World No. 2 must win title in Acapulco to have a chance
Rafael Nadal is this week challenging Novak Djokovic for the No. 1 FedEx ATP Ranking.
Nadal is the top seed at the Abierto Mexicano Telcel presentado por HSBC in Acapulco. If the Spaniard lifts his third trophy at that ATP 500, he’ll force Djokovic to reach the semi-finals of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships to retain World No. 1 on Monday.
Nadal is only defending 45 points this week since he lost in the second round in Acapulco last year. Djokovic, who did not compete this week in 2019, currently leads Nadal by 325 points, giving him a 370-point cushion for the week.
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If Djokovic advances to the quarter-finals in Dubai, he’ll add 90 points, leaving room for Nadal to reclaim top spot if the Spaniard takes the Acapulco title. The Serbian got off to a good start in Dubai with a straight-sets win against Malek Jaziri, putting him two victories away from guaranteeing he will retain World No. 1.
Djokovic next faces German Philipp Kohlschreiber, who defeated him last year in Indian Wells. The top seed could play powerful Russian Karen Khachanov, the seventh seed, in the quarter-finals. Djokovic is 14-0 on the season, and he is a four-time champion in Dubai.
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Nadal, the top seed in Acapulco, begins his tournament against countryman Pablo Andujar. He is trying to return to World No. 1 just five weeks after relinquishing his position after the Australian Open, where Djokovic won a record-extending eighth title.
Both men have finished year-end No. 1 five times, joined in that feat by Roger Federer and Jimmy Connors. Pete Sampras holds the record for most year-end No. 1 finishes with six.
Djokovic has held World No. 1 for 279 weeks, putting him eight weeks from surpassing Sampras on 20 April for second in FedEx ATP Rankings history. That is, unless Nadal takes back top spot.
“We Left The Trophy There And Never Found It”- Rafael Nadal Reveals Crazy Story From Acapulco 2005
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Rafael Nadal is in Mexico for one of his favourite tournaments of the year. World number 2 is all set to participate in the Acapulco Open among a fairly competitive field. This time, the ATP 500 event is featuring stars like the defending champion Nick Kyrgios, Alexander Zverev and Stan Wawrinka.
Interestingly, Rafa has won the event twice. The first time he won it was way back in 2005 as an emerging star. His next triumph came in 2013.
Nadal recently recalled a very interesting piece of information from his 2005 campaign. Apparently, the Spaniard forgot to take his trophy home after winning the event! How did this unusual event transpire? Let’s find out.
What Did Rafael Nadal Say?
“So that year, who knows why we decided to go partying after the final. Next day, we had to take a flight, because I had to go to the Davis Cup to Slovakia. For some reason, we decided to drive from here to CDMX. There the traffic was horrible and we were very late. We almost lost the flight and when we left the car, we were in a hurry without thinking. So we left the trophy there and never found it.”
Of course, Rafa has the liberty to be careless with trophies. The Spaniard has had a career that has possibly given him every trophy that a tennis player can dream for. Acapulco 2005 was Rafa third ATP title back then. That’s why it would have obviously hurt back then!
Coming to the present, Rafa gears up to face compatriot Pablo Andujar in the first set of Acapulco Open 2020. To be honest, he is expected to proceed easily. If that happens, he will face Miomir Kecmanovic in the second round who beat a returning Alex De Minaur.
Do you think Rafael Nadal can win the Acapulco Open 2020?