But it was a gruelling match going to three sets in Geneva with Damir Dzumhur coming up with more winners at times than Feliciano Lopez. The match looked as if Lopez would cream Dzumhur but there were times he looked out of sorts with Dzumhur taking full advantage of the Spaniard's weakness.
Neither one wanted to give in, sending the match to an opening set tiebreak. They both played at the top of their game Lopez grabbing that first set victory. Dzumhur wouldn't give up and levelled the second set at 6-4. The match wasn't over yet and the Bosnian showed his aggression and fought to win every point.
He had stinging rallies and Lopez was able to keep up with him until he'd hit a backhand long, giving Dzumhur the match. It was a long match but Lopez had other situations to deal with nearly a month ago which might have been more difficult for him to now get back into play mode.
The Spaniard had been chosen to be the new tournament director of the Madrid Open, a position he was to take over from the iconic Manuel Santana. "From today I officially become part of the great Madrid family. It starts a new stage that is very exciting for me," Feliciano Lopez had said on his social media a few years ago.
But it was this year that he'd start this new position, quite a different transition from being on the playing courts than behind the scenes putting together a tennis tournament. He was honoured to have the position trying his talents at other sources.
It seems to be a growing trend to have tennis players also become tournament directors whether they are in the top 100, retired or not. Tommy Haas took over as tournament director for Indian Wells in 2016 when Raymond Moore quit after controversial issues were brought up about female players.
Haas has had chronic ailments and injuries which prohibited him from playing, so being a director came at the right time. James Blake has started his tournament directorship for the Miami Open this year, a position created for him.
He retired from the ATP tour in 2013 and now plays specialized tournaments and events. Behind the scenes is much different than playing the physical part on the court and Feliciano Lopez was feeling the real deal as he struggled at times to defend his position with Damir Dzumhur ranked no.
57. They'd meet at the Geneva Open in Switzerland their second chance playing opposite one another. The last time Lopez had his feet on red clay was in shoes as he dressed in a suit at the trophy presentation in Madrid for the runner up, Stefanos Tsitsipas and the champion, Novak Djokovic.
The opening set was a tug-of-war as Lopez did lead by a break but soon Dzumhur put forth great strategies to tie the set at 5-all. The match soon went into a tiebreak of which Lopez had the goods to seal it. But the second set the Spaniard had his hands full with Dzumhur trying to level the sets of which he succeeded and then it got down to the wire of who would become victorious in the decider.
There were times when it seemed obvious Lopez was grimacing in pain from the strenuous match but he toughened it out. The Bosnian had more tactics to spread on the court and when a backhand of Lopez's went long giving the match of 6-7, 6-4, 7-5 to Damir Dzumhur.
Feliciano Lopez has tried the transitional tennis level from being behind the scenes to on court and it takes time yet for him to adjust. Playing tennis can be physically and mentally exhausting but one would never think that being a tournament director covers a lot of ground too, only mentally.
: Well I thought when I retired it would be nice and easy. I'd be relaxed and be on the golf course, but it's been hectic but it's been fun," James Blake says about being a tournament director. Feliciano Lopez has just started to get in the groove making the transition from the tournament director to no.
36 ranked player on the ATP tour. In the time it will be a smooth and needed change of pace that Lopez will turn into a great thing seeing his passion for tennis out of realms that are basically fulfilling.