Rafael Nadal pulls out from Acapulco

Photo by PEDRO PARDO/AFP via Getty Images

After he withdrew yesterday from Rotterdam with a back injury, Rafael Nadal has just posted on Twitter he won’t play either in Acapulco.

“I am very sorry not to participate in Acapulco 2021. It is a difficult year for everyone and in my current state of health, with a bad back, it is impossible to make such a long trip. I love Acapulco, I have played the last four years, but this year it is not possible. Hopefully in 2022!”

Rafa has been a regular at the Mexican event recently, playing in three of the last four editions.

Our champ, who made the Australian Open quarterfinals where he lost to Stefanos Tsitsipas after leading by two sets, is expected to play in Miami next month.

93 comments

  1. ATP Media Info
    @ATPMediaInfo
    For 1st time in
    @ATPTour
    history (since 1990), a player has received walkovers in back-to-back rounds.

    Following his 1R bye at #QEMO2021,
    @AndreyRublev97
    got W/Os from Gasquet in 2R (leg) & Fucsovics in QF (back).

    Rublev’s 1st singles match in Doha is scheduled for Friday’s SF.

      • I think it’s mind boggling. Just thinking about someone being in a SF without having played a match is … I am speechless. Good on him as the slang expression goes.

  2. According to an interview with Eurosport, Roger’s main focus will be on Wimbledon and he has no plans to retire, just yet.

    “I HOPE THEN BY WIMBLEDON I’M GOING TO BE 100 PER CENT AND THAT’S WHEN THE SEASON STARTS FOR ME.”

    “RETIREMENT WAS NEVER REALLY ON THE CARDS. I THINK IT’S MORE OF A CONVERSATION IF THE KNEE KEEPS BOTHERING ME FOR MONTHS AND MONTHS – THEN LET’S LOOK AT IT.“

    The 39-year-old insists retirement is not something he is currently thinking about.
    He added: “This is not the time to think about that…let’s say in the fall of this year.“

    For me, as long as these two champions can stay healthy a Fedal match is something to look forward to. Imagine a Fedal final at the Olympics. GOOSEBUMPS.

  3. DOHA
    After a year and two months of not playing, Roger Federer has won his first match. He beat Dan Evans by winning the tiebreaks in the first and this sets.

      • Yes, it was very close but Roger got the job done.

        He’s on tomorrow vs Basilashvili which he should win providing he’s got the energy.

    • Looks like the first tournament that both Roger and Rafa play will be Wimbledon, unless its a grass warm up. Then the Olympics (maybe), then the U.S Open. Why is 2021 going so fast?

      • It’s not going fast for me. I feel as if I’m “En attendant Godot.” LOL

        It’s still a little early so we have to wait and see how Roger does.

        As for Rafa, he’s on the Miami player list but I question if he will play. Is it worth coming to the US for one tournament in these uncertain times. The tournament director said he expects cancellations due to the pandemic.

  4. Roger Ferderer on Rafa : ” I saw Rafael Nadal grow, right in front of my eyes. He’s one of the guys from tennis – players – that I could call up and, if I told him something, it would be a secret between the two of us. And I appreciate that we are able to build a relationship like that.”
    A clear statement of the trust and mutual respect these two greats have for one another.

    On the GOAT debate, Roger accepts that his slam record will be surpassed. He believes that Rafa and Novak are motivated by his own achievements, just like he was by Pete Sampras. “What Novak and Rafa have done lately is extraordinary, they’re not 25 either, but they seem at the peak. For them I am maybe the measuring stick, like Pete (Sampras) was for me.”

    These are honest and admirable words from Roger and I wish him all the best as he returns to the tour in Doha this week.

  5. Congratulations to Diego Schwartzman who just won his first home-turf title at the Buenos Aires Open in Argentina beating F. Cérundolo, 6-1, 6-2. There had not been a home champion in Buenos Aires since 2008.

      • Diego told ATPTour.com “Having these moments, sharing this with them [family and friends] and winning the title is a totally different feeling. It’s amazing…”

      • Mimi, re your 11:42pm
        I re-checked with the RNF post about Rafa’s schedule but it doesn’t include Miami. I thought he wasn’t playing even though he’s on the Miami Open player list. You are usually au courant on things Rafa so I am asking if you read something positive about him playing there? I don’t know if I can until Monte Carlo.
        GOING NUTZZZZZ

      • Margo, like you, I think Rafa won’t play until Monte Carlo. Let’s wait and see…… I haven’t read anything. I was hoping he might play base on the schedule I read when I posted at 11:42pm.

    • Lovely to see Diego win in Buenos Aires, his home city, with his family in attendance. Well done to the Cerundolo brothers too, another sporty family like the Kordas. A very happy day for me as a tennis fan, two of my favourites won a title… but I still miss Rafa.

  6. Today Andrey Rublev won his first title of the year at Rotterdam against M. Fucsovics 7-6, 6-4. According to the ATP, Rublev now has 8 titles 5 of which he won in 2020.

    Wishing the best to the ATP and WTA.

      • Mimi, I vote for letting Diego savor his home-turf win before you throw him to the lions 😱 Let the two Russians duke it out 😂

      • Andrey might need a brief break after Rotterdam, but wait, he also plays doubles in Doha. He is young and motivated……

      • Yes Mimi, and Andrey’s doubles partner is non other than Aslan Karatsev. Remember him? Russia’s “secret weapon” at the ATP CUP. He went from a ranking of 112 at the beginning of 2021 to currently 45. As a qualifier he made it to the AO SF, beaten by ND. Together they have a good chance of winning doubles at Doha.

  7. Sorry to hear that Victoria Azarenka had to pull out of her Qatar semi final match due to a back injury,
    She played a brillant QF match with the injury which was clear to see from the start, that she was in a lot of pain. Nevertheless, she showed so much grit and determination to secure a convincing win in dominating fashion.

    I wish both Vika and Rafa a full recovery from their back issues which have lingered for a while, and hope to see them return to court fully fit before too long.

  8. A pipe bomb exploded in Volkenskarpel which is about 1.5 hours, by car, from Rotterdam. A vaccination site was the target. Happy to say no injuries have been reported.

    • That’s shocking! It’s not the first time that there has been an attack on a covid test centre in the Netherlands. Glad no one was hurt.

  9. Included in the package are

    ON-SITE PROTOCOLS

    As part of an ongoing review of on-site health and safety protocols, the ATP has worked with tournaments to provide increased Player Support Team (PST) allocations, offered to players on a first-come, first-served basis.

    Players have been restricted to +2 support team members at ATP tournaments as part of health & safety protocols implemented since the resumption of the Tour in August 2020. Additional PST members may now be permitted within specific on-site locations and the official hotel, subject to availability and full COVID-19 protocols.

  10. COVID-19 PROTECTED RANKING

    Players who are out of competition for four consecutive weeks will be eligible for a COVID-19 Protected Ranking. This measure is designed to allow players greater flexibility in their scheduling without having a negative impact on their ability to enter future tournaments.

    Eligible players will be granted four entry opportunities, excluding Grand Slams and/or the Olympic Games, using their ‘frozen’ ranking. Players will only be able to use their COVID-19 Protected Ranking for entry into as many ATP Masters 1000 events as they missed during their time away from competition.

  11. ATP Prize Money Support point:

    PRIZE MONEY LEVELS (ATP 250 & ATP 500) & BONUS POOL

    Between the Australian Open and Wimbledon, minimum prize money levels for ATP 250 and ATP 500 tournaments will be raised to 80% and 60% respectively, from 50%.

    Increases, which equate to a maximum expenditure of $5.2m, will be primarily funded through a redistribution of part of the ATP Bonus Pool, ordinarily distributed to the Top 12 eligible players at the end of the season. Redistribution of the funds has come with the support of the ATP Player Council, including Top 10 representatives Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.

      • You’re welcome Mimi. I am still trying to figure out how any of these points may affect Rafa’s ranking.

  12. Zverev, FAA, Medvedev, and Wawrinka are out of Rotterdam having lost in their first match.

    Had Medvedev reached the final he would have jumped to World No. 2, replacing Rafa.

  13. ATP Announces Player & Tournament COVID-19 Support Package. This support package makes changes to rankings, amount of prize money and number of support staff a player is allowed to have at a tournament. The Olympics is also covered.

  14. Roger is back but not on clay. He has scheduled the following tournaments:

    Doha
    Dubai
    Halle
    Wimbledon
    The Olympics
    US Open.

    I am wondering if he still has it. Wishing him well.

    • Just the fact that he still plays is amazing, plus his will to come back after injuries in his age. The same is for Serena and Rafa. Not judging other players who retire at 30 at all. Tennis is so demanding sport and we should all cheerish players who are almost 40 and still go to practice courts and play top tennis.

    • That looks like a very sensible schedule for Roger. Even though there was talk of him playing on clay, I never really thought that it was on the cards.

      • Roger said he decided to come back at Doha because it’s a smaller tournament and he didn’t want to be the focus which would be a lot more stressful for him. Depending on how he does at Doha he may play another tournament or do another block of conditioning.

        “I won’t play tournaments just because. If the body doesn’t work, I’ll stop,” he said.

