Francisco Clavet, the Spaniard who uncovered titles for Spain in the AMT

– Clavet won the title in 1997 after playing three semifinals against Austrian Thomas Muster.

Mexico City, November the 25th – Before Rafael Nadal and David Ferrer each conquered four titles at the Abierto Mexicano Telcel, and Carlos Moya and Nicolás Almagro each won two, his compatriot Francisco Clavet González, also known as “Pato” Clavet, was then held accountable of uncovering titles for Spain, winning the fifth edition of the Abierto Mexicano Telcel in 1997.

Clavet, born in Aranjuez, Madrid, in 1968, had to wait patiently while Austrian Thomas Muster won four titles in a row, between 1993 and 1996. At that time, the tournament was played at 2,240 meters above sea level in Mexico City, the venue where he finally managed to win the trophy after several attempts. Although his memories of that title are happy, his arrival in the country´s capital in those years was not very pleasant for him, reaching No. 18 in the ATP ranking in July 1992.

“The first memory I have of the tournament is actually not in Acapulco, but in Mexico City, which was where the tournament was originally organized, and I have to admit that, to tell the truth, it was not very positive,” Clavet told the tournament’s website. He explained that the altitude of the city, the ‘jetlag’ and the capital’s pollution, were factors that played against him, swearing he would not return to the tournament.

“Due to the pollution the first day we went to train, the altitude and the trip I got a huge downfall, and I vowed I would never play again. Obviously I had to eat my words,” he recalled with sympathy.

He pointed out that in his several visits to Mexico he played three semifinals in a row against Muster “and the fourth year that he did not play, after some luck and the great joy of winning the tournament”, beating Juan Albert Viloca (Spain) in the final. Then, when the tournament moved to Acapulco, Clavet said that what left a great impression on him was the hotel and sports complex where it was held.

“I already felt much more comfortable and relaxed than in any other tournament. The environment and the people made me feel happy and positive when I played,” said Clavet, who played professionally from 1988 to 2003. “It was really a tournament where I always felt very comfortable playing, very loved by the people, and in an incomparable setting. You can’t ask for more,” he said.

Regarding the 30 years history of the tournament, of which he was part of, Clavet said that they indicate “that it´s a tournament of great prestige, which enchants players and spectators, and above all that, not only have they done things very well, but they have been improving every year to at the Top of the ATP tournaments”.

To the Mexican fans, the Spaniard described them as “great tennis connoisseurs who enjoy the tournament with passion”, and also thanked them “from the bottom of my heart for the affection with which they have always welcomed me, and that they continue coming, enjoying and taking care of the tournament they have, because it´s a jewel”.

In his professional career, which lasted from 1988 to 2003, Clavet won eight singles titles and reached the semifinals of the Indian Wells Masters 1000 in 1992 and the Miami Masters in 1999. In 2003, his retirement year, he started coaching and liked to visit Acapulco and play the Abierto Mexicano Telcel alongside players such as Feliciano López, Thomaz Bellucci, Alejandro Falla and lastly Santiago Giraldo.

Juan Ignacio Chela, champion year 2000

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”.

Historically, how much has the AMT distributed in prizes?

The prize pool of the Abierto Mexicano Telcel has evolved over its 30 years, increasing its value to more than $2 million USD.

Mexico City, November the 10th – Prize money is the mainstay of the ATP and WTA Tour tennis tournaments, as it can be translated into earnings for the players who, depending on which round they reach in each competition, receive some sort of payment.

Throughout its 30 years, the Abierto Mexicano Telcel has been able to boost an important economic leap thanks to its evolution in category, as well as the support of its different sponsors.

In its early stages, distributing only $300,000 USD in 1993, this year it stood out with a prize pool of $1,832,890 USD, where champion, Rafael Nadal, was awarded $314,455 USD, while tennis players in the first round received $13,090 USD.

In 1993 the tournament debuted in the Mexican capital as the first ATP in Latin America and in then World Series category, the next year it increased its financial commitment to $325,000 USD. A year later, another five thousand USD were added, an amount that was maintained until 1997, since in 1998 with the arrival of Grupo Pegaso into management, the prize pool was increased to $340 thousand USD.

Although there was no edition in 1999, the AMT achieved one of its greatest monetary leaps for the 2000 edition by distributing $800 thousand USD, since it also moved up to the International Series Gold category of the ATP Tour. In addition, a women’s exhibition tournament was held, as a test for the arrival of the WTA in 2001 along with moving the tournament to Acapulco.

In that historic edition, the prize pool  was also $800 thousand USD for the men’s tournament and $170 thousand USD for the women. These amounts were maintained until 2004.

For 2005 there was a reduction to $690 thousand USD for two years and for 2007 it increased again to $794 thousand USD. In 2009, when the Abierto Mexicano Telcel was upgraded once again to ATP 500 and added the WTA International Tournaments, the prize pool increased to $1,226,500 USD.

In 2010 and 2014 it was $1,350,500 USD and for 2015 it exceeded to $1,450,000 USD, with $1.2 million USD for the men’s tournament and $220,000 USD for the women’s tournament.

In 2016 the same amount was maintained and for 2017 it  increased to $2,015,615 USD with $1.7 million USD for the players. In 2020 the prize pool went up once again to $2,845,000 USD, of which $372,785 USD went to the champion. While the WTA, which had its last appearance in Acapulco, distributed $251,750 USD.

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