February 28th, 2014

Jose Medina Live at ATP/WTA Acapulco


Hi this is Jose Medina, most of you know me as the former “IT” guy from USTA Florida. I have been delving in tennis photography for the past year-and-a-half and decided this year to apply for credentials for the Abierto Mexicano de Tenis in Acapulco. I figured it wouldn’t be a bad gig since it’s in Acapulco, right? Here is my blog from combined ATP/WTA event in Acapulco:


By the time I finished packing my gear backpack, which by the way weighs over 26 LBS, poor back of mine, I (we) got to the airport a bit late. I had sort of forgotten that it was an international flight and I supposedly had to be there three hours in advance.

Anyway, I said my goodbyes as my family was dropping me off and entered the line for check-in at AeroMexico. And who do I see just ahead of me? Feliciano “Feli” Lopez and Marinko Matosevic. They lost earlier that day at the Delray Beach tournament and were moving on to the next tourney — Acapulco! They looked a bit worried about their racquets being checked-in and tossed around. Feli plays with the Wilson BLX and Marinko with the Head Radical. They traveled with me all the way to Acapulco, with a connecting flight in Mexico City.

They both seemed real nice, down-to-earth mates. I guess when you’re not in the Top 10 you fly coach/economy like the rest of us mortals do. At one point, while waiting for the flight in Miami I asked Feli for a photo, not with him (there was not one around to take it, Marinko had gone to the bathroom) but of him, he looked kind of confused at the request but gladly accepted.

The rest of the trip was uneventful until we got to Acapulco. This is the point where I fast-forward and explain that I thought I booked the wrong hotel because it was late in the evening and the taxi driver kept driving and driving. It turned out that the Holiday Inn Resort where I had booked my stay was not close at all to the Fairmont Acapulco Princess Resort, the hotel that the players stay at and where the tournament is played. Needless to say I didn’t sleep that much that evening, literally and figuratively as it was the next morning already and the need to change hotels was on my mind.

SUNDAY, Feb. 23

What followed on Sunday morning was a frenzy attempt to move to the “right” hotel, the Holiday Inn near the site of the tournament. After what seemed like an eternity, a long talk with someone from Expedia, I was given the go ahead to move. By the way, they’re not paying me to mention these hotels names nor traveling booking services, just saying.

My next task was to get to the tournament to get my credentials. That was a breeze compared to my “change hotels adventure.” Voila, I got my credentials and I entered the press room. I felt lost at the beginning, where do I go and what do I do now? And I’m sure it showed as the ladies in charge looked at me with intrigue, ‘Who is this guy? We’ve never seen him, he must be a rookie,’ they must have thought to themselves.

At any rate, I settled in, got a locker to stash the backpack (my back thanked me) and I went out and shot a couple of qualie matches that had American ladies in them, Madison Keys and Allie Kiick, the latter if I remember well, played at the Bobby Curtis State Tournament in Daytona Beach. They both won their matches, Allie was in a struggle with Shelby Rogers (another American) she pulled it out in the third, while Madison had an easier time on beating Alysa Kleybanova.

Prior to the qualie matches mentioned above I shot Andy Murray practicing in the “cancha central” or center court. Later that evening I saw Feli Lopez again but this time practicing serves and ripping backhands on center court. Just as I was gathering my belongings to get back to the hotel there was an announcement in the press room that due to the 20th anniversary of the tournament, Genie Bouchard and Grigor Dimitrov would play on the Acapulco Bay the next morning on a floating court. We were invited as press to witness the action. Man, this is getting good I thought!

MONDAY, Feb. 24

I got up bright and early, my task was to be at the other Holiday Inn (remember that hotel…my original hotel) at 9 AM sharp. As usual, I was scrambling for time and left the hotel with just enough time for the taxi driver to maneuver his way through the streets of Acapulco to get me there on time. As it turns out we (press) waited for a few minutes and then left for the bay on three vans. Traffic reminded me of Peru, heavy and crazy.

To make a long story short, once on the bay, we hopped on the boat (or is it ferry?) and waiting for Genie and Grigor to make their grand appearance via helicopter then yacht. It was a beautiful day, bright and sunny. The view was spectacular, it all felt like a dream to me. I had my cameras ready, the extenders…everything was checked and ready to go.

Then the mayhem started, first the helicopter, then the yacht. We saw Genie and Grigor, they played, posed for pictures, jumped on the water, tried to hit balls at us (didn’t reach), hopped back on the yacht and off they went. Genie and Grigor could make a great couple, Sugarpova better watch out!

Needless to say that was the highlight of my trip so far and I can confidently say that event will be the highlight of my trip.

After that amazing experience we got on the transportation vans and headed to the tournament site. Once again, I dropped off my backpack at my locker and off I went to shoot Christina McHale and Kristina Mladenovic on center court.

It had been a long day, I was tired, my face was red as a tomato (why doesn’t the sunblock work with me?), I was ready to call it a day. Tomorrow is a big day…the big guns play, Cibulkova, Ferrer, Isner, Murray, etc., etc. If I get good photos of Genie and Grigor, I’ll be happy!

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