The Spaniard conquered Acapulco in 2008 and 2009 to enter the tournament’s book of records as one of the few two-time champions.
Mexico City, December 9th, 2022.- It took 13 years for Acapulco´s audience to see a tennis player successfully defend his crown at the Abierto Mexicano Telcel presented by HSBC. Nicolás Almagro, who won his first Silver Gourd in 2008, becoming one of the few two-time champions of the event the following year.
Almagro knew what it was like to be a champion in Acapulco for the first time very far away from home. That 2008 title was the first he won in a place other than Spain and he managed to win after excelling in a main draw that had players of Carlos Moya´s stature, winner in 2002 and 2004, and Argentine David Nalbandian, whom Nicolás defeated in that year’s final.
The Spaniard’s first memory, strangely enough was not being in the competition nor the names against whom he would compete, it was the venue of the event. “My first memory of Acapulco is when I arrived there and seeing the resort it was so impressive, seeing the sea so close and thinking that in such an incredible place a tennis tournament was going to be held and that was on itself impressive,” he commented.
After becoming champion in 2008, Almagro repeated the feat the following season. Perhaps in 2009 he didn´t have as complicated journey as in the previous year, but he did have some memorable matches, such as that second round match against Potito Starace, whom he defeated 7-6, 6-7, 6-3.
Eventually, “Nico” (short for Nicolás) sealed his two-time chanpionship in Acapulco after defeating Gael Monfils in the final after a double 6-4. He then entered the tournaments history books as one of the few tennis players to defend his crown on the beaches of Guerrero and the first to do so in 13 years, the last having been Thomas Muster with his four-time championship in 1996.
Almagro is a man of traditions, so for him the most special thing about the tournament is one of the most classic celebrations of the event. “The most beautiful part of the tournament is when the all white party is celebrated, all the players come in together, that seemed something unique to me, so impressive, to be able to share the beauty of a place like Acapulco´s beaches (state of Guerrero) with all the players dressed in white and enjoying a exquisite gastronomy”, expressed the Spaniard.
After recalling Raul Zurutuza’s key support for Almagro on continuing choosing Acapulco as one of his tour destinations, Nicolás highlighted the energy of the organization and all the people involved in the tournament.
“For a tournament to be 30 years old means that things have been done well for a very long time. To maintain that energy for so many years and transmit it to players and the circuit means that the whole team behind the tournament is impressive, treating people with respect and provide us everything we need to be happy and be able to compete at a very high level,” he recalled.
Almagro participated in 9 editions of the Abierto Mexicano Telcel presented by HSBC throughout his career. Recalling his visits to Acapulco, keeping a fond memory of the Mexican fans.
“For me the Mexican public was always special, they always transmitted me a lot of respect, very good vibes all the time supporting me from the first day. The stands were always lively enough for us to feel the warmth and support, they tucked us in during the difficult moments. They transmit to me that they understand tennis, that they know what they are doing, and above all a very respectful public, always supporting the player and above all that likes the show up to the matches and show their support at all times”, concluded Nicolás.
Nicolás Almagro said goodbye on a professional level in 2019 with 13 titles under his wing. In addition to the two-time championships in Acapulco, he managed to reach another final in 2011, which he lost to his compatriot David Ferrer. One thing is for sure: the player from Murcia has secured his place as one of the legends of the Abierto Mexicano Telcel presented by HSBC.