Successfully reinvented as a hard-court tournament in 2014, the 500-level Abierto Mexicano Telcel welcomes a strong field to Acapulco in February.
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Defending champion Grigor Dimitrov leads an exceptional field when ATP Acapulco begins on Monday 23 February, including 2009 US Open champion Juan Martin del Potro, US Open finalist Kei Nishikori and three-time champion David Ferrer.
Rafael Nadal won ATP Acapulco twice (YURI CORTEZ/AFP/Getty Images)
The Abierto Mexicano Telcel continues to adapt and grow as it has done throughout its history. First played in 1993 when Ilie Nastase was the champion, ATP Acapulco began its life as a tournament played on outdoors red-clay courts in Mexico City. Thomas Muster won three consecutive titles from 1994 to 1996 during this time. Held in Mexico City from 1993 to 1998, and then once more in 2000 when Juan Ignacio Chela defeated Carlos Moya to become the final Mexio City champion, the tournament relocated to Acapulco in 2001 and also became a combined ATP World Tour and WTA Tour event the same year.
Relocated to the Fairmont Acapulco Princess, where it is still held, the Abierto Mexicano Telcel continued its growth for the next 12 years. Popular Brazilian French Open champion Gustavo Kuerten was the first man to win the title when the tournament was held in Acapulco in 2001 and over the next few years the Abierto Mexicano Telcel would crown some legendary champions including Carlos Moya (2002, 2004) and Rafael Nadal (2006). Nicolas Almagro won back-to-back titles in 2008 and 2009, beating David Nalbandian and Gael Monfils, while David Ferrer equaled Thomas Muster’s feat of three consecutive titles when he won in 2010 (d. Juan Carlos Ferrero), 2011 (d. Nicolas Almagro) and 2012 (d. Fernando Verdasco).
Rafael Nadal broke up Ferrer’s dominance over the Abierto Mexicano Telcel when he defeated his compatriot in the final of the 2013 ATP Acapulco event – becoming the last man to win the tournament as a clay-court event.
Grigor Dimitrov won Acapulco in 2014 (Pedro PARDO/AFP/Getty Images)
The creation of the new 500 Rio Open as the showpiece event of the clay-court South American Golden Swing in 2014 initially seemed like a blow to the Abierto Mexicano Telcel, but Acapulco’s shift to hard courts has been a blessing in disguise: The tournament now takes on an expanded importance as a key battleground for the top players looking to tune up their games on outdoor hard courts geographically close and compositionally similar to the major March events in the USA.
The 2014 Abierto Mexicano Telcel featured the likes of Andy Murray and David Ferrer before Grigor Dimitrov broke through the field, defeating Murray and Kevin Anderson in epic matches to become the second player born in the 1990s to capture multiple singles titles.
Dimitrov, who reached the Wimbledon semifinals and cracked the top 10 in 2014, returns in 2015 to defend his title alongside US Open finalist Kei Nishikori, currently ranked world no. 5; three-time Acapulco champion David Ferrer; and 2009 US Open champion Juan Martin del Potro, looking to boost his comeback from wrist surgery at the Abierto Mexicano Telcel when it begins on Monday 23 February.
Watch the Abierto Mexicano Telcel live:
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2. Click 'live streaming' and select 'tennis' from the dropdown menu;
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