The Teachers Cup is played in Spanish. Mexico gained fame as a sports host since the soccer World Cups in 1970 and 1986, but since 1993 it began its tradition with tennis by organizing the Mexican Open. The tournament, held in Acapulco, soon hooked Spanish tennis players. David Ferrer won the championship four times and Rafa Nadal another three, dressed in the typical hat for the celebration. Now, in Guadalajara, women have struck. The unprecedented duel between Garbiñe Muguruza and Paula Badosa, curiously the first born in Caracas and the second in New York, focused all the attention on a tournament that nevertheless reached Mexico with a carom. Garbiñe raised the tone of celebration after reaching his ticket to the final.
The final of the Teachers’ Cup landed for the first time in Latin America in a year still shocked by the covid-19 pandemic. Due to the health emergency in the Chinese city of Shenzhen, which has a headquarters contract until 2030, the WTA had to find a new home. Mexico opened to host the Zapopan Open last February, which left a white balance in terms of safety. The sanitary control and the good reception of the public made a great impression on the organization of the women’s circuit. Months later, the city of Guadalajara competed to host the Copa de Maestras. And he won the race over Prague (Czech Republic) and Linz (Austria).
From the airport you can already see the presence of the great women’s tennis event with ball paraphernalia and faces of the main players. An important police force is deployed around the Akron sports center to avoid any setback. There is no lack of reasons for the alert. 1,553 murders were committed in the Guadalajara metropolitan area in 2019, more than four a day. In 2020, during the worst of the pandemic, this figure dropped slightly to 1,369, almost 200 fewer deaths. Police surveillance is not small.
Garbiñe Muguruza, fifth in the ranking, winner against Badosa, enchanted the Mexican public. And this was given to him. The gestures have not been lacking in both parts: the tennis player wore the shirt of the Mexican team and the more than 4,000 fans of the enclosure showed Spanish flags in their matches. They even gave him the phrase that great guests to the country earn. “Garbiñe, sister, you’re already Mexican!” Read one of the signs in the stands. Although she fell in her first match against Karolina Pliskova, she took flight to reach the semifinals after beating two tough opponents. First she beat Barbora Krejcikova and then one of the favorites, Anett Kontaveit. That ability to come back clicked with the Mexicans, witnesses of the exploits of the powerful game of the Spanish, when he lifted the trophy of the Monterrey Open in successive years, 2018 and 2019.
“When Muguruza put on the shirt he beat us as Mexicans,” his wife, Mercedes Villarreal, mentioned on the outskirts of the field. “It was very surprising that the WTA was held in Mexico despite all our problems of violence and because of the pandemic itself. In Mexico, there are not many options to watch high-level sports ”, says Andrea Martínez, a 27-year-old fan.
The revelation was Paula Badosa, tenth in the world ranking. The Catalan dominated the Mexican height of more than 1,500 meters of altitude. He came from conquering Indian Wells and, despite the physical challenge, he drew the mallet in his first games against Sabalenka and Sakkari. With the ticket to the semifinals, he fell to Swiatek on his 24th birthday. The organizers brought her mariachis and a cake to honor one of the pearls of women’s tennis in Europe. “I grew up watching Garbiñe win grand slams”Badosa said, about his dosing before Swiatek. “I wanted to rest because against Garbiñe it is a battle,” he commented.
Both Badosa and Muguruza saw in the rear-view mirror what Arantxa Sánchez Vicario achieved in 1993 when he reached the final against Steffi Graf, in the majestic Madison Square Garden. In Guadalajara, where tequila and ranchera music are patented brands, they toasted Muguruza and Badosa, two mexican.
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