Rafael Nadal Helps Brasil Open Organizers Break Attendance Record
In its 13th edition, the Brasil Open in São Paulo "broke attendance records" with 57,465 tickets sold, according to Fernando Itokazu of FOLHA DE S. PAULO. The number is a 26% increase over the '12 event. However, the tournament did draw its share of criticism. The players "did not like the courts" and the balls used for the tournament. The fans "also suffered," especially in the matches Rafael Nadal played. The Ibirapuera gymnasium "gave a clear impression of being overcrowded" during Nadal's matches. Fans were seen sitting in the staircases as all the seats looked to be taken. Brasil Open Dir Roberto Burigo said that this week "evaluations on the tournament will be done." He added, "Everything that generated some type of criticism can be altered for next year" (FOLHA DE S. PAULO, 2/18).
THE NADAL EFFECT: UOL's Erich Beting opined the record numbers can be explained by tournament organizer Koch Tavares' ability to contract Nadal to take part in the event. Nadal's title "was only the cherry on top of the cake." By bringing the Spaniard, the company was able to "achieve something that had never been done in previous editions of the Brasil Open." It was able to have a capacity crowd "for almost every day the tournament took place." Even better for Tavares and tournament sponsors, "the final was shown live on free-to-air TV" (UOL, 2/18).