• Juan Ignacio Chela, champion year 2000

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Acapulco has a special place in Juan Ignacio Chela’s heart.

The Argentinean won the title in two ocations and was ranked number 15 in the world in 2004.

Mexico City , Nov the 15th: For the Argentinean, the city of Acapulco means his first title as a professional and his entry into the Top-100 in 2000, memories that make the Mexican tournament have a special place in the heart of the now coach and television presenter.

In that year, the move from the altitude of Mexico City, 2,240 meters (above sea level) to sea level of the Abierto Mexicano represented a chance to play “like at home” for Latin American tennis players, including Argentineans

With clay as the main playing surface, the specialists in those conditions were the Spaniards and the Argentines, Chela among them, although at that time he was not among the favorites since he was 130th in the world, but the possibility existed and he fought for it.

“My first memory of the Mexican Open is from the year 2000 which was the first time I went to play it and I have a great memory for a lifetime, because I went to play the quali, achieved the qualification and ended up winning the tournament,” Chela told the tournament’s oficial webpage.

He recalled the points obtained for the first time and winning were he got into the Top-100.

“I finished I think in 73rd place more or less and that’s why I always have it present in my memories and very much keep in my heart, because it was my first title and then came another final and another title (in 2007) and that’s why it’s one of my favorite tournaments, no doubt,” said the Argentine almost 10 years after his retirement, which took place on December 3, 2012.

Chela, now 43 years old, was one of the constants in Acapulco and one of the main entertainers since his relationship with the fans was always great and he remembers them with sympathy due to his last name, Chela.

“They supported me a lot because my last name is Chela and in Mexico the word is slang or short for beer that way, so many were amused by that and cheered me on,” he said.

Precisely that relationship is what the Argentinean misses and he also misses playing in Mexico “I hope the fans keep going to the tournament and keep supporting tennis, which is an incredible sport, because with their support they make it more beautiful”.

About what he liked most about the tournament, the man born in Ciudad Evita, Argentina, recalled that “the matches always started late” and the players during the day “could enjoy all the facilities, the beach, the pools, everything the destination has to offer, which is always impressive and spectacular”.

Later, she recalled, “when it was time to compete, there was an atmosphere that has nothing to envy  the biggest tournaments in the world because there are always a lot of people and they love tennis and always go to support all the players, that makes you want to compete and play in Acapulco”.

Chela, who in 2004 reached his best ranking position by reaching 15th place in the world, congratulated the organizers of the Acapulco tournament.

“That a tennis tournament celebrates 30 years shows that it´s a great event and the professionalism and success it has is because of all the people who work behind it and because of how well things are done,” he said.

The Argentinean, who won 2 ATP 500 titles, 4 ATP 250, and 9 ATP Challengers in his career, said that among the Argentinean players and some on the tour “we always put Acapulco as a priority in our calendar, for the atmosphere of the tournament, for the place, the facilities, the organization and for how good you feel every time you go there, so without a doubt it´s one of the best tournaments in its category (Open 500) of the year”.

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