Acapulco tournament director Raul Zurutuza recently explained why Roger Federer never plays at the 500-level event in Mexico. In the same interaction, the Zurutuza also claimed that the tournament was doing just fine without Rafael Nadal, who had been the main attraction in Acapulco over the last few years.
Speaking to a local media channel, Zurutuza voiced his displeasure at Roger Federer's agreement with the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships, which binds the Swiss to the Middle-Eastern event. In effect, Federer can't play Acapulco even if he wants to, since it falls at the same time of the season as Dubai.
Unhappy with Dubai monopolizing the presence of Roger Federer, who is an-eight time champion there, Zurtuza expressed hope that such a thing never happens with other players in the future.
"He (Roger Federer) has never played in Mexico because of the Dubai thing," Raul Zurutuza said. "I hope it will never happen again with any other player because it's important that every player can play as most events as possible."
"There are many players that a tournament director would like to have" - Raul Zurutuza on Roger Federer choosing Dubai over Acapulco
Roger Federer pulled out of the 2021 Dubai Tennis Championships after his return at the Qatar Open ended on a disappointing note. The 39-year-old is expected to play next during the claycourt season, with one of the three Masters 1000 events likely to be on his schedule.
Raul Zurutuza claimed that as a tournament director, he would ideally want his event to attract as many top players as possible. He also revealed he is on good terms with the representatives of Stefanos Tsitsipas, who is making his debut in Acapulco this year.
"There are many players that one as a director would like to have," Zurutuza added. "The truth is we talk a lot with his (Tsitsipas’) representative and we have a great relationship."
"We have played without Rafael Nadal for several years and nothing happened" - Acapulco tournament director
During the interview, Raul Zurutuza also spoke about Rafael Nadal's absence from the tournament this year. Nadal was forced to withdraw from Acapulco as he is currently recuperating from a back injury.
But Zurutuza seemingly doesn't mind Rafael Nadal skipping the tournament, despite the fact that the Spaniard has been the major crowd-puller in Acapulco since 2017.
"This year's event is very good," Zurutuza said. "We have three top 10 and most of the top 50 players. We have played without Rafael Nadal for several years and nothing happened."
Raul Zurutuza did acknowledge how valuable Rafael Nadal is when it comes to selling tickets, but in the same breath he added that there is a great field at the 2021 edition of the tournament.
"He (Rafael Nadal) is a fixed asset of the tournament, the desire to have him is always there," Zurutuza said. "But we have great names and the public will be able to enjoy it."