Being able to count on the presence of Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal in the same tournament is the dream of any organizer. Raul Zurutuza, director of the prestigious ATP Acapulco, has never managed to convince the Swiss and the Spaniard to play together in his event scheduled for March.
While Rafa has repeatedly participated in and won the Mexican Open during his glorious career, Roger never set foot there. The 39-year-old from Basel has always preferred to play in Dubai, which typically takes place in the same week as Acapulco.
This year, the 20-time Grand Slam champion did not even go to the United Arab Emirates, opting for an additional training block after returning to the field in Doha a month ago. The former world number 1 appears on the entry list of the Masters 1000 in Madrid, which does not guarantee the presence of King Roger in the Spanish capital.
In a long interview with 'Punto de Break', Zurutuza explained that he has not yet given up hope of bringing Federer to Mexico one day.
Zurutuza on Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal
"It would be incredible to have Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer in the same year," Raul Zurutuza said.
"Have you heard about the divers in Acapulco? They are very famous, because there is a cliff, where there are divers who throw themselves from very high into the water. I tell you something - if Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal play together in Acapulco one day, I will jump off the cliff into the sea."
But the Mexican Open TD remains hopeful of Federer taking part in the Mexican Open even if his career doesn’t last that long. "This is something we have discussed with Tony Godsick (his agent) many times," Zurutuza said about Roger Federer.
"Look, maybe 10 years from now, we'll both have more gray hair and Roger will still be playing tennis. Nothing tells us that he will continue playing for several more years. I do not lose hope that he will come."
The Mexican Open TD answered that a decade ago, he would have measured Rafael Nadal’s absence in terms of revenue generated from ticket sales. "If you asked me this question 10 years ago, I would have answered that the difference was between selling tickets or not selling them," explained Zurutuza.
"Having a figure of the caliber of Rafa ensures you sell many tickets. But to this day, ticket sales, fortunately, have been maintained. We found out a couple of years ago," Zurutuza added. "Just before the tournament presentation press conference, Rafa was injured at the US Open and we could not confirm it. Despite this, in 20 days more than 60% of the tickets had been sold."