When Feli is Don Feliciano
Within a few days Feliciano Lopez will play his 18 Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell, absolute record of performances in the tournament, and straight after his last Mutua Madrid Open. The ATP prohibits the tournament director from intervening in his own competition, so the player from Toledo, who will replace Manolo Santana in 2019, may remain active, but will not play at the Magic Box. His life is about to take a categorical turn.
Also in Madrid is where Feliciano Lopez who has played more tournaments: 16. In fact, he is the only player who has participated in all editions of the Madrid Masters 1000.
He debuted in 2002 and was about to surprise Andre Agassi. The Spanish tennis player, currently ranked 31st in the world, is clear that he will continue to play, as other tournament directors such as Tommy Haas and James Blake have done.
"I think it's good that there are recently retired players or even active players who are working in tournaments, especially in the player relations roles. Then other aspects of the organization must be learned over time. There are many more things to do with players, "he explained.
Feliciano, who will be taking part in the Masters 1000 of Monte Carlo which starts tomorrow, dreams that the Madrid tournament will one day reach a higher level than the current one and has already commented that his goal is to turn it into the fifth Grand Slam: "We depend a lot on the ATP’s permission, but I think it's something that the people of the tournament have been dreaming for some time and hopefully one day can be fulfilled."
And he dreams, of course, that Roger Federer will compete again in Madrid, but he has to accept the desire of the Swiss champion, who hardly gives importance to the clay court season.
Until he puts on his suit and tie, Feliciano feels 100% like a tennis player and tomorrow he will debut at the Montecarlo Country Club against Benoit Paire in one of the most interesting matches of the opening day of the tournament prior to the Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell
Lopez, 36, is not offering his best version this season, in which he has played 15 matches with eight wins. He has played the quarterfinals in Sydney and Acapulco, his best performance so far this year.