Worship at the Thomas Muster altar [Archive] - MensTennisForums.com

Worship at the Thomas Muster altar

02-27-2003, 04:52 PM
OK, so who remembers Thomas Muster, Austrian clay court master of the late 80s / early 90s?

He was the first player i really followed on the ATP tour...his never give up style and bullish attitude on court were great to watch. He's the best clay court player of the last decade and a half without a doubt and amassed 49 titles, leaving him 11th on the all-time title leaders list, yet is rarely talked about these days:

SINGLES CAREER TITLES: 1986--Hilversum; 1988--Bari, Bordeaux, Boston, Prague; 1990--Adelaide, Casablanca, Rome; 1991--Florence, Geneva; 1992--Florence, Monte Carlo, Umag; 1993--Florence, Genova, Kitzbuhel, Mexico City, Palermo, San Marino, Umag; 1994--Madrid, Mexico City, St. Poelten; 1995--Barcelona, Bucharest, Essen, Estoril, Mexico City, Monte Carlo, Roland Garros, Rome, San Marino, St. Poelten, Stuttgart Outdoor, Umag; 1996--Barcelona, Bogota, Estoril, Mexico City, Monte Carlo, Rome, Stuttgart Outdoor; 1997--Dubai, Key Biscayne FINALIST (13): 1988--Barcelona, Vienna; 1989--Key Biscayne; 1990--Monte Carlo, Munich; 1993--Sydney Outdoor, Vienna; 1995--Kitzbuhel, Vienna; 1997--Cincinnati; 1998--Estoril

02-27-2003, 09:36 PM
Of course, I remember Thomas Muster, nice that you mentioned him, he was a great player with an extraordinary will to win. I saw him playing and pracitcing a few times and it was great. He was also the reason why a lot of young people started to play tennis here in Austria at the time - me included. ;)

Ada Monroe
02-28-2003, 12:21 AM
He was one of the first tennis players I ever saw play. Great claycourter and extraordinary career.

02-28-2003, 06:36 AM
Loved him. Got his autograph. Nearly knocked me over. At that moment, I would have done anything he wanted. I guess I was 15. Good times. :D

What a bod. Oh man :drool:

03-01-2003, 06:39 AM
My favorite memory of Thomas was after he got hit by a car at the lipton while putting rackets in the trunk of his car and his leg got badly hurt, he hit groundstrokes from a special chiar and then went on later to return to miami and i think he won that event.

anyway to come back and become number one was amazing.

also after winning so many clay events the computer placed him at number one and he was criticised.

so thomus siad "i didnt buy my points at the supermarket" that was funny

03-01-2003, 07:25 AM
muster beat sampras on indoor then.

I couldn't stand him, but that was a good thing also beating the jerk on clay after the jerk had matchpoint

then the loser said muster was on drugs :rolleyes:

03-01-2003, 11:43 AM
talk about your sore losers.

03-04-2003, 02:16 AM
I am glad that someone decided to start such a thread on Muster. He was one of the most underrated champions of all time and unfortunately because of his accident he never really achieved according to his talent. It is possible that if not for the accident of 1989, Chang would not have won that year's French Open and inspired his generation the way he did in Sampras, Agassi, and Courier. Muster may have been there to stop it from happening, and the course of men's tennis as we know may have changed. What people do not know about Muster's accident and his knee after it was that his left leg became shorter than the other, and the rest of his body and mind had to compensate. His one French Open he achieved is literally the equivalent of 10 French Opens as far as I am concerned. He may have won slams in the other venues as well. His saga is sad but he made the most of it by working hard, achieving and in the end having no real regrets because he took care of what he could not what he could not. That is an example we all should follow. Praise to Muster!!!

Naw-T moi
03-07-2003, 05:17 PM
Any pictures of him?

How many slams did he win?

09-19-2003, 01:37 PM
Old news now, but he's back (on the senior tour at least, for now)...

from www.tennisreporters.net

They called him the "Tom-inator" and the "Moo Man". But, he was more an ox, a beast of burden. Few players seemed to be working harder when playing than Thomas Muster.

The 1995 Roland Garros champion and former No. 1 attacked points like he was an infidel storming the palace. Driven and determined, Muster stormed the great cities of Europe as the best clay court player of the mid-90s, repeatedly conquered the red dirt of the continents capitals. Between 1988 and 1994, the Austrian was the king of many cities, including Monte Carlo, Rome, Madrid, Prague, Geneva and Florence (three times). In 1995 he went on an exquisite run rarely seen in men’s tennis: a 35-match winning streak on clay that included titles in Estoril, Barcelona, Monte Carlo, Rome, the French Open and St. Poelten.

