If Djokovic and Nadal cross paths in Saturday's championship, it would be an unprecedented 50th FedEx ATP Head2Head encounter between the two stars, their first since the Internazionali BNL d'Italia quarter-finals last year. The Spaniard leads a talented bottom half of the draw that also features third seed Cilic, Delray Beach Open champion Jack Sock and #NextGenATP stars Borna Coric and Ernesto Escobedo.
Nadal, who will look to carry the momentum from a runner-up showing at the Australian Open, will be seeking his third title in Acapulco, having triumphed when it was held on clay in 2005 (d. Montanes) and in 2013 (d. Ferrer). He opens against a red-hot Mischa Zverev in a rematch of their encounter at the Brisbane International presented by Suncorp last month, won by Nadal 6-1, 6-1.
In another enticing first-round affair, World No. 7 Cilic faces Argentina Open champion Alexandr Dolgopolov. "It's going to be extremely exciting with a lot of great players," said the Croatian. "The crowd in Mexico really deserves to have such a great tournament and I'm just hoping I can produce some good tennis and enjoy the week. It's in a great week this year, just prior to Indian Wells, and everyone loves it here.
Competing in his first tournament since a surprise second-round exit at the Australian Open, World No. 2 Djokovic is the first Top 2 player to enter Acapulco since No. 1 Gustavo Kuerten won the title in 2001. The late addition took a wild card into the draw on Thursday and could face del Potro in what would be a blockbuster second-round encounter. The Serbian, who is making his debut, will have to get through Slovakia's Martin Klizan in the first round on Tuesday. Del Potro opens against a qualifier or lucky loser.
Also in Djokovic's half of the draw is fourth seed and defending champion Thiem, who is coming off a title run on the clay of Rio de Janeiro, fifth seed Goffin, sixth seed Kyrgios and 2016 runner-up Bernard Tomic. Thiem and Goffin could meet in the quarter-finals.