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May 5, 2014

Feliciano Lopez


F. LOPEZ/F. Delbonis
7‑6, 4‑6, 6‑2

THE MODERATOR:  Questions in Spanish, please.

Q.  Hello.

Q.  It's been your first match in the tournament.  It's been a hard match.  How do you face the rest of tournament and the season?
FELICIANO LOPEZ:  Well, it was a tough match for me.  I hadn't been playing really well before.  This year I only played two tournaments in clay and I had to retire the first one.  I didn't have a lot of rhythm.  It wasn't an easy opponent for me.  Raonic is very good.
I think he was one the toughest players to play, on clay especially, because of his game.  He's a lefty and it's complicated for me because he plays complete different to others.
I'm happy to have been able to finish the game this way and be in the tournament.
These tournaments are really complicated.  I'm saying that it's even more complicated than a Grand Slam.  I'm happy to keep on going in this tournament.

Q.  After your first match I don't know if your confident enough.  Seems like you don't have a lot of confidence.  How do you face the tournament?
FELICIANO LOPEZ:  I'm confident.  I was playing well at the beginning of the year and I don't have any problem.  Afterwards in Houston I couldn't train for a couple days and I went to Barcelona and Munich.  I just needed to win a few matches to be able to get again the proper rhythm and to feel strong.
This is just part of the game.  It's part of tennis.  When things are not working out, you just need matches like this one today to get the rhythm you need in competition like this.  Sometimes for a couple weeks you play one or two matches and it's not enough.
I need to play a lot.  I need to train a lot on the court just to get used to playing back on the court.  The season is very long and we are already nearly half.  We still have to go Madrid, Rome, and Roland Garros.  Everything goes fast.
I'm happy to be able to win today, because he was a really tough player for me today.

Q.  You have a difficult opponent, Dominic.  He is a very young player.  I think you've never played against him.  Do you know something about him and his game, and is it uncomfortable for you not to know anything about him?
FELICIANO LOPEZ:  Do I play against him or Youzhny?  I'm not sure.  Are you sure?  Well, you know, both of them are hard, tough opponents, whoever comes.

Q.  So can you tell me something about Youzhny?
FELICIANO LOPEZ:  Well, you know I just know Youzhny is a very tough opponent.  He plays very fast.  He has a very good backhand, one of the best in the tournament.
This year he has suffered an injury.  He has been on the side for a bit of time.  It's been a little bit difficult for him to get rhythm, but he has already won one match, so he will come very strong to the match.
It's going to be a very open match here in Madrid.  As you know, the conditions here, when is it hot and the sun comes out, the court is very, very fast.  So it can be a very open match.
What I'm expecting is it a tough match.  Hopefully I'll be able to win another one and keep on going.

Q.  I just wanted to ask you, how do you see the rest of the tennis players?  Rafa Nadal, how do you see him after the two defeats?  Do you see him with the same confidence?  More doubts?
FELICIANO LOPEZ:  Well, I think that when Rafa or Djokovic or Federer lose two games in a row and they don't win a tournament, people start getting crazy.
I think that you just to have value how difficult it is to win every single week nearly all of your matches in your career.  It's not very important that he has lost two weeks on the quarterfinals.
It seems that Rafa, when he loses in the quarterfinals is a failure, and it's not that way.  We're used to seeing him winning every single match.  It's not that way.
In Monte‑Carlo I had the opportunity to see the match against David on TV, and David played really well.  In Barcelona I didn't see a lot, but, well, Nico is also a very tough player to play against.
Normally you're used to Rafa going to Monte‑Carlo, Barcelona, Madrid, Roma, and Roland Garros.  He is winning everything.  This year hasn't won anything yet.
I think you don't to have alarm yourself.  I'm sure he'll be up there, and in Madrid he'll play really well.  He will go to Roland Garros, and that's where he really plays on the his highest level.
When he really needs that title, he has always beaten all the records there.  So I'm sure he will play pretty well.  The fact that he has been defeated two times in the last two tournaments is not really important, I think.

Q.  How do you feel the atmosphere here in Madrid?  In the first round they're always complicated.  The stadium is big.  There are people that miss when this tournament used to be played on the other site in Casa de Campo and it was indoor.  Was it better for the players?  Do you prefer the conditions then or now?
FELICIANO LOPEZ:  Well, personally talking, I would rather play over there because the surface and the circumstances over there were better for me.  But it wouldn't be fair to evaluate only what's better for me.
Talking about the event, the tournament, when we came here, it has really grown a lot.  It's a much more powerful event.  We have women and men.  The fact of playing in a facility like this, well, really when you come here, everyone is really impressed because of the dimension that this tournament has and improved all the aspects.
Globally talking it's lot better.  The tournament before was beautiful, maybe a little bit smaller.  It was not as big.  The facilities were not that big.  No girls.  It was maybe a smaller tournament, if we can say it that way.
Since we came here, I think it has grown a lot.  And the city of Madrid has really done a lot of investment here because it's twice the amount of money as the previous site.  If you're asking me, of course I would rather play indoors than clay, which is faster.  That's all.

Q.  I need to ask you about Real Madrid.  Do you think they can win the league?  Do you think it's possible?
FELICIANO LOPEZ:  If I say it's possible?  Not really.  I think that yesterday we let a very good opportunity go after Atletico losing.  Now it's not in the hands of Real Madrid, which is what I always like.  You always like that things depend on yourself.
In this case they depend on Atletico Madrid.  They just have to win four points out of six.  After seeing how they have played this year, you can think that they'll be able to do it.  Anything can happen.
The Atletico loses 2‑0, and Real Madrid draws against Valencia; after Valencia coming from a tough match in the Europe League.  Anything can happen.
Hopefully Madrid will win the league, but really anything can happen.  I think that Atletico is going to be clearly the favorite.

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