A year ago around this time, the Spanish Davis Cup team began the conquest of what would be its sixth Salad Bowl. One of his players, Feliciano López, explains in an interview with EFE that the performance of Roberto Bautista, who played in the final against Canada almost a day after burying his father, was the most special moment of the week, an “exceptional fact “.

“It was very nice to see Roberto again after having had a very difficult time in his life. To come back, compete and win, and give the point to Spain. It was very emotional to see him like this. Perhaps that was the most special moment of the week. “says Feliciano, remembering it.

In the conversation, the lefty from Toledo reveals how that traumatic incident was experienced for Bautista. “Without a doubt this is an absolutely exceptional fact,” he reiterates. “That a player who spent a moment like that, such as the death of a father, and that the next day he returns and plays one of the most important games of his life and of his sports career, such as a Davis Cup final That fact marks the history of this Davis Cup, “Feliciano settles without hesitation.

López, 39 years old and with five Davis Cups behind him, remembers that playing in Madrid that first edition of the Finals was unprecedented.

“There were many reasons why I was excited to continue playing. One was to show that I was still competitive and I felt physically ready to do it against the best in the world. Doing it also in Spain gave me the feeling that we could achieve something great, And indeed it was a magical moment. One plays tennis to experience moments like this. You have to realize that I am 39 years old and that I played on that court so special to me, “he says.

“I was very excited to be able to play in Madrid, at home. I was lucky that the year had gone well for me, and Bruguera (the captain) trusted me,” says Feliciano, who from the beginning of the competition had assumed that his role was to be that of a doubles player.

“At first I didn't know if I was going to play an individual, and I was always ready for the double, either with Rafa or with another. In the case of the double we had many possibilities of combining with one or the other. We had the option of Rafa playing with Marcel (Granollers), or me with Marcel, even Rafa and I. Everything was decided after Rafa's game “says” Feli “.

“Sergi handled all that very well, and Marcel and I warmed up before as if we were going to play but then everything was decided. The double against Russia was very important, because to start losing would have been hard. And personally it helped me a lot to win that match “, he says.

Feliciano will not be able to forget the day of the match against Great Britain, when the captain, faced with the loss of Pablo Carreño and without being able to count on Bautista, told him the night before that he had to play the first individual against Kyle Edmund.

“Actually the 'brown' was the fact of playing that individual. The day before I already visualized that I had to play the decisive double. I was clear that Rafa and Roberto would play the singles but I knew that with the experience of other qualifiers, sometimes things change and decisions can be made at the last minute, “he says.

“I was not very happy (he lost against Edmund), even though I had a set ball. And then, by playing twice with Rafa I did not want to be the culprit that Spain had lost against Great Britain, because unfortunately when a player loses two of the points of a tie, on him always falls all the blame, “he admits.

“Feli” gets her hair on end when she remembers how the support of the public took them flying in the Caja Mágica in those “magical days” with the end of the day in the middle of the morning.

“The public's response to us was brutal from day one. The people of Madrid really like Davis Cup, and they get involved a lot with the team and the atmosphere was brutal. Also when playing indoors the pressure generates is greater.

“They stayed up very late, almost at dawn and doing it for many days, holding on and having to go to work the next day,” he says.

It was the first staging of the new format and Feliciano believes that everything can be improved. “The issue of finishing so late, especially for the teams that are winning, is a problem, as was our case. It meant going to bed very late and then having little recovery time the next day,” he says.

“But I liked it a lot and I was one of the people who supported and believed in this format. Obviously things can be improved but like everything that is new. Nothing new is perfect, it had a brutal success and I am sure that Kosmos and all people in the organization are thinking of things that can be improved, and hopefully it will be played for many years, “he says.

The pandemic has affected the circuit and has forced the two most important tournaments in Spain, the Davis Cup Finals and the Mutua Madrid Open, to be canceled.

Feliciano believes that it has been a year in which planning has been impossible due to the virus.

“You plan one thing today and the following week the course of the world changes due to the coronavirus. We have been adapting to the situation. As director of the tournament (Madrid) we have been very realistic and we believed that when we canceled it, in the midst of a pandemic, it was impossible dispute it. “

“Then the possibility arose of contesting it in September after the US Open and we believed that it was the best thing at that time, and thus save the calendar and do a 'mini-tour' of gravel before Roland Garros. But after the summer things started to get worse. throughout Spain and we had to make the decision to cancel it again, because we had no reason to assume the risks that had to be assumed in terms of infections. In the end we believed that it was best to cancel it, “he adds.

“Later time proved us right. In general, the tennis world is experiencing a very complicated situation, and this has not ended. The real challenge we have is 2021, and in that year tennis will start just as badly. that has been in 2020. There is not a single hint that things in January, February or March are going to be better than they are now, “he continues.

“The ATP has done a great job, providing solutions to the problems that the pandemic produces in the world of tennis. And with an added problem, that we depend on the governments of each country and that makes it very difficult to have a logical and consistent calendar to the needs of the players. We have to wait and be united and for this pandemic to pass and we can return to normality, “he said.

Expecting his first child, Feliciano does not yet know if he will be able to compete next January at the Australian Open, where he could extend his personal record of 72 consecutive greats.