Those are the key words there. They mean shit now. Things can change drastically in tennis in a matter of months, let alone years. Lopez didn't fall into the depths of hell overnight, and he's not getting back overnight. He's had to work for it.
As to where he should be ranked... Who's to say? He should be ranked wherever he is ranked, IMO. Most of the time in tennis, what you put into it is equal to what you get out of it.
No, not so much actually. Do you think Safin SHOULD be ranked 30th (maybe lower now), do you think he SHOULD lose to Stan 3, 3, and 3, do you think he SHOULD lose plenty of other dreadful matches he's lost, do you think he SHOULD be 2-10 lifetime against Santoro?
But he is.
there are surely hundreds of other analogies such as this, but I assume you get the point.
And I never said Lopez should be ranked any higher. I think that's about where he should be ranked. I'm saying being ranked around 40 is nothing to jump for joy about, not for Lopez, no way.