Beside a bellowed grunt and his topspin-heavy, left-handed groundstrokes, Muster was remembered for a drive and work ethic second to none. In 1989, he had won a breakthrough to the semis of Key Biscayne and was set to face the game's dominant player, Ivan Lendl. But, on that Saturday night, an unattended car rolled only a few feet, but crushed his leg. During his long recovery, Muster had a special chair designed so he could practice hitting balls before he was allowed to walk. The next year he was named ATP Comeback Player of the Year.

His retirement in 1999 coincided with a divorce from his wife, a former Australian TV personality. He undertook a total change of scenery by moving to Australia, and began to engage in more artistic pursuits like painting, photography and playing the drums.

Muster has now back in Austria, has refocused his massive energy on tennis and has signed up to play in senior tournaments in Europe. He sat down with tennisreporters.net before competing at a senior exhibition in Atlanta.

tennisreporters.net: How long has it been since you’ve played?
Thomas Muster: I haven’t touched a racket in, pretty much, three-and-a-half years I’ve been practicing for the last six months. This is a new experience for me. Six months is a pretty long time.

tr.net: Why did you put down a racket for that long?
Muster: I was’nt interested in playing anymore. I gained some weight. I felt like I had to do something. I started running again. You hit the ball if you can and I started to enjoy playing again.

tr.net: You let your weight get up to 217 and are now down to 167 pounds. How did you lose the weight?
Muster: Running about 10 miles a day. Gym work. Played tennis about five times a week.

tr.net: You were known as one of the fittest players on the tour. Is that one of the reasons you didn’t pick up a racket for a while, that you had worked so hard in your playing days?
Muster: It was probably a bit of burn. My career wasn’t an easy one. It had some ups and downs. I guess I got tired of doing what I was doing. Now I’m enjoying it again.

tr.net: You made news when you had that wheelchair built after that auto accident. It showed your determination to come back. Was your work in the last six months anything like that?
Muster: It felt a bit similar. It takes a bit of willpower to do it. In the back of your mind it’s "you don’t have to do it." So, your life doesn’t depend on playing tennis. So it comes down to pure enjoyment. You’re not doing it for money; you’re not doing it basically to survive. You’re doing it because you love doing it.

tr.net: What’s your schedule look like this year?
Muster: I’m playing a tournament in Austria in two weeks. And then I haven’t really decided. I don’t know if I’m going to stay on the senior tour [ATP Delta Tour of Champions] and play a few more events this year. I gave myself some time to hit the ball and make a decision on what I’m going to do.

tr.net: From an American point of view, it’s great to have an event here [in Atlanta]. We’ve been out of the senior business except for an event here and an event there. Do you think there’s any future in America for senior tournaments?
Muster: Oh, sure there is. You’ve got good examples of players in really high age performing well. You’ve got John McEnroe pretty playing solid tennis still. Jimmy Connors used to be a pretty good example. I think it has great potential. There’s always room to improve. I think the senior tour has got to be acknowledged. You’ve got Jim Courier playing now. Michael Stich. Boris Becker. That’s a generation that can play really good tennis. It’s always going to be you have stars and young players who are going to be an age where they want to play, but they don’t want to play a full schedule. If we get players who are 33, 34, they can play five, six years, you’ll have some really good tennis there.

tr.net: Are you guys are going to be more realistic with your fees and than other players have?
Muster: It’s not about money. Most of the guys playing don’t need the money to survive and to live. They want the challenge; they want to play in front of a crowd. That’s basically what they want. I don’t think it’s an issue. I mean the market is there but everyone is going to make a little bit. That’s fine. But, mainly, we want to play.

tr.net: We have a new Roland Garros champion, Juan Carlos Ferrero. Do you think he’s going to continue at that level?
Muster: Tennis is played at such a high level. Look at Lleyton Hewitt. It’s almost like you’ve got a two- or three-year rotations on No. 1s, because you’re playing on such a high level, year-in and year-out. You’ve got to get the breaks. The burnout factor is fairly high. You’re going to have people dominate for a while and then it’s going to change again. It’s just more competition. It’s very competitive. These guys are really good. The human body is still a human body. They’re not machines. You’re going year-in and year-out. It’s not only the tennis: You’re got to practice; you’ve got to prepare; you’ve got to rest. Media. Sponsors. You’ve got 10-, 12-hour days. It’s not sitting in an office.

