ATP warns players of risks of playing in Mexico

Friday, February 18, 2011

BUENOS AIRES - The ATP is seriously worried about security at a tournament in Acapulco and has taken steps to improve conditions in Latin America’s biggest tennis event.

“The ATP’s warnings caused a little fear,” Uruguayan player Pablo Cuevas told the German Press Agency dpa in Buenos Aires.

The tournament in Acapulco, which starts Monday, is the last in a Latin American tour that previously took players to the Chilean capital Santiago, to Costa de Sauipe in Brazil and to Buenos Aires.

The ATP asked players, among others, to get to the tournament as late as possible and to leave Acapulco as soon as they can once they are out of the running, Cuevas said.

“I have been hearing a bit about the situation in Acapulco. The ATP informed us by sending us several emails. They acted quite well on that,” Argentine player Juan Monaco told dpa.

“They told us that there were problems, that things were not easy there because there have been several kidnappings, murders and that kind of stuff,” Monaco said.

The Pacific resort city of Acapulco, like other Mexican cities and towns, is frequently the scene of murders and shootouts between rival drug gangs who seek domination of the area to control drug trafficking.

Cuevas noted that he knew of several players who opted out of the tournament.

“Those who had doubts as to whether or not to go, that was a reason to opt out,” he said.

Monaco said the ATP advised players to remain as much as possible in the hotel where they are to stay and to play their matches.

“They told us not to go out,” he said.

A week ago, 10 people were shot dead in several parts of Acapulco. In early January, 15 men were decapitated and their bodies were left before a shopping centre in the city, on a particular day on which at least 25 people were killed in incidents linked to organised crime in the city.

The tournament is set to feature prominent players like Spain’s David Ferrer, Fernando Verdasco and Nicolas Almagro, France’s Gael Monfils and Argentina’s David Nalbandian.

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