The Abierto Mexicano, otherwise known as the Mexican Open has been one of the fastest rising tournaments, in terms of bringing top players to Latin America. Once a clay court event that only attracted someone like Rafael Nadal, early in his career, the tournament's decision to switch over from clay to hardcourts as helped attract more competitive fields. Last year saw Dominic Thiem win his first title at this level and the 2017 edition of the tournament features an incredible field led by Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal. In the event that lands just a week before the tournament in Indian Wells, the best players in the world will look to gain confidence heading into March.

Novak Djokovic is searching for confidence

It might be hard to believe, considering that he was ranked number 1 at this time last season, but Novak Djokovic is in crisis mode. Having lost early in the Australian Open after a promising win in Doha, the world number two accepted a wildcard into this event. In his first ever trip to Latin America, Djokovic will use this tournament as a barometer to assess his level of play. Having not played since a labored win in Davis Cup, Djokovic begins his campaign against the hard-hitting Slovakian, Martin Klizan. Klizan is one of the toughest unseeded players in tennis as he won two 500 level events last season and was up a break against Stan Wawrinka in the fifth set of his first-round match at the Australian Open.

Djokovic will have to be ready from the start, and a game like this will also allow him the opportunity to explore different facets of his game. For years, critics have wondered why Djokovic never even attempted to venture into the net. Now that he is struggling off of the ground, making his way into the net to win points may actually be the way in which he regains confidence in his game.

Rafael Nadal has an opportunity to gain valuable points

Even by his lofty standards, reaching the final of the Australian Open was not something that Rafael Nadal could ever have envisioned for himself. Having not played for three months, due to a wrist injury, the Spaniard was hopeful but also realistic about his chances. Nadal chose to skip a tournament in Rotterdam in order to recover properly for this event, which I believe was a good call.

At the age of thirty, Nadal should no longer play events unless he feels like he has a legitimate shot to win them. Nadal won this event back in 2005 and 2013, when it was played on clay, but has not been back in Acapulco since then.

Due to Milos Raonic’s hamstring injury, he was forced to withdraw from the tournament which bumped Nadal up to the second seeded position. This news is great for that fans, as it guarantees that Djokovic and Nadal could not meet until the final. Nadal’s first round is against Mischa Zverev of Germany. For those who do not remember, the older Zverev brother was the man who defeated Murray at the Australian Open and made Federer’s road to the final much easier. Nadal beat Zverev quite easily in Brisbane and has a pretty straightforward path to the semi-finals. This tournament features five top ten players which means that great tennis is on the way.