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A bullring receives Federer in Mexico

A bullring receives Federer in Mexico

With 73 years of existence, the Plaza de Toros México has witnessed great bullfights and tasks of great matadors. But the ancient stage will experience something unprecedented when it becomes the setting for a tennis exhibition.

The main actor? Roger Federer, the champion of 20 Grand Slam tournaments – more than anyone in all time.

It will be the fourth stop on the Latin American tour of the Swiss star, accompanied by the German Alexander Zverev. And Mexico will be delighted: it is Federer’s first visit to play in the country.

Federer has declined several invitations to play the Mexican Tennis Open in Acapulco, given that his annual schedule is fixed at the Dubai tournament, which takes place on the same dates.

“It is an achievement for the company, we have been very involved in this because it is a dream and so far things are going well, we hope to render good accounts,” Raúl Zurutuza, CEO of Mextenis, the company that operates, told The Associated Press. the Acapulco and Los Cabos Open, an ATP 250 that is assembled in August. “It is an achievement, we know that Roger will hardly return to Mexico as an active player because he has his tournament schedule, it is reality, so we are happy to have him here.”

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Federer and Zverev have already played in Buenos Aires and Santiago de Chile and performed in Bogotá on Friday night. After visiting Mexico, they will conclude their tour with a match at the Rumiñahui Coliseum in Quito, Ecuador. Most of the stages are roofed.

The organizers in Mexico were able to choose some other venue, including the specific venues for tennis that already exist in Acapulco and Los Cabos, but they chose the “Mexico”, the largest bullring in the world, because it has a capacity of more than 42,000 fans.

“The idea was to find an ideal combination that could give access to as many people as possible at an affordable price within the industry and Plaza México complies with that,” added Zurutuza, who reported that almost half of the capacity was sold for a price that was around 25 dollars per ticket and with the most expensive tickets around 500. “Mexico City caters for all types of public and fortunately we have sold out seats.”

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On Thursday, a group of about 200 workers continued working at forced marches to finish the transformation of the scene that in its history has already been the venue for motocross events, concerts, wrestling matches and boxing fights, including one involving Saúl ” Canelo ”Álvarez in 2011 and one of the legendary Julio César Chávez, who retired there with a fight against Frankie Randall in 2004.

The managers began to work on the surface of the ring last Sunday to flatten the surface and then place a clay base and finally a sealer on the sides that prevents the movement of the rubber mat that will serve as a tennis court.

“The most difficult thing was leveling the sand because it had to be compacted from Sunday night to make it look like a perfectly even carpet and above all we haven’t had that much time,” Tano Cruz, technical director of the exhibition match, told AP. and who has supervised the courts during the 26 editions of the Mexican Tennis Open. “Although it was difficult, everything must be ready and smooth to receive Federer as he deserves.”

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The work was left in the hands of Flexytap, a Mexican company in charge of installing coatings on sports venues made from recycled car tires, not only for tennis courts, but in other disciplines.

“It is a prefabricated coating, we made it as a carpet and it is made from recycled tire rubber (tire granules), and is agglomerated with flexible polyurethanes, which give it the characteristic of flexibility, resistance to bending, and softness for the conditions of the sport ”, said Guillermo Díaz de la Vega, director of facilities of the company.

Those in charge of the court reported that, at the end of the tennis match, around 9 p.m. on Saturday, they will have to start a great task with the disassembly of the entire stage, because on Sunday the Plaza México receives its regular visitors with the fourth run of his big season.

Federer and Zverev will cede the arena of the colossus to the matadors Juan Pablo Sánchez, Diego Silvetti and Ginés Marín. AP

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