tr.net: If you look at the three former No. 1 players who are here [Muster, Mats Wilander, Jim Courier] all had relatively short runs at No. 1.
Muster: It’s over; you can’t dominate the game for five to 10 years. Today it’s too competitive. Look at the women’s game. The first three or four rounds it’s easy. Then it starts: the quarterfinals. That used to be men’s tennis probably 10 or 15 years ago. Not now. You play five sets from the first round on. It’s tough.

tr.net: How about Roger Federer? Do you think he’ll have success on clay?
Muster: If someone is playing well on hard courts and on grass, then they say, "Can he play well on clay?" If they play well on clay, they say, "Can he play well on hard courts." He’s got great potential. He’s young. He’s going to have all the opportunities from a technical point of view. He could be a great player on all surfaces.

tr.net: Have you been surprised that Pete Sampras hasn’t elected to make a decision on his future?
Muster: No. He has a great career. Maybe he wants to have a year off and decide what he wants to do, instead of announcing a retirement and then starting to come back. He has all the time in the world to make a decision.

Theres a pic here: http://www.tennisreporters.net/tr.net_photos_art/MUSTER_rc_atl_03_bv.jpg

10-20-2003, 10:22 PM
french open winner in 1995... grunted after every shot but very tough competetitor.

raises a glass to muster :-)

11-21-2003, 04:43 AM
Thomas Muster has been my favorite tennis player since I watched him play Noah at the Lipton in '89. I have seven 6 hour tapes of Muster matches and they are amazing. His on-court intensity is unmatched as is his conditioning and toughness. What about the semi match that he barely made it through and needed an IV after the match for severe dehydration, only to come back the next day and win the final!! He is the man forever!!

Action Jackson
11-23-2003, 07:09 AM
Thomas Muster wasn't just one surface clown that people tried to make him out to be. No matter he will always be respected for his fierce determination and how he came back from his injury to come back to the top.

One of his funnier comments was when he was playing Richey Reneberg at the Aus Open. This guy wouldn't sit down and he was about to serve. He turned around to him, hey man sit down this is not cricket and yes the crowd loved that comment.

It was funny how he put on all that weight but I bet he was still skinnier than his best friend Horst Skoff.

01-29-2004, 06:19 PM
I love Muster, so much.

Besides my weird fascination with him... thinking he's so cute... the guy was tough. Not just because he came back from the car accident. He was by far, not the most talented player... but he fought his heart out every point.

Unfortunately, I never saw him play until 1994... so I don't know how he played for much of his early career. I wish I could find some tapes.

Thomas Muster wasn't just one surface clown that people tried to make him out to be.

Exactly. While obviously, he won the majority of his tournaments on clay... he was an all-surface player. I hated the ignorance of tennis "experts" who said he was #1 by just dominating the clay circuit. He reached 2 Aus Open SF's, a bunch of US Open QF's, and of course that great win in Essen that I'll never ever forget.

I remember crying during '97 Roland Garros... because even then, you could tell the torch was being passed. I could tell he was really struggling in his 1st round match, and then Guga got him. :sad: That day I lost my love for men's tennis.

I last got to watch Muster in person, at his 1R match vs. Berasategui at US Open.

I miss Muster... a lot. :sad:

02-04-2004, 07:21 PM
Much as I liked Muster, and certainly wouldn't have kicked him out of bed by a long stretch (might have taped his mouth), I always used to love how Stefan Edberg handled him. Muster would go out there and grunt and groand and hit is bullish lefty forehands and topspin groundies and Edberg would float into the net and cut of the angles like it was nothing.

02-04-2004, 10:36 PM
Extraordinary fighter. One of my favourite players,specially when he was on fire on clay courts. Loved the grunts too!

02-08-2004, 09:26 PM
And now, Austria's Davis Cup coach premiere!

02-08-2004, 11:24 PM
It was great when Thomas eventually won Roland Garros! :D I always loved watching him play; just had to admire his comeback from injury and his tremendous fighting spirit..

Lol @ the mention of 'his best friend Horst Skoff' - they hated each other didnt they?! :confused: ;) :lol:

Action Jackson
02-12-2004, 06:13 AM
Muster was definitely not a talented player, but that iron will to overcome the odds and the way he mauled his opponents was great.

There have been many Muster highlights like how he handed a young punk with a mullet Agassi the mother of all hidings in the Davis Cup to give the Austrians a chance at making the final.

Then his best friend Skoff manages to lose a 2 sets to love lead to Chang and they missed their chance at Davis Cuo glory.

It's good for him to be captain of the Austrian team as they will have respect for the best ever Austrian player.

02-16-2004, 10:18 AM
I thought someone said he won all the clay masters in one year which would be an incredible feat greater than winning RG in my opinion. I was looking at his title record and I don't see a Hamburg title there. Explain?

Action Jackson
02-17-2004, 04:39 AM
He didn't like the conditions playing in Hamburg, I think he enjoyed playing the warmer conditions where he could use his endurance when the heat took it out of the other players.

Just like it was very difficult for him to win in Kitzbhuel which he only won once and he never won the Vienna tournament even though he made the finals three times.

The funny thing about Kitzbhuel he mentioned that the altitude was a bit of a problem, though he never won in Gstaad either, then again he won Mexico City multiple times.

02-17-2004, 08:07 AM
Wait its cold in hamburg? I like the event in Mexico, shame its not on tv here.

Action Jackson
02-18-2004, 09:18 AM
They have a roof on the court in Hamburg now, it rains a lot in Hamburg and of course that effects the court.

05-13-2004, 10:09 PM
From the Italian Open website:

11/05/2004 - Muster wins Delta Tour final

Thomas Muster has won the Delta Tour of Champions, beating Mats Wilander 64 64 in the final. The Austrian baseliner closed out the tournament, dedicated to past champions, without dropping a set. In his round robin matches he defeated McEnroe, Camporese and Pioline. Italian star Camporese won his third place play-off match against Pat Cash. Here are the full list of Delta Tour results:

Final: Muster b. Wilander 6/4 6/4.

3rd/4th place,
Camporese b. Cash 6/4 6/4.


Red Group
Thomas Muster – 3-0 (wins-losses)
John McEnroe - 1-2
Omar Camporese - 1-2
Cedric Pioline - 1-2

Blue Group
Mats Wilander - 2-1
Pat Cash – 2-1
Petr Korda - 1-2
Paolo Canè – 1-2

So good to see Thomas back on court again!! Congrats!! :D






05-14-2004, 09:50 PM
From CBSSportsline:

Heavier Muster beats fellow former No. 1 Wilander in Italy
May 12, 2004
SportsLine.com wire reports

ROME -- Years later, Thomas Muster is still capable of grunting his way to a clay-court title.

In a matchup of former No. 1 players, Muster beat Mats Wilander 6-4, 6-4 in Tuesday's final of the Tour of Champions event. It was played at the site of the ATP Tour's Italian Open.

Muster never officially retired. But after playing his last ATP match in 1999, he opted for a more relaxed life in Australia.

"I could do what I wanted to do. I hung out with friends, and living in Australia, you sit together, you drink a few beers and you smoke," he said.

The lifestyle change, however, had an effect on Muster's weight.

After three years without tennis or running, Austria's new Davis Cup captain went from 165 to 218 pounds.

"I hadn't played in 3½ years, and I went to the doctor," he said. "The doctor told me my blood looked really awful and my cholesterol was really high and I got to do something."

Now 36, Muster made his seniors tour debut in July. The tournament in Rome marked the first time a seniors event was played alongside a regular tour event.

05-17-2004, 12:29 AM
Muster also beat McEnroe in the semis of this same tournament after being several match points down...great effort!

05-19-2004, 11:15 PM
Did he?! :) I bet he enjoyed that! ;) I always did love Thomas' fighting spirit! :D

07-08-2004, 08:00 AM
It was funny how he put on all that weight but I bet he was still skinnier than his best friend Horst Skoff.

Yeah, I read in an article somewhere that he had to lose something like 30 kilos until he could compete on the Delta tour of champions.

He was always so slender and lean, can't imagine what he would have looked like with all that extra weight..... :haha:

Anyway, I loved Muster's competitive, never-say-die attitude. Also I remember one match between him and Agassi at the USO in '96 where during changeovers he was swearing at Brad Gilbert (then Agassi's coach) and Gilbert was swearing back at him...... *sigh* I miss those days.

09-04-2004, 03:54 PM
:worship: :worship: :worship: :worship:

TOM!!!!! :banana: Always liked Tom, loved to watch him play. Even have his biography. He is Styrian like me *proudlook*, and it was a sad moment when he retired.

But now he is our daviscup captain :woohoo: so I'm very excited about his work for the Austrian Tennis Federation! :) I think he can move something there! It's already a psychological effect, Austria still LOVES him, so tennis will get more attention again. He is what Austrian tennis needed. :yippee:

09-05-2004, 10:53 AM
The only thing which is bad about the whole Thomas Muster matter is that now the other Austrians will be compared to him even more than they had been in the past. :(

I remember an interview with Stefan Koubek in Gstaad this year where they asked him about similarities between him and Tom as he had just won a match vs. Ferrero! :cuckoo: I can't stand that, they are their own persons and shouldn't be compared to anybody. :scratch:

Sorry for telling that but I had to. :)

:kiss: MissKoubek1981 (Danielle :) )

09-06-2004, 05:21 PM
Thomas was my hero back in the 1990s - I will never forget his success at Roland Garros in 1996. I actually saw him there this year, practicing with David Nalbandian prior to David's 3rd round match against Koubek. It was incredible for me to see my present-day "hero" and a former one together on the same court :) My only regret was that I didn't have my camera with me that day :sad:

Marc Rosset is Tall
09-06-2004, 05:26 PM
Yes, if you want to check out some of the great Muster interviews read the Stupid Questions thread on GM.

The guy was a true warrior and the iron will to succeed was something that will never be forgotten, sure he wasn't always the nicest, but at least he was honest.

09-06-2004, 08:23 PM
Yes, if you want to check out some of the great Muster interviews read the Stupid Questions thread on GM.

The guy was a true warrior and the iron will to succeed was something that will never be forgotten, sure he wasn't always the nicest, but at least he was honest.

Yes, definitely! He always said what he thought, that's something I found good. :) He didn't care about other people. And I think he will keep that for his work as Non-playing-captain, he won't let anybody destroy his work, at least I hope so. :)

09-26-2004, 11:27 PM
:bowdown: :worship: :bowdown: My deepest respect for the more than excellent job he did in the last two days!!!! That was perfect!! That's what has to be expected from a Daviscup-Captain!!!! Totally impressing!!! Tom still rules!!!! :worship: :bowdown: :worship:

09-26-2004, 11:28 PM
Was there ever any about Muster's credentials in the job?

09-27-2004, 06:09 AM
Don't really understand your question, Perez! Sorry. :rolleyes:

But here is another (I find great) news:


I'd love to see that! *sigh* :sad: But not all hope is gone, have to see the doc today there it will be decided if I can go to Vienna or not. *bitesnails* *praystogod*

Keep your fingers crossed for me!

MissKoubek1981 (Danielle :) )

09-27-2004, 01:28 PM
I'd love to see that! *sigh* :sad: But not all hope is gone, have to see the doc today there it will be decided if I can go to Vienna or not. *bitesnails* *praystogod*

Now I quote myself *lol*. I have mentioned it in the BA-CA-Trophy Thread as well, but I will do it here also. No tennis tournament with Danielle. :sad: :sad: :sad: :bigcry: :bigcry: :hysteric: :hysteric: I am not allowed to go there. Blame my damned heart for that. *grrrrr*

Now I am sitting here with an almost 300 euros expensive week ticket and can't go there. E-bay also doesn't work here, so I can't sell it at the moment. I know some people in Vienna, so perhaps they know somebody who could need it. Hopefully. :sad: :sad: :sad:

09-29-2004, 07:18 AM
Now I am sitting here with an almost 300 euros expensive week ticket and can't go there. E-bay also doesn't work here, so I can't sell it at the moment. I know some people in Vienna, so perhaps they know somebody who could need it. Hopefully. :sad: :sad: :sad:

Bad luck about not going to Vienna, maybe you will be able to go next year. I think there would be some people that would be willing to see the tennis. Unfortunately I can't do it myself.

09-29-2004, 07:42 AM
Bad luck about not going to Vienna, maybe you will be able to go next year. I think there would be some people that would be willing to see the tennis. Unfortunately I can't do it myself.

Thank you! I hope so! I think of going to Kitzbühel next year, would be a much more better season!! :)

Action Jackson
11-26-2004, 02:09 AM
Muster captains Davis Cup like how he plays and I am looking forward to seeing him next year.

11-26-2004, 05:39 AM
I posted in here.

I miss Tommy. I love him.

I'll bust in my crappy tape of the '95 RG final. I miss that grunt. I miss the crazy bastard.

11-26-2004, 01:56 PM
I like Thomas a lot too, although Goran was always my main favourite at that time. I remember that win he had over Pete indoors in Germany. Pete didn't have a bad day that day, Thomas just played a brilliant match and kept hitting forehand passing shots down the line time after time if I remember right.

He reached the semis at the Australian before the car crash so who knows what else he might have done away from clay if he had not had to take the time off and his leg hadn't been so badly injured. He was always thought of as a clay expert (and he definitely was an expert) but I always thought that he only played on clay as often as he could during the year because it put less pressure on the leg and was easier for him to play on? It certainly would have terrible if he had never won at least one French Open because he was arguably the best clay courter of the 1990s (even though Courier and Bruguera won the French twice).

What happened to Thomas in 1997 though? He got to the semis in Australian Open and Indian Wells, won Dubai and won Key Biscayne. He was like 29-8 on hard but 9-9 on clay and only made one clay QF (St Polten). He then got to the final on hard in Cincinatti. I can't remember if he was injured or not during the clay season but he was losing on clay to people like Draper and Rafter and Arazi beat him 2 and 1. He then lost 6-4 in the 5th to Guga at RG. I know Guga just had one of the most amazing GS runs there, but I thought Thomas would have got through that one. It's was a totally weird year for him.

Action Jackson
11-27-2004, 12:52 AM
Muster well because of his leg, he could only play a certain amount of time on hardcourts.

As for 1997 he was so sick of the crap that he could only play on clay, that he with coach and manager Leitgeb decided to change his game on the hardcourts and he was so successful, that it left him a bit of a funk during the claycourt season of that year. I mean in 95 and 96 when he was hounding out the pain on the clay, he was brilliant, but once it hit that point, he wasn't the same.

The Guga/Muster match was brilliant, and the right guy won that match, and there you could see something special about Guga and that Muster's time was passing.

He hated playing serve/volleyers even on clay well he lost to Edberg 10-0 and had chances to beat him, but could never do it. Rafter and Sampras had the better of him, and that was the same for Stich. He prefered to wear his opponents down and didn't like being rushed.

Leena, if you can ever get a hold of the hiding that Muster gave Agassi in the 90 Davis Cup semi that would just reinvigorate the Muster love for you.

11-28-2004, 06:43 AM
I'd LOVE to have tapes of any old Muster matches. If you can tell me anywhere I can find them, I'd gladly appreciate it. :) The earliest I probably saw Muster was the '92 Monte Carlo final... because I recall him playing Krickstien, kicking the shit out of him, and I wanted him to shut up. I also really hated Monica in those days. Memories.

That Guga '97 RG loss really was a passing of the torch. Muster didn't play badly, but in the 5th set especially... when Guga really played well, I knew Tommy wasn't King of the Clay any longer. :sad:. Then, my warped dad recorded porn over half of that tape, in a story I'm sure nobody wants to hear. Although, he only replaced Norman beating Sampras that same day. Ah... those lovely days of watching Pete suck up the early round coverage while struggling in boring 5-setters against mediocre clay courters.

I have a question about '97 US Open, though. Muster's 1st round match against Henman, it started late so it wasn't televised here. But, I recall Muster chasing Henman around the court for some reason. What happened?

Action Jackson
11-28-2004, 06:45 AM

Iron Man forges a new life

Thomas Muster may be better known for his exploits off-court than on it, but his comeback from tennis oblivion can change all that, writes Barry Flatman

THE Iron Man — that’s what they used to call Austria’s Thomas Muster on the tennis circuit. He didn’t like playing on grass — he never got beyond the first round at Wimbledon in his four visits — but on the red clay of Europe the left-hander proved one of the most physically committed competitors ever to play the game. His training regime was legendary; it is doubtful whether a fitter player ever walked on court.
The highlight of his career was the 1995 French Open title, a final win over Michael Chang topping a 40-match winning streak. All told, Muster won 12 singles titles that year, and early in 1996 he spent six weeks as the world’s top-ranked player before being unseated by Pete Sampras.

All the more remarkable since six years earlier he had been struck by a drunk driver in Miami, the crash severing ligaments in his left knee.

“After that accident, tennis and being the fittest man out there became my obsession,” he says. “I enjoyed knowing the guy at the other end of the court was intimidated by my reputation. It felt good. You become totally driven by the desire for success.”

Yet Muster became best known in Britain not for his tennis but for his alleged adventures with Sarah Ferguson. Back in London this week to join 11 other former champions at the Masters event, the Austrian said: “It will be nice to arrive at Heathrow without a pack of paparazzi waiting to shadow my every move.” Muster, who has always refused to discuss his relationship with the Duchess of York, says: “They were certainly tricky times. You wouldn’t believe some of the things that went on. But though I never won a match at Wimbledon, I achieved something that the guys who won the title never managed. I featured in a story on the front page of the British tabloid newspapers without ever appearing on the back.”

Rumours of Muster’s relationship with Fergie began nearly eight years ago, when she attended the Qatar Open in Doha, and escalated when she and the tennis tour both arrived simultaneously in Miami. That summer, she further excited the media by watching Muster at the Stella Artois championships at Queen’s. His mother, Inge, was quoted as saying he was “smitten”.

With a mischievous tone to his voice, he says: “There were reasons I didn’t play that many matches in England. Perhaps the fact that grass did not really suit my style of play was one of them.”

Then, three years after he hit his peak, he dropped off the tour, emigrating to Australia. Days were spent flying helicopters along Queensland’s Sunshine Coast; evenings were spent with beers and cigarettes. His only exercise was striking a golf ball. He gained nearly 4st.

“For three months I did not touch a racket,” he says. “Then I realised I was done with the game, so I threw everything in the bin: rackets, shoes, shirts, shorts. I didn’t want to know about it, I didn’t care who was winning. Tennis had ruled my existence. Now it was gone and I didn’t care that I got out of shape.”

But six years on, Muster suddenly needed the sport again. His marriage had failed, he had returned to Austria and the senior tour was looking for younger players to augment the likes of John McEnroe. It seemed a perfect scenario, but for one big problem: the Iron Man had turned to flab.

“I tried to run and found myself being overtaken by old ladies,” he says. “I knew the only answer was hard work. I knew I was capable of sticking to a task, so back came the old habits. I worked out every day and recaptured my determination.”

Muster is once again totally engrossed in tennis. This year he became captain of the Austrian Davis Cup team that consigned Britain back to the Euro/African Zone. He revels, too, in the senior tour, taking on the likes of Jim Courier, Boris Becker, Michael Stich, Pat Cash and Mats Wilander.

He took the year’s first senior title on the clay of Rome’s Foro Italico, and became the first player to qualify for the official Tour of Champions Masters tournament this week at the Royal Albert Hall.

Whether Muster’s most famous former fan makes the trip to Kensington to watch him can only be a matter for speculation. As ever, he is silent on the subject.

Action Jackson
11-28-2004, 06:52 AM
Leena, I would love to help you out with the Muster tapes, but sadly most of mine are in Norway and I am not there now.

The only ones that are where I am at the moments are highlights from the ATP tour where he was winning everything in 95 and 96 and Simon Reed came out with these lines and I think he quite liked him under all those comments.

The incident with Henman was more in jest actually as Thomas and Tim get along quite well or they used to it at least.

Here is the press conference.

Q. There seems to be quite a good spirit, Thomas, on the court between you and--

THOMAS MUSTER: Well, we get along very well. I mean, I think he is a very nice guy and also, I mean, his coach has just been voted onto the board and we are just, Tim and myself, are on the ATP constantly, so we have quite a few things to do together. He is a good spirit and he is good for the game, I think.

Q. Have you ever chased anybody off the court before?

THOMAS MUSTER: That was more like fun. Well, that just -- you know, situation that is happen on the court and I just a bit of fun too, sometimes.

Q. Would you have done the same thing last year or is it something this year that are lighthearted?

THOMAS MUSTER: That was the only thing I was looking forward to the beginning of the year, just to be like that at the Open. (laughter).

11-29-2004, 05:34 PM
I loved these articles GWH - thanks for posting. And as for Sarah Ferguson :devil: - if our Thomas still likes English women I know someone more than happy to oblige ;)

11-30-2004, 01:10 AM
It was weird seeing Muster being lighthearted. He was always so serious.

Action Jackson
11-30-2004, 01:19 AM
It was weird seeing Muster being lighthearted. He was always so serious.

Actually that is one thing about Muster he is actually a very funny guy, but that wouldn't be known from what he presented to the press.

Action Jackson
12-07-2004, 09:32 AM

Statesmanship of Muster craftsman

By Ronald Atkin, Tennis Correspondent
05 December 2004

You could hardly call Thomas Muster a regular on the London scene. In a tennis career spanning 15 years the Austrian left-hander opted to play Wimbledon only four times, and never once walked off the lawns of SW19 a winner. So Thomas has been enjoying his involvement with the Masters tournament at the Albert Hall, marching through to this afternoon's final, enjoying incognito runs in Hyde Park and indulging in a spot of sightseeing.

Muster has, though, caused a stir or two in the old town. In 1996, the year when he rose to world No 1, he turned up at the Stella Artois tournament at Queen's Club, and it needed all Stefan Edberg's grass-court skills to keep him from a place in the final.

However, he made bigger headlines, and on the front pages, too, over his friendship with Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York. As he puts it: "I achieved something that the guys who actually won Wimbledon never managed. I featured in stories on the front pages of British newspapers without ever appearing on the back."

Now, after tiptoeing away from tennis in 1999, abandoning Monte Carlo for Queensland and immersing himself so thoroughly in the Aussie lifestyle that he piled on nearly four stones in extra weight, Muster is back in Austria, a failed marriage behind him, captaining his country's Davis Cup team, heading an ambitious development programme for juniors and making a big impact on the senior circuit, the Delta Tour of Champions. Muster had intended to take up a two-year contract as Davis Cup captain in time for the 2005 competition, but when the incumbent, Gunther Bresnik, resigned in the wake of a 5-0 defeat by the United States in February, the man who won 36 of his 44 Cup singles agreed to step in early, and led the squad to victory in the World Group play-off against Britain in Portschach at the end of September. With his 37th birthday coming up a week later, the Iron Man resisted all sentimental calls to form part of the Austrian doubles team.

The Iron Man description prompted a small smile as Muster relaxed in the players' lounge at the Albert Hall. Opponents, he said, were always so preoccupied with his super-fit reputation that they underestimated his racket skills.

"Everyone kept saying I was so fit, but you don't win the French Open and get to No 1 if all you have is fitness. I used that to my advantage. A lot of people said, 'How can I lose to this guy? He can only run'. But I have won tournaments indoors, played all right on grass at Queen's and done pretty well on hard courts."

That said, all but four of his 44 tournament wins came on clay, where he was for a time simply invulnerable. The highlight, his lone Grand Slam victory in the 1995 French Open, climaxed a run of 40 successive wins on clay.

As someone who set up residence in Monte Carlo at the age of 18 in order to get regular practice there against the then superior talents of Bjorn Borg, Boris Becker and Mats Wilander, Muster found his finely honed condition an ally following a horrendous accident on the first day of April 1989.

Having just reached the final of the Miami tournament, Thomas was unloading his tennis bag from a courtesy-car boot when the vehicle was slammed into by a drunk driver. Doctors told him the severed knee ligaments he suffered would keep him out for a year, but he was back five-and-a-half months later. "It's incredible what the mind and body can do," he said. "But I don't think I could do it today."

Muster's single-mindedness was also evident in his decision, at the start of 1999, to retire at the French Open. "But I didn't tell anyone because I didn't want ceremonies everywhere I played. I didn't want to be asked at every tournament why I was quitting and what I was going to do. So I just walked away after losing to [Nicolas] Lapentti in the first round at Roland Garros.

"When I started my career there was no one there and when I stopped no one was there, either. It was my favourite tournament and I knew it was my last match. Those are big moments, and I didn't feel like sharing them with anyone else."

Three months later, having decided he did not fancy a return, Muster threw away all his tennis gear. "I had no further interest." He headed for the good life in the Queensland resort of Noosa Heads, where he had bought property six years earlier. He got married, fathered a son, showed off his pilot's licence in two helicopters he had acquired, drank beer, sat around and watched his weight soar from 11st 10lb to 14st 7 lb. "I didn't really care," he said. "I didn't want to exercise, because that was what I had done all my life. When I decided to get fit again it took me six months to get all that extra weight off."

Now, with his decision to boost the quality of the seniors' circuit, the fitness lifestyle has been reclaimed. Having collected in excess of $12m (£6.2m) in prize money alone, Muster can afford his gesture of working for nothing as Davis Cup captain and also donating his time to develop the Austrian junior programme at a new centre in Graz, where he now lives. The helicopters, however, have been sold. Flying around is confined to the tennis court again these days.

12-07-2004, 02:18 PM
Thanks for the article. :)

12-07-2004, 06:24 PM
Yay, Tommy. :)

It's cute how he got fat. :p

Now, slap around the Austrian team and make them work like you did. :)

12-08-2004, 05:31 PM
Muster is great :worship:

His accent is soo funny, I have never heard Australian and Austrian mixed together before :p

12-08-2004, 08:59 PM
I recall Muster saying lots of funny, sarcastic things about the '96 US Open seeding disaster, but I can't remember what he said.

Action Jackson
12-09-2004, 02:58 AM
I recall Muster saying lots of funny, sarcastic things about the '96 US Open seeding disaster, but I can't remember what he said.

Muster was one of the funniest guys on tour and it's all in the silly interview thread on GM.

01-10-2005, 03:11 PM
I remember seeing the RG final when I was 6 years old. My father was a huge fan of Muster in that time, because he was an Austrian, like we. That final was the first tennis match I saw and I remember that I loved it. In my childhood I only watched matches on clay, maybe because Muster was at his best at this surface.

After several years without tennis, I started watching it again a couple of month I ago. But now I love grass and hardcourt by far more than clay. I think that has a lot to do with Federer, because he is unlike Muster at his best on these surfaces.

08-22-2005, 01:48 PM
Thomas Muster Pictures from the Senior Tour - at Rome 2005



09-18-2005, 08:55 PM
Found this pucture of Thomas playing drums at a party earlier this year :)

09-20-2005, 09:38 AM
Thanks for the pic Rosie. :) Courier doesn't seem to enjoy what he's doing... :confused: