Mexican Open begins today under heavy security for the players.

The ATP has warned players about security concerns at its tournament in Acapulco, Mexico, and has been reassured by Mexican officials that steps are being taken to improve safety conditions. The Mexican Open begins Monday as a combined ATP and WTA event and is the largest tournament in Latin America.

The Pacific resort city has been hit by a wave of drug violence in Mexico, although little of the violence happens in tourist areas. In January, the bodies of 14 men with their heads chopped off were found outside a shopping centre. A 15th body with its head intact was also found nearby. The ATP, in a statement sent to the Associated Press, said it had received assurances from all levels of the Mexican government. “Following an independent security assessment and discussions with tournament organizers, we are satisfied that responsible measures are being taken, and that the event has the full support of the authorities of Acapulco, the state of Guerrero, and the Mexican federal government,” the statement said. Players have received emails from the ATP about the situation, cautioning them about going out and suggesting they stay near their hotel. It’s also been suggested they arrive as late as possible and leave once eliminated.

Tournament organizers have played down the security concerns, pointing out that the International Olympic Committee held its executive board meeting in October in the coastal resort. David Nalbandian of Argentina said Saturday he was thinking about withdrawing. He said he also had a groin injury and may decide to rest for Argentina’s Davis Cup match March 4-6 against Romania. “It’s a great and enjoyable tournament to play,” said Nalbandian, who was beaten on Saturday by Tommy Robredo in the quarter-finals of the Copa Claro in Buenos Aires. “But for right now it’s a little more difficult because of the security situation. We (players) are a bit scared about this and we’re trying to decide what to do.”

Defending men’s champion David Ferrer arrived several days ago in Acapulco. “I didn’t have any fear about returning here,” he told reporters. Ferrer won the final last year against fellow Spaniard Juan Carlos Ferrero, who has withdrawn citing an injury.


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