Thursday, April 18, 2024

Tennis stars head to Los Cabos for Mexico’s fastest-growing ATP Open

The Los Cabos Tennis Open was already an important tournament, thanks to its status as one of only two Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) sponsored tour events held annually in Mexico. The ATP 250 series men’s competition should gain an even greater profile, however, thanks to both its calendar shift from August to February – the peak of Los Cabos’ high tourist season – and the fact that it serves as the lead-in for the Mexican Open in Acapulco.

The History of the Los Cabos and Mexican Open Tournaments

The Mexican Open has long been the nation’s most important tournament, dating back to the inaugural competition in Mexico City in 1993. The ATP 500 series event moved to Acapulco in 2001 and in the years since has been graced with legendary champions like Rafael Nadal, who has won the tournament on four occasions. 

The ATP Los Cabos Open has only been held since 2016, but has risen rapidly in prominence since then. (Los Cabos Tennis Open)

The Los Cabos Tennis Open, by contrast, debuted in 2016. Although its tour level (ATP 250 events provide fewer ranking points than the 500 series) and prize money are lower than the tournament in Acapulco, it has continued to expand during its short eight-year history, rising steadily in terms of prestige, facilities and amenities.

The first tournament in 2016 was held at newly built facilities at the Delmar International School, a bilingual private education institution just outside Cabo San Lucas. By 2021, the action had shifted to the Cabo Sports Complex (CSC), a dedicated sports facility built across from the Solaz Resort Los Cabos (Carretera Transpeninsular Km. 18.5) in the Tourist Corridor that connects Cabo San Lucas and San José del Cabo. 

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the new complex had no fans in 2021. But by 2022, the tournament reopened to the public, and over 30,000 spectators attended the 2023 tournament, won by Greece’s Stéfanos Tsitsipás.

Past champions at the Los Cabos Tennis Tournament include Ivo Karlović, American Sam Querrey, Fabio Fognini, Diego Schwartzman, Cameron Norrie and Daniil Medvédev, a Russian player who was ranked number one in the world when he won the tournament’s signature trophy, a colorful ball-shaped award created by talented Mexican Huichol artists.

Russia’s Medvédev with the traditional Huichol-inspired trophy. (Los Cabos Tennis Open)

The Dates and Location of the 2024 Tournament

The eighth edition of the Los Cabos Open will take place from Feb. 19 to 24, 2024 at the CSC in Los Cabos. It is a men’s hard-court event, with 32 singles players and 16 doubles teams competing for US $873,000 in prize money. Mexican bank Mifel and smartphone firm Telcel Oppo are the primary sponsors (this year’s tournament is alternatively known as the Mifel Tennis Open by Telcel Oppo). Other notable sponsors include Pepsi, Wilson, National Car Rental, Disney and ESPN. 

Why the Tournament is Moving to February

In past years, the Los Cabos Tennis Open has been a summer showcase held in late July or early August. This will be the first year the tournament is held during winter. 

Why the change? As the tournament organizers note, “It allows us to enjoy [tennis] with the perfect temperature.” This is not a trivial matter. Los Cabos in July and August is often blazing hot. During last year’s tournament, for example, the first day of play (July 29) saw temperatures of about 95 degrees Fahrenheit. The average daytime temperature in February, by contrast, is a glorious 80 degrees Fahrenheit. But it’s not just about the weather. February is right in the middle of high tourist season in Los Cabos, meaning there will now be a larger available pool of spectators.

The new date also means the Los Cabos Open will provide positive momentum via a direct lead-in to the Mexican Open in Acapulco (Feb. 24 to March 2). The latter is expected to provide an important economic boost as Acapulco recovers from Hurricane Otis, which devastated the city in October last year. 

Los Cabos’ CSC complex will play host to the tournament this year. (Los Cabos Tennis Open)

Which Players Have Committed to the Tournament

Four players ranked among the top 10 in the world have committed to playing in 2024 at the Los Cabos Tennis Open, including last year’s champion, Stéfanos Tsitsipás. The 10-time ATP singles title winner and #5 ranked player in the world headlines an impressive lineup that includes Denmark’s Holger Rune (currently world #4), Norway’s Casper Ruud (ranked #9) and Germany’s Alexander Zverev (#10). Although none of them have won major championships, Ruud is a three-time majors finalist, Tsitsipás has made French and Australian Open finals and Zverev is a former finalist at the U.S. Open. 

“There is no doubt that we will have one of the best lineups in the history of the tournament,” Tournament Director José Antonio Fernández told Los Cabos-based news outlet Gringo Gazette in October. “It is an event that has been consolidating over the years, and more and more players want to come live the experience of competing in Los Cabos. We are very excited about our new date during the winter. A new era begins for the organization and we hope it will be great for the fans. We are sure that it will be for the benefit of everyone.” 

How to Buy Tickets

Tickets for the upcoming event can be purchased at box office locations in Los Cabos and Mexico City or online via the tournament website. For more information about purchasing tournament passes with all-courts access, as well as weekday and weekend passes and individual tickets, visit loscabostennisopen.com.

Chris Sands is the Cabo San Lucas local expert for the USA Today travel website 10 Best, writer of Fodor’s Los Cabos travel guidebook, and a contributor to numerous websites and publications, including Tasting Table, Marriott Bonvoy Traveler, Forbes Travel Guide, Porthole Cruise, Cabo Living and Mexico News Daily. His specialty is travel-related content and lifestyle features focused on food, wine and golf.

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