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Saturday, March 25, 2023

Tennis comes to South America again, between tradition and the ambition to grow

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The men’s tennis season has three moments to play on clay. In February, between australian open and the Masters 1000 from the USA, if they play four tournaments in South America (There was also Acapulco, but it changed to hard courts). Then, after Indian Wells and Miami, the preparation stage for Roland Garros; and finally, another handful of dates in Europe once concluded Wimbledon.

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There are no longer born specialists of each surface, but the South American tradition is rooted. When the ATP 250 in Córdoba formally begins on Monday, it will kick off the most important tour for tennis players in the region, where they score important points on their favorite surface and consecrate themselves in front of their public. This fact is not minor: the opportunities to compete at home are remote in a circuit that is mainly concentrated in the US and Europe.


“This tour is key for us, we get points and play at home. In Argentina, if we don’t get the Davis Cup, we only play twice a year. That’s why I like to bestated days ago Francisco Cerundolo in the presentation of the mountain tournament, where he will be the second favorite.

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Regarding the objectives, the number 31 in the world expressed to Ambit: “I would very much like to win one of the three tournaments -NdR: it has not been confirmed if Santiago de Chile will play-. It would be something very nice for me. Winning Rio would be very good for me because of the points, but winning in Argentina is not comparable”.

He Polo Kempes, next to the mythical Cordovan stadium, seeks to expand the sports and cultural offer beyond football. Tennis, as the provincial and municipal government itself recognized, gives it a superlative boost to cover more activities. That is why the dream of having its own venue in which to host the tournament that reaches its fifth edition does not stop, although the coronavirus pandemic delayed it.

Córdoba is the first stop on the Latin American tour. The favorites to keep the title, Diego Schwartzman and Cerúndolo, will not only compete for the trophy, but also for the concrete possibility of finish as Argentina’s No. 1 in the ATP ranking. There will be other cases, such as those of Juan Manuel Cerundolo and Guido Pellawho received two separate wild cards to recover activity after suffering different injuries.

Hours after the coronation in “La Docta”, the Buenos Aires Lawn Tennis Club will receive a new edition of the Argentina Open, the now hundred-year-old Buenos Aires tournament that will once again experience a luxury event. If the presence of Juan Martin del Potro in 2022 it was not enough, this year he will have the Spanish Carlos Alcaraz, number 2 in the world, as the top figure. The Murcian will return to the circuit after a couple of months of absence due to injuries.

alcaraz argentina open.mp4


In Buenos Aires the picture will be slightly different, since in addition to the Argentines and Alcaraz, there will also be Dominc Thiem (former champion), Cameron Norrie and Lorenzo Musettithe jewel of Italian tennis.

The two Argentine tournaments go hand in hand despite the differences in years and tradition. The presence of Alcaraz in Palermo and in the ATP 500 in Rio de Janeiro raises the status of a region (completed by Santiago de Chile) destined to fight, both because of its distance and because of economic deficiencies compared to the rest of the world and the little space left for brick dust.

“Buenos Aires has history, it makes up for the infrastructure problems that we have in Argentina in general, with good human resources, good treatment. We cannot compete with a modern stadium, but we try to replace it with good attention, good service. The history of tennis in the country also helps a lot, there is usually a stable amount of public that gives you stability to hold the tournament”analyzed Martin Jaitedirector of the Argentina Open, in dialogue with Ámbito.

The ATP insists on holding the series of tournaments in South America at any cost, at this time of year and on clay. From different sectors, they say, it is a surface that is not destined to die; however, in this portion of the planet the economic rewards are lower. Thus, the arrival of players responds to emotional issues or affinity with clay.

An irrefutable proof of the strength of these tournaments is that the entity that governs men’s tennis plans to expand the number of contests that award 500 points, and, as this medium announced in 2022, Buenos Aires is one of those that would receive that upgrade.

In a few more hours will begin a new tour of the fields of South America. For many it will not be easy given the Davis Cup Qualifiers, which were played this weekend. For example, the Argentines will arrive with the right after the trip to Finland. But desire, ambition and need make everything easier. It’s time to play at home again.

Source: Ambito

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