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Rafael Nadal skipping Acapulco this year due to appearance fee disagreement - Reports

Rafael Nadal
Rafael Nadal
Rudra Biswas
Modified 24 Feb 2021

Rafael Nadal is currently in Manacor, getting some well-deserved rest before he resumes his training for the upcoming hardcourt and claycourt tournaments. Having suffered a tough quarterfinal exit at the 2021 Australian Open, the 34-year-old has confirmed he will play at the Rotterdam Open next.

The Spaniard, however, will not be playing at the Abierto Mexicano de Tenis Open in Acapulco, despite being the defending champion there. Nadal has played Acapulco regularly since 2017, but according to recent reports there was a disagreement over his appearance fee this year, which forced him to opt out.

Raul Zurutuza, the Acapulco tournament director, has claimed that they couldn't afford Rafael Nadal's appearance fee and so had to forego the Spaniard's participation in the event.

"The relationship with Carlos Costa (Nadal's agent) is super good and things were very open, (but) the reality is that there are no funds to pay," 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."

Rafael Nadal reportedly charges between $500,000 to $1 million in appearance fee at ATP 250 and 500 level

Rafael Nadal will be missing the 2021 Abierto Mexicano de Tenis Open
Rafael Nadal will be missing the 2021 Abierto Mexicano de Tenis Open

According to Raul Zurutuza, the cost of implementation of a 'bubble' together with the accommodation expenses of other players at the tournament left little in their purse to pay Rafael Nadal's appearance fee.

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.

The event will be welcoming smaller crowds than usual due to COVID-19 guidelines, which would mean less ticketing revenue for them as well. 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."
Published 24 Feb 2021, 12:05 IST
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