEZ: I think I got killed in the first round by Carlos Moya, if I'm not wrong. I qualified and I lost to him. He was my idol when I was growing up as a junior, Carlos was always someone I really admired when I started playing professional. And, yeah, for me it was like a gift, no, to play against Carlos in the French Open.

So nothing else to say about the match. I think he was a much better player than me. But this is my first memory from a slam.

Then that year I didn't play any other slam, I think and then from Australian Open next year I think I started the streak.

Q. I want to ask about the third and fourth sets when you had the breakpoint in each of those. It looked at least from afar that went body serve on both occasions. Can you talk about kind of fighting those returns off and giving yourself a chance and maybe how that gave you some momentum going into the fifth, knowing that you kind of had him at that point.

FELICIANO LOPEZ: Yeah, I wasn't returning at all during the first two sets. It was very tough for me to find a way and to find the position on the court. Normally I try to step in a little bit on the second serve and I try to put some pressure and to be aggressive. But today I didn't find that position on the court. It was windy also, the ball was bouncing high, so for me it was very difficult to find that timing on the return.

Then, as I said before, after this break in the third set I started to find a better position on the court to put more balls in play and I think he was also feeling that pressure because he was winning his serve quite easy during the first two sets. That was also important, I think, and so the fact that I was making him play more during the third and the fourth and also my serve was working really, really good after the third set. I was very loose, I was finding the right spots all the time and coming in quite fast, so, yeah, I think he probably didn't expect it after two sets to Love you know you don't expect that the 39-year-old guy is going to come back. So sometimes the matches, the five-set matches can turn around very quick and this is what happened today.

Q. If my math is correct, during your 75-slam streak you've now won a five-setter at 21 of those slams. So can you just talk about how maybe you might be a good example of how the best-of-five format does work, because you've been able to succeed in it over two decades.

FELICIANO LOPEZ: This is a long debate. I love the five-setters, honestly. I think the five-set matches bring something different to tennis, especially when they go into the fifth set, sometimes you have big matches and I honestly love them.

I don't know if they are the best, given the circumstances that we have right now where most of the players we haven't played much in the last year nearly one year and a half. This I don't know. But I wouldn't change the five-set matches in the slams, honestly. I think if you ask about my opinion, I'll keep it like this. I will still play best-of-five in the slams. I think it's something different.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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