'We cannot afford Rafael Nadal this year', says tournament director



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'We cannot afford Rafael Nadal this year', says tournament director

In a world like the present one where the health emergency comes along with the economic one, which will slowly replace it, even the organizers of tournaments from all over the world are often forced to juggle these two important factors.

At the moment organizing a tournament has in fact become a real logistical and financial puzzle. Lately, the director of the Acapulco tournament (which will start on March 15) is trying to sponsor his event with every expedient and in the last few days he said that he was able to complete the construction of an absolutely new center for the 2021 edition of tournament, proposed to players as a heavenly place.

A substantially marketing operation with the aim of attracting as many players as possible and therefore replenishing the coffers of the organization and the federation, especially thanks to the possible sale of television rights, given that it is difficult to enjoy the sale of tickets.

However, the tournament's big goal, which is to win the participation of 20-time slam champion Rafael Nadal, often present in previous years, seems to have vanished. Raul Zurutuza, the tournament director, explained that Nadal's absence can only be traced back to factors beyond their "product", namely the economic guarantees deemed insufficient by the Spaniard's agent Carlos Costa.

Raul Zurutuza on Rafael Nadal

"The relationship with Carlos Costa (Rafael Nadal's agent) is super good and things were very open, (but) the reality is that there are no funds to pay," Raul Zurutuza said. "Our budget for this year is super mega limited, so we decided to invest that money in bringing who we have to bring."

The tournament director implied that he was financially constrained as World No. 7 Alexander Zverev has already signed a contract to play and would receive a hefty sum of money as appearance fee. "We already had a contract signed with Alexander Zverev and it was more expensive to cancel it than to pay him," Zurutuza went on.

"And the other players, the four or five that we invited with an appearance fee...their economic demands are substantially lower than what they normally do." Nadal reportedly charges between $500,000 to $1 million as appearance fee for non-mandatory events, such as those at the ATP 500 and 250 level.

The Acapulco event, which belongs to the ATP 500 category, would have had to part with a large amount of money to get Nadal to play - which is not feasible given the current financial climate.