MEXICO CITY: The director of the Abierto Mexicano Telcel, an ATP event played in late February and early March here, said Spanish players had been the key to the tournament's success over its first 24 years.
"The tournament would be inconceivable if we failed to mention the 'Spanish Armada,' with players like Carlos Moya, David Ferrer, Rafa Nadal, Feliciano Lopez, Nicolas Almagro, Juan Carlos Ferrero, Alberto Berasategui, Carlos Costa and others," Raul Zurutuza told Efe on Wednesday.
Five different players from Spain have accounted for 11 of the 24 men's singles titles at Abierto Mexicano, which began as a clay-court tournament in Mexico City in 1993 and is now a World Tour 500 series hard court event played in the Pacific resort city of Acapulco.
Ferrer, winner in 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2015, and Austria's Thomas Muster share the record for the most titles at this tennis event with four titles.
Zurutuza said he was excited about the upcoming edition that will be held from February 26 to March 3 and feature five of the world's top-10 male players, including Nadal, the current World No. 1.
Also confirmed for this year's event are third-ranked Croatian Marin Cilic, fourth-ranked German Alexander Zverev, sixth-ranked Austrian Dominic Thiem and ninth-ranked Argentine Juan Martin del Potro.
"It's going to be a good tournament, competitive. We have to see what happens this week in Rotterdam because (Swiss World No. 2) Roger Federer may move up to the first spot in the rankings (released on February 19), and No. 1 could be at stake for Nadal to recover in Acapulco," Zurutuza said.
Nadal, winner of 16 Grand Slam men's singles titles, second only to Federer, has played occasionally in Acapulco, winning the 2005 and 2013 events and losing in last year's final to American Sam Querrey.
The WTA event at Acapulco will be held from February 26 to March 3, although it is a lower-level tournament for the women and will feature two top-20 players this year - 12th-ranked American and reigning US Open champion Sloane Stephens and 13th-ranked Frenchwoman Kristina Mladenovic, last year's Abierto Mexicano runner-up.