Spanish veteran Feliciano Lopez, who will retire this season after 25 years on the ATP Tour, was appointed tournament director of the Davis Cup Finals on Thursday.
Lopez, who has been the Madrid Open’s tournament director since 2019, is a four-time Davis Cup champion and reached a career-high ranking of world number 12. The 41-year-old replaces compatriot David Ferrer in the role.
“I’ve been doing this for the last four years with Madrid and in the beginning it was a big challenge for me,” Lopez told Reuters. “I wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to do it, since I was an active player when I decided to join the team in Madrid.
“But I have to say that it is the best decision I’ve ever made. I was able to still play on the tour, be competitive, and also be on the other side of the industry and learn a lot of things that I wasn’t paying attention to as a player.”
Lopez, who exited the Stuttgart Open in the second round on Monday, said he plans to compete at more grasscourt events at the Queen’s Club and the Mallorca Open and hopes to end his career at Wimbledon, should he get a wildcard for the major.
“After that, I’ll be free,” Lopez said. “No more tennis, and I can focus on the Davis Cup.”
Sixteen teams will compete in the Finals group stage from Sept. 12-17 across Manchester, Bologna, Valencia and Croatia. The top two teams from each group will qualify for the knockout stage from Nov. 21-26 in Malaga.
Lopez’s compatriot Rafael Nadal, a 22-time Grand Slam champion, has been sidelined by a hip injury since January and had initially hoped to return for the Finals but is expected to be out for another five months after undergoing surgery in June.
Lopez said he hoped Nadal, who has said 2024 is likely to be his last season, will make a full recovery and return to court next year.
“I want Rafa to finish his career playing tennis, which is the thing that he loves the most, and I think he deserves that,” Lopez said. “It will be very sad to see Rafa not playing any more tennis.
“I just hope he has plenty of time to recover. Hopefully we’re going to see him again in 2024.”
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