"He's our best sportsman in the history of the country": Feliciano Lopez opens up on emotional Rafael Nadal Madrid Open farewell

Thursday, 02 May 2024 at 16:28
As well as the tournament this year, Madrid Open Tournament Director Feliciano Lopez had to figure out how to say farewell to one of Spain's greatest athletes in Rafael Nadal in his final ever tilt at Caja Magica.
Lopez spoke to Sky Sports and said that the signs are good heading into his next few tournaments but that it dominated all of their thought processes from fans down to the tournament itself as to when the farewell was going to happen.
"It was very emotional because every time he was playing here we thought that might be the last time he is Madrid. So everyone in this venue and this court was very emotional waiting for the last match and then he kept winning a little bit. Yesterday I think Lehecka was a hell of a player. But I'm happy for him as he made some progress and this is something to consider because Paris is coming in two or three weeks. After two years without playing, just to have him back playing on the court is good news. So very happy for him," said Lopez to Sky Sports.
Having the King of Spain watching the tennis equivalent also posed a challenge and as did Nadal not putting a real finality on his career as to how it was all planned. "It's so difficult to do something for a legend like him because he didn't say he was going to retire here so he still has the door a little bit open because he's not 100% sure about his condition. So he didn't say he was going to play his last tournament in Madrid, Paris or Rome. So it was difficult to decide what do we do. Something special from our heart but it's not his last match so it wasn't easy. It was very emotional and he was very happy."
"He's a legend, he's someone very special. Not only because the titles and the matches that he won. He's someone that deserves everything. It was one of the most important moments in the history of the tournament. He's our best sportsman in the history of the country."

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