Spain’s Enrique Lopez-Perez has found a happy hunting ground at the Lagos Lawn Tennis Club, winning both legs of the Governor’s Cup in 2012, and returning to win again four years later.
Lopez-Perez’s latest triumph came after a 6-2 6-7 6-1 victory over Frenchman, Gianni Mina on Saturday.
It is safe to say that the Spaniard feels very much at home in Lagos.
‘I came back after four years because the memory I have from here, I like it. I feel comfortable here’. Lopez-Perez said after his victory over Mina.
The Spaniard is very comfortable with a lot of things about the tournament- the people, the courts and even the sun!
The sun has been a major talking point in the last week, but Lopez-Perez has no issues with the intense heat. In fact, the Spaniard has taken it in his stride, and used it to his advantage.
‘I expect this, my country, Spain is also hot, and when I came here, I came ready with a lot of wristbands, a lot of isotonic drinks, so I took all the measures to be ready’.
Before the Governor’s Cup, Lopez-Perez’s previous appearance on the ITF Futures circuit was back in March in China. He has spent most of the year on the Challenger Tour, while he was within a third set tie break of qualifying for the US Open- narrowly losing out Steve Darcis.
For someone who has competed regularly at such a high level, it was a bit of a surprise to see him back in Lagos- four years on from his all-conquering performance.
Indeed, the Spaniard expected to be playing elsewhere last week, but a twist of fate brought him back to Nigeria.
‘I had flight tickets to Asia to play ATP Chengdu, Beijing and Masters 1000 in Shanghai. I was in the list, but I got injured so I was one month without play, without hitting a ball… and in that level, you have to be fit to be competitive, if you are not 100%, you don’t win there.
Lopez-Perez was encouraged by his coach to come to Lagos to regain his fitness and rhythm, urging him to show the right attitude and desire.
He certainly did in Saturday’s final, overcoming a mid-match blip and an unfortunate net cord on match point in the second set to storm through the final set and claim the title.