Player Julia Georges tweeted: “What a nice view every morning here in Acapulco,” and posted a beautiful picture of the beach from her balcony.
The world’s tennis players sound like a travel brochure at their tour stop this week. I’m thinking a new slogan for the place could go something like this:
“Acapulco. Fun, sun, beheaded bodies found at the shopping mall.”
We know athletes don’t live in the real world with the rest of us, but this is ridiculous. I can’t even believe the men’s and women’s tennis tours didn’t cancel the event, rather than risk the lives of their players.
The players feel a false sense of security from their usual isolation and disconnect. No matter what kind of protection the Mexican government has promised, they should be scared for their lives.
Exactly why are players sending messages to get people to come down there? Do they think that people, as in normal people, might have the same experience?
Is anyone following the news in Acapulco? Gangs are fighting each other, and fighting the police, in drug wars. The gangs have over-run the place. The U.S. State Department has issued a travel warning, and some cruise lines, such as Disney, have decided not to go in the area for a while.
Hacked-up remains of men found in highway tunnels. Seventy-two sticks of explosives found at drug cartel camps. Gangs using car bombs on police. Tens of thousands dead in the government’s war against the drug gangs.
Fourteen beheaded bodies at the shopping center.
And the Bryan brothers are running the cutest, silliest photo with a tweet that says, “You know you’re in Mexico when the Chihuahuas are wearing somebreros!”
Yes, as long as they keep their heads.
This isn’t to criticize the Bryans, or any tennis players, other than to just note that they seem to be oblivious.
What’s next? Come Visit Libya, Crossroads to History. Such a lovely desert!
Both tennis tours did issue warnings to their players. The ATP, the men’s tour, suggested that players arrive at the tournament late, stay close to their hotels and leave the city immediately after they lose out of the tournament.
You know, as in, don’t venture out into the real world.
A dozen cab drivers, and passengers, were found dead this past week, according to The Associated Press. Gangs force cabbies to run drugs.
The feeling is that things are safe in the resort-world. But are they?
And does tennis, as an international tour, go through this kind of thing all the time? I asked U.S. Davis Cup captain Jim Courier if he was concerned for the safety of the Bryans, Davis Cup fixtures, and of other players.
“I did read online that the ATP had done a check and certainly consulted with the players,” Courier said. “So, I’m certainly confident that they’ll be well taken care of and looked after and protected down there. It’s not the first time that players have gone into areas where there’s a little bit of strife. I’m sure they’ll be fine.”
A little bit of strife?
“You know,” Courier said, “as a tennis player, we typically live in a bubble. It’s a pretty secure environment. (I remember) being in Peru as a practice partner for my first Davis Cup experience, and we had 24-hour armed security on the floors whenever we went to the courts. We had armed guards in vehicles in front and behind us, and police escorts.
“So you know, it is what it is. It can be part of the job, and Bob and Mike (Bryan) are smart guys. They’ll be safe.”
“We are a bit scared about this,” he said. “And we’re trying to decide what to do.”
That’s not good enough. Next month’s Bahrain Formula One race has been canceled because of political unrest there.
See? You can do it, no matter how much money sponsors have already paid.
But the women’s tennis tour wouldn’t even cancel an event in Dubai when tournament officials, at the last minute two years ago, prevented Israeli player Shahar Peer from playing. Apparently, there were sponsors to consider.
You can’t live your life in fear, there is a time to play it smart and just stay away. Of course, if they had done that, then the Bryan Bros., and other players, would have missed, as the Bryans tweeted, “the player party of the year.”
Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow me on Twitter @gregcouch