– Clavet won the title in 1997 after playing three semifinals against Austrian Thomas Muster.
Mexico City, November the 25th – Before Rafael Nadal and David Ferrer each conquered four titles at the Abierto Mexicano Telcel, and Carlos Moya and Nicolás Almagro each won two, his compatriot Francisco Clavet González, also known as “Pato” Clavet, was then held accountable of uncovering titles for Spain, winning the fifth edition of the Abierto Mexicano Telcel in 1997.
Clavet, born in Aranjuez, Madrid, in 1968, had to wait patiently while Austrian Thomas Muster won four titles in a row, between 1993 and 1996. At that time, the tournament was played at 2,240 meters above sea level in Mexico City, the venue where he finally managed to win the trophy after several attempts. Although his memories of that title are happy, his arrival in the country´s capital in those years was not very pleasant for him, reaching No. 18 in the ATP ranking in July 1992.
“The first memory I have of the tournament is actually not in Acapulco, but in Mexico City, which was where the tournament was originally organized, and I have to admit that, to tell the truth, it was not very positive,” Clavet told the tournament’s website. He explained that the altitude of the city, the ‘jetlag’ and the capital’s pollution, were factors that played against him, swearing he would not return to the tournament.
“Due to the pollution the first day we went to train, the altitude and the trip I got a huge downfall, and I vowed I would never play again. Obviously I had to eat my words,” he recalled with sympathy.
He pointed out that in his several visits to Mexico he played three semifinals in a row against Muster “and the fourth year that he did not play, after some luck and the great joy of winning the tournament”, beating Juan Albert Viloca (Spain) in the final. Then, when the tournament moved to Acapulco, Clavet said that what left a great impression on him was the hotel and sports complex where it was held.
“I already felt much more comfortable and relaxed than in any other tournament. The environment and the people made me feel happy and positive when I played,” said Clavet, who played professionally from 1988 to 2003. “It was really a tournament where I always felt very comfortable playing, very loved by the people, and in an incomparable setting. You can’t ask for more,” he said.
Regarding the 30 years history of the tournament, of which he was part of, Clavet said that they indicate “that it´s a tournament of great prestige, which enchants players and spectators, and above all that, not only have they done things very well, but they have been improving every year to at the Top of the ATP tournaments”.
To the Mexican fans, the Spaniard described them as “great tennis connoisseurs who enjoy the tournament with passion”, and also thanked them “from the bottom of my heart for the affection with which they have always welcomed me, and that they continue coming, enjoying and taking care of the tournament they have, because it´s a jewel”.
In his professional career, which lasted from 1988 to 2003, Clavet won eight singles titles and reached the semifinals of the Indian Wells Masters 1000 in 1992 and the Miami Masters in 1999. In 2003, his retirement year, he started coaching and liked to visit Acapulco and play the Abierto Mexicano Telcel alongside players such as Feliciano López, Thomaz Bellucci, Alejandro Falla and lastly Santiago Giraldo.