Argentina Open: the Del Potro effect and the dream of a bigger and bigger tournament

The Argentina Open it is already a tradition on the sports map of the country. The fourth oldest tournament in the world of tennis -data of 1893- has been played uninterruptedly since 2001 and became a classic.

This Monday, in a renowned Retiro hotel, the 2022 edition was officially presented, which will be from February 5 to 13, as always, at the Buenos Aires Lawn Tennis Club, the venue where there will be room for a revolution: if it arrives in optimal conditions, for a right knee injury that sidelined him from the circuit for two and a half years, none other than Juan Martín Del Potro will play.

“Juan Martín said at the US Open that, if he did play again, he wanted to do it in South America. So we chat with his collaborators. Now, to be honest, to play in Buenos Aires he needs to recover. He had many injuries in his career but is 33 years old and, if he’s okay, he can still give tennis a lot, “he said. Martin Jaite, tournament director, in dialogue with Page 12.

Last September, during an exhibition with John McEnroe at the US Open, Del Potro had hinted that he would like to play in his country again. “In Argentina I played very little; There are alternatives that touch the emotional side and I am going to go there ”, he expressed. Now he seems to have left behind the quarrels that antagonized him with Jaite, with whom he was estranged while his captaincy in the Davis Cup lasted. Days later, from the offices of Tennium, owner of the Argentina Open, contacted IMG, the company that today represents the 2009 US Open champion.

“We didn’t know he was going to say that at the US Open. They are things that happen naturally. We don’t hear anything. One has to give the player and his team time; can not call the next day on the phone. These things happen by themselves. Hopefully I can be, “Jaite expanded. Del Potro announced days ago that his intention is to return to Buenos Aires and then play in Rio, the ATP 500 of the region that belongs to IMG.

The declaration of the tandilense represented a whole surprise because, for 15 years, decided to target another region of the calendar on the same date as Buenos Aires. The reasons were both sports and monetary: he chose to act on fast surfaces and the guarantees – extra money from tournaments reserved to bring figures – that The Buenos Aires ATP offered him they were always three times less than those offered by the Rotterdam ATP 500, the contest that Delpo used to play – he was champion in 2013 and lost the final in 2012-. Barely played once, years before he became a star on the circuit.

“Juan Martín played our tournament in 2006. He lost to Ferrero in a great game. Later he chose to play during that time on fast courts to later prepare Indian Wells and Miami. When a player is very good they always ask you: ‘Che, why don’t you bring Federer?’ And the truth is that he does not come because he wants to play elsewhere. There must be a first intention of the player. Dominic Thiem comes to play for Argentina because he decides to do so. Luckily Juan Martín, in case of returning, decided that his return would be in South America “, said Jaite, in relation to the Austrian who was consecrated twice in Buenos Aires and will return in 2022.

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Another of the figures that will be at the Argentina Open, in addition to the two-time champion, is Diego Schwartzman, 13th in the world and number one in the country that will be enshrined in this year’s edition. “I have been part of this tournament since I was very young. It was never interrupted. Nobody decided to stop it while other tournaments move to another city or are canceled. Now it is going to be 22 years old. I have fulfilled dreams and dreams to fulfill in Buenos Aires. As I improved in the ATP in Buenos Aires, so did my career in general. Starting the year with triumphs here fills me with confidence for the rest of the season “, described the Peque. And Jaite returned the mime: “El Peque is like home, he belongs to the family. In 2011 he played the tournament for the first time and keeps coming back and supporting. It is an example for all the boys who come behind, it is admirable how they respect it. “

The dream of the ATP 500, getting closer and closer

Last November this media announced that Argentina Open has serious chances of become, in the short term, an ATP 500 tournament. Leave category 250 and establish a upgrade would imply two new attributes for the Buenos Aires tournament: increase points and official prizes, two items that would allow him to improve the quality of the players in the future. The real chance arises from the intention that ATP has to improve three tournaments globally and move them to ATP 500 as of 2023. Buenos Aires, by history and external consideration, has an advantage.

“If we get to go up to the 500 category, which is a dream we always had but can now be real, it would be necessary to rethink issues such as space. Generally in an ATP 500 it is required a second stage; our court 2 is for 700 people and we would need a higher number. But then you have to see the comforts for the people. Therefore, in that case, also we would have to see if Buenos Aires is the place or we should consider another space “, Jaite analyzed.

Martín Hughes, executive of Tennium, the company based in Barcelona, ​​signed in this regard what already I had advanced to this medium: “The possibility of raising the tournament to category 500 comes from the ATP, which wants to improve three tournaments in the world and the region needs it. Our tournament is very well positioned in that sense because it is already a 500 for the quality of the players, but it is not by points and prize money. The ATP opens that door and there are a number of tournaments that are running. Argentina is very well positioned. We have already decided that we will do it and the country is with us. Now we need to see which tournaments we compete with, but we would keep the date and the conditions. “

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