In 1997, the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships saw one of its most iconic moments when the original ‘King of Clay’, Thomas Muster, won the men’s singles title. Muster, a solidly-built Austrian, was the first player from his country to win a Grand Slam title at the 1995 French Open. He was also one of the first superstars of the game to patronize the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships from the very first year of its inception and continued to be a regular until 1999.
Muster’s victory in 1997 was a defining moment for him and the tournament. He defeated the rising Australian star, Lleyton Hewitt, in the final in straight sets, 6-3, 6-2. Muster’s performance was a testament to his prowess on clay courts, and his nickname as the ‘King of Clay’ was well-deserved. The victory was also significant as it marked his comeback to the sport after a horrific car accident that nearly ended his career in 1996.
Muster’s road to the final was not an easy one. He defeated Carlos Moya, the world number four at the time, in the quarterfinals, and then overcame the tough challenge of Magnus Norman in the semifinals. Hewitt, on the other hand, had an easier run to the final, defeating Marcelo Rios and Goran Ivanisevic in the quarterfinals and semifinals, respectively.
Muster’s win in Dubai was one of the highlights of his career, and it cemented his status as one of the greatest clay-court players of all time. He won a total of 44 singles titles in his career, including eight Masters titles and one Grand Slam title. He was also known for his grit and determination on the court, and his never-say-die attitude was admired by fans around the world.
In conclusion, Thomas Muster’s victory at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships in 1997 was a defining moment for him and the tournament. His comeback from a near-career-ending car accident and his dominant display on the court proved his status as the ‘King of Clay’. His victory was one of the highlights of his illustrious career, and it remains a significant moment in the history of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships.