Marat Safin was forced to retire

March 3, 2001

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates

Juan Carlos Ferrero won the Dubai Duty Free Men's Open on Saturday when top seed Marat Safin was forced to retire with a back injury in the second set.
The Russian, who pulled out when trailing 6-2 3-1, had suffered a pulled back muscle during his semi-final victory over Thomas Johansson, and he was clearly still feeling the effects as he tried to compete with Ferrero. Safin dropped his serve in the opening game, and although he was able to rally quite effectively from the baseline he lacked any weapon to upset the Spaniard.

Seventh seeded Ferrero broke serve again to lead 5-2, and then kept the pressure on in the second set, holding three break points in the first game before finally breaking serve to lead 2-1. Ferrero then held
serve in the next game, and after Safin lost the first point on his serve at 1-3 he called for the trainer but retired from the match without receiving treatment.

"I want to thank all the people for coming to the final and I'm really sorry what happened to me," said Safin.
"I'm sorry they bought a ticket and only had half a match, but these things happen and I was unlucky. Definitely I couldn't play 100 per cent. I didn't feel I could do anything with him. The way I played today, if you're not serving well you don't have enough confidence to play from the baseline and you start to miss."

Despite his disappointment, Safin is determined to return to Dubai next year, saying, "I'm very happy playing here and very happy with the people. They're very friendly and I was really impressed with the hostesses and the security guys, the drivers. Everybody was really nice and I would like to come next year."

Ferrero said it was difficult to play Safin, despite the injury.
"I knew he was injured and he couldn't serve, but I still had to play at the same level all the time because he can play from the baseline. I had to play at a good level. But it was easier to receive his service because when he is normal he serves 190 kph and it is difficult to receive."

Ferrero, who walked in the footsteps of Dubai Duty Free Men's Open 2000 champion Nicolas Kiefer by winning the tournament a year after finishing as runner-up, received a cheque for $167,000, while Safin received $88,000. In addition, Ferrero received a magnificent silver Dhow trophy, presented by HH Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, President Department of Civil Aviation, Dubai and Chairman of Emirates.