Feliciano Lopez becomes joint Madrid event director

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Feliciano Lopez becomes joint Madrid event director

Feliciano Lopez will be the Mutua Madrid Open director by next year. During an emotional ceremony in a hotel of the city, organizers announced one of the most important new things that will affect the tournament's future.

The World No. 36 will be the joint tournament director in 2018, while by 2019 he will be the only tournament director. The 79-year-old tennis legend Manolo Santana will be the director until 2018 included, then he will be the Honorary President.

'It's a very important day for me', said Feliciano. 'I feel eternally grateful for the chance that Gerard (Tsobanian, Madrid event CEO) is giving me, as well as Manolo. The level is so high. I can't describe the excitement that the Manolo and Gerard's call make me feel.

I still remember when Manolo gave me a wild card to play the tournament for the first time in 2002. Today I feel like if Manolo gave me a new wildcard for working with him and I hope to take advantage of it.' Feliciano Lopez is the only player who played all the Mutua Madrid Open years (the event was born in 2002).

The 36-year-old is supposed to keep competing in 2018 as well, and he should make his 17th appearance in Madrid. At the end of the season he could retire, "following" a little bit Indian Wells director Tommy Haas' footsteps.

Next year's Madrid Open will be played from 4 to 13 May. ALSO READ: Maria Sharapova: 'I have many years ahead, I still feel young'