        “I want to be able to go skiing with the children and with Mirka. Or go hiking, play basketball or start ice hockey – I still have so many dreams. For that I need a good body and I don’t want to hit it against the wall.”
        [SOURCE: Eurosport]

  15. Rafa, better be safe than sorry with your back muscle injury. Rotterdam …2009 last time there, so its not of importance. Yes Acapulco it would be great to defend your title there but clay season will be upon you soon enough. You are the King of Clay, so to have you 100% fit & healthy is so so important. You are in the hands of a great experienced team. Vamos

    • I agree 086….. We can all speculate of course but, in my opinion, Rafa’s decisions to withdraw from Rotterdam and Acapulco are most probably due to the injury to his back sustained in Adelaide. He managed to play in the AO despite this but had to be very careful in the run-up to and during the AO to avoid making it worse. He clearly needs and wants to be fully fit for the clay court season so it does not make sense for Rafa to play two hard court tournaments whilst he is still carrying that injury. Let’s hope that the extra time off will give him the time he needs to fully recover.

      • With 100 million earned dollars you really don’t need to beg tournament directors to give you half-million dollars to show up, nor he did it. If Rafa was kind of those players, he would show up just to take the money. He knows very well health is the most important thing now and finally, he is choosing wisely where and how often to play. Unfortunately, many fans will never get the chance to see him play in some smaller cities, but he has a regular schedule and there’s nothing we can do about it.

  16. TIMELINE

    January 19, 2021
    Rotterdam announced Rafa’s participation on its Twitter account and a press release.

    Rafa said he “…signed up in Rotterdam because Indian Wells is not played.” He also said Rotterdam fits into his schedule.

    February 16, 2021
    Raúl Zurutuza, director of the Mexican Open, announced the participation of Zverev, Diego, Tsitsipas and Korda for the main draw.

    He said he was still waiting for a response from Rafa to whom he had extended an invitation. At that time Rafa said he was “concentrating on the first Grand Slam of the year.” “They spoke but nothing was confirmed.” It is not known when he invited Rafa.

    Rafa lost his QF at the AO on February 17 or 18, depending on your time zone. It’s anyone’s guess when he saw his doctor.

    The Rotterdam draw was to occur on Friday, February 26. Rafa withdrew on February 25. Why wait so long?

    Zurutuza was in a difficult position. He said he had to make some very difficult decisions and many sacrifices. Why would he make up a conversation between him and Costa.

    Why would Costa be negotiating an appearance fee in the first place.

    • Very well researched timeline.

      As for why Rafa waited until the last minute to wd from Rotterdam we can only hope there isn’t some troubling personal issue in his life at this time.

      Regarding appearance fees-according to tennis insiders like Morgado and Steph Myles they have been in existence for many years for the top stars at lesser tournaments. They are negotiated in good faith by both parties. The directors would not pay them unless they believed they got good value in return.

      I don’t begrudge the players trying to maximize their earnings while they can which is their right as professionals. Costa as the agent is paid for this very reason. I don’t believe he denied the discussion of a fee with Zurutuza but stated that it wasn’t the determining factor.

      Rafa in particular has nothing to apologize for (not that you claimed he should) as he has donated/generated millions for charities over the years.

      • Glad you brought it up. I’ve been worried about Rafa since his return. Being in the public eye from such a young age must be daunting and can take a toll. The only one who can speak for Rafa is Rafa if anything is troubling him. I hope he gets back to his fighting spirit and wish him well. Wanna see his warrior side again.

        About appearance fees, I don’t think anyone suggested they are frowned upon. It’s a way for some tournaments to attract the best players who, in turn, generate money for the tournaments, the local economy, TV licensing, sales tickets, and so much more. It’s also prestige.

        Costa has his view and Zurutuza has his. I wasn’t present at the discussions but for whatever reason it appears Zurutuza thinks the appearance fee was the reason he failed to enlist Rafa.

        I didn’t see where any articles or social media posts have called for Rafa to apologize.

        All the top players have their own charities and do funders for different causes so I don’t know how that has anything to do with the ongoing discussion.

  17. Rafa has s back injury and that’s why he decided not to play either Rotterdam or Mexico. The tournament director was disingenuous in his comments. Rafa has been very loyal to Mexico.
    Rafa had to recover and come back fully fit, his decision is wise. Get fully recovered and fit Rafa, we will still be there supporting you.🇪🇸🌟

    • FYI-the Acapulco entry list was published during the A.O.(source:Jose Morgado) and Rafa was not on it. He had not intended playing there this year for whatever reason. Might have been a combination of no appearance fee and the Indian Wells postponement making it less appealing to travel to N.A. No doubt this is why he entered Rotterdam noting how it fit into his schedule. Now sadly the lingering back issue has put everything on hold.

      • Your post makes a lot of sense. Rafa would usually combine a visit to his tennis school in Mexico too. I do think the fee may have been part of the decision, but not the major part. The director said that they already had a contract with Zverev and others. I do not recall if fans will be permitted to attend or not? Ticket sales may be less important then. I just wonder when we may next see Rafa play?

