This Tuesday Rafael Nadal will debut in the XXVII edition against Pablo Andujar
Acapulco, Gro., February 24, 2020.- At age 18, being a young prodigy of this sport, in the 2005 season he appeared on the clay courts of the Abierto Mexicano de Tenis en Acapulco. Rafael Nadal, who became the youngest player in history –a record still in effect- raised the coveted silver “guaje”, the trophy to the tournament champion, his third ATP title.
Since then, over 15 years, Nadal became a legend in the sport with 84 victories in the professional tour, including four participations in the Abierto Mexicano Telcel, presentado por HSBC, with two titles (2005 and 2013), one final (2017) and one quarter finals (2019).
In the 27th edition, the AMT will live its last event in the current venue before moving to the new facilities by 2021. Because of this change, the number two player of the ATP had a reflection of the moments he has lived for the mexican public.
“In my four previous participations on this event, in 2005, 2013, 2017 and 2019, I always had positive experiences, always good memories of this event. The only bad memory I can think of was in 2018 when I had to retire, I had to leave the tournament because of an injury just one day before I started. That’s the only bad memory that I have, but I can’t think of another bad moment; last year I lost a match that I should have won, it is part of the sport, but whenever I’m here I always take good memories of the people, I always have a good time regardless of the positive or negative results, but there’s been more positive results”.
Interestingly, the two times he won in Acapulco, Rafael Nadal also conquered Roland Garros. However, he assured that they were coincidences since he doesn’t believe in amulets. “I come because I like being here, I love the tournament, I love the organization that is always very nice to me. The audience makes me feel like at home, the people’s affection is always exceptional, I am here again with the illusion to enjoy one week in Acapulco. In fact, I am already doing it even before the tournament begins, this is an important week for me, it is one of the most important tournaments in the world. And for myself, it is a good test to see how I’m doing, and I hope to be prepared to play at a good level”.
Rafa is the first seed and most favorite to achieve a new title in his career. In the first round this Tuesday, he will make his debut against his countryman Pablo Andujar, to whom he has never lost in four previous matches and they have never played on a hard court.
“We know each other well, we’ve played since we were 13 or 14 years old, he is a good friend. The first games are always complicated, but with the illusion of playing well, I arrived one week before. During the trainings, I have done well and tomorrow the competition starts”, Nadal explained, who at the age of 33 he has a record of 15 wins and only 2 losses in Acapulco. A tri-championship in the Abierto Mexicano could once again give him the top world’s ranking with a combination of results.
Rafa: “It’s a very tough tournament. It’s one of the best tournaments of the world, one of the most beautiful tournaments of the world. That attracts the best players, so it’s always a very tough draw here. But that’s nice and that’s very positive for the tournament.”
“This event was the biggest one until that moment that I won [in 2005]. After that I started to achieve a lot of important things. I won in Costa do Sauipe the week before and then I won here the week after. It was like the beginning of something special."
“When I won here in 2013 it was probably a key moment in my career because I came back after very long knee injury. I won in Sao Paulo, but with a lot of problems, without playing very well. But I came here and I played great again. Winning here made me feel confident again. Then I played very well in Indian Wells, too, so 2013 was even more special than 2005.”
“[I speak the] same language. Nice people, always very friendly people. Every time that I am here I feel a little bit like [I am at] home. I enjoy being around here. I know the tournament, I know the people who organise the tournament and the crowd always has been amazing with me. So I’m very excited to be back here in Mexico. Enjoying every single moment and just hoping to be ready for the action.”
“I think everything is easy, everything is very close in front of the sea, inside the resort, good atmosphere, good tournament organisation. The feeling is you are not in a typical tennis tournament. You are playing a tournament, but in a holiday atmosphere. That really makes us feel great here.”
Source: ATP World Tour
Photos: AMT; AP; EFE; AFP
• Press conference
• Pre-tournament interview