By Nelson Belen, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Sure to please tennis fans throughout Rio de Janeiro, tournament organizers of the 2017 Rio Open have announced that it is offering free admission for the tournament’s qualifying rounds taking place at the Jockey Club Brasileiro in Gávea, this weekend, Saturday, February 18th and Sunday, February 19th.
Widely regarded as the biggest tennis tournament in South America, the Rio Open, now in its fourth iteration, officially begins on Monday, February 20th. This year, the tournament will have a new format, becoming exclusively a men’s tournament.
This weekend’s Rio Open Qualifiers will feature sixteen players battling for four spots in next week’s main tournament. Some of the players in the qualifiers include: the 77th-ranked player in the world, Carlos Berlocq, from Argentina; 93rd-ranked Victor Estrella Burgos, from the Dominican Republic; 114th-ranked Daniel Taro from Japan; and, sure to draw support from the home crowd, Brazilian João Souza, the 133rd-ranked player in the world.
The four players who earn the coveted spots in next week’s Rio Open will join elite players such as Kei Nishikori and Dominic Thiem, ranked number five and eight in the world respectively, and 2015 Rio Open champion David Ferrer, all scheduled to compete in this year’s tournament.
The Rio Open, which began in 2014, is the first-ever ATP World Tour 500 tournament to be held in Brazil. It is one of only thirteen ATP 500 tournaments held every year, and one of the few on clay.
The 2016 Rio Open, won by Pablo Cuevas from Uruguay, was attended by some 45,000 fans who watched 92 tennis matches at the Jockey Club Brasileiro.
This weekend’s Rio Open Qualifiers will start at 10AM on both Saturday and Sunday, with free admission both days. Gates will open at 9AM.
For those wishing to purchase tickets for the main tournament, beginning on February 20th, tickets can be purchased at the tournament’s website, and range from R$30, for the early session on Monday, February 20th, up to R$670 for the finals on Sunday, February 26th.