    • I think the tournament director later apologized and said that the headlines are not true (his words were taken out of context) about our champ asking for a fee. He made such a huge mistake even discussing why Rafa won’t play in Acapulco. Rafa and his team might think twice about playing next time there. Acapulco fans were happy to watch Rafa cause we all know there are others tournaments before Indian Wells and our champ could choose them instead of Acapulco. They should be more grateful that in the last years he was loyal to them, especially because thanks to Rafa they sold much more tickets and made a lot of profit. Even if it wasn’t Covid-19 without Rafa they just can’t have such a huge interest from media and fans for the tournament. They need a big name and Rafa is exactly what they had, but obviously, they don’t appreciate it enough.

      • On his Twitter account this is what Zurutuza posted:

        Raul Zurutuza
        @raul_zurutuza
        ·
        Feb 26
        Buenas tardes a todos: quiero ser muy claro con el tema de Rafa: la decisión de no jugar
        @AbiertoTelcel
        es por su lesión en la espalda, así de simple y transparente. Acapulco siempre será la casa de
        @RafaelNadal
        y le deseamos una pronta recuperación.”

    • va4favre
      Carlos Costa has released a statement regarding Acapulco citing several reasons for Rafa’s absence. Indian Wells is mentioned along with the delay in the start of the tourney, the situation we are facing and of course Rafa’s injury which is in his shoulder according to him unless the translation is wrong. He says the fee was not a factor. Have to take him at his word.

      I would prefer that Rafa wouldn’t travel to Miami to risk further aggravating his problem on a harcourt. Wishing he would stay in Europe and be well enough to have another great clay season.

      • Margo the Costa statement is on tennis world USA. We know that the guy’s English isn’t perfect so it could be a translation mistake. Rafa himself has not mentioned his shoulder.

  18. From the Mexico Open tournament director posted on Twitter.

    Raul Zurutuza
    @raul_zurutuza
    Buenas tardes a todos: quiero ser muy claro con el tema de Rafa: la decisión de no jugar @AbiertoTelce es por su lesión en la espalda, así de simple y transparente. Acapulco siempre será la casa de @RafaelNadal y le deseamos una pronta recuperación.”

  19. To bad Rafa stay healthy is very important vamosssssss get well 🇺🇸🎾😘👍💪

  20. I thought Acapulco had said that this was something to do with them being short of funds this year and unable to afford the appearance fees for top players. I don’t know how true this is, but I’ve seen it in a few places.

    • Having said which, 3 top 10 players are playing, so that doesn’t really fit with what the reports have said, and it being due to the back injury makes a lot more sense.

      • Depending on the tournament, Rafa’s appearance fee can run from $500 thousand to $1 million.

        “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.”

        The three top-ten players are Zverev, Diego and Medvedev. If players can add ranking points, high appearance fees may not be an issue for them. From Zurutuza’s statement only Rafa was mentioned which would indicate the tournament could afford other high level players.

        This does not look good for Rafa because it implies that Rafa would have played Acapulco if his appearance fee was acceptable.

      • CORRECTION: As of this writing, the 3 players are Tsitsipas, Diego and Zverev NOT Medvedev.

    • Zurutuza went on to say that “Zverev had a contract with them so it was cheaper to pay him instead of canceling him out. Diego and Tsitsipas were very generous when he contacted them and were kind enough to accept to play for a much lower appearance fee understanding the financial situation the tournament was in.”

      All I can say is WOW!

      Sources: excelsior.com.mx; PuntodeBreak.com; deporteselejido.com

  21. The tweet says he can’t imagine such a long trip [to Mexico] because of back pain so I don’t see how he will make it to Miami, a cesspool of coronavirus and a long journey, a little over a week after the Miami Open.

  22. I really hope that video thanking his team was not Rafa’s swan song. Hopefully he’s taking enough time to heal completely before starting his beloved clay season. Or maybe a bambino is on the way. I truly hope this current back problem is fixable.

    Stay healthy Rafa because you are still young and have a lot of unfinished business, personal and professional.

    • That video was an ad by his sponsor telefónico talking about staying connected. Not his swan song as he stated that he would be back in Melbourne next year.

      • Thanks. I thought it was a 6.5-minute tribute to his great team. I thought he was reaching out to his fans for them to share how they have been helped by those close to them.

    • I don’t know Margo. There’s also something that Rafa said after his loss to Tsitsipas at the AO, that lead me to think it was his last major down under. I certainly hope that isn’t the case.

      • Re yours of 5:22pm
        No Lorna, Rafa didn’t mention the AO in that video.
        ———————
        Re your 5:15pm
        Are you referring to his comment about “I have to see/think about what tournament I am going to play next?”
        ———————-
        The Olympics aren’t looking any better. So far, the committee isn’t requiring athletes to be vaccinated but they are “suggesting” they get vaccinated before arriving in Japan.

        Only 40% of the Japanese population is willing to be vaccinated.

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