Q and A with Thomas Muster - Page 3 - MensTennisForums.com

MensTennisForums.com

MenstennisForums.com is the premier Men's Tennis forum on the internet. Registered Users do not see the above ads.Please Register - It's Free!

Reply

Old 04-15-2006, 03:58 PM   #31
country flag Action Jackson
Forum Umpire:
Gaston Gaudio
 
Action Jackson's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 124,447
Action Jackson has a reputation beyond reputeAction Jackson has a reputation beyond reputeAction Jackson has a reputation beyond reputeAction Jackson has a reputation beyond reputeAction Jackson has a reputation beyond reputeAction Jackson has a reputation beyond reputeAction Jackson has a reputation beyond reputeAction Jackson has a reputation beyond reputeAction Jackson has a reputation beyond reputeAction Jackson has a reputation beyond reputeAction Jackson has a reputation beyond repute
Default Re: Thomas Muster Q & A : On Andy Murray, Clay vs Grass and his comeback.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Raquel
Is it any surprise though that RG meant a lot more to Muster than Wimbledon? He had a chance at RG to win the event. At Wimbledon, especially in the 1990s, he had no chance to win it, and knew it. Obviously he'd put a lot more importance on the big event he could actually win?
No, it's not and did you miss the point I was trying to make?
__________________
On Nadal bumping him on the changeover, Rosol said: "It's ok, he wanted to take my concentration; I knew he would try something".


Wilander on Dimitrov - "He has mind set on imitating Federer and yes it looks good. But he has no idea what to do on the court".

Quote:
Originally Posted by Filo V. View Post
I definitely would have preferred Gaba winning as he needs the points much more, but Jan would have beaten him anyway. I expect Hajek to destroy Machado, like 6-1 6-2.
Machado wins 6-2 6-1
Action Jackson is offline View My Blog!   Reply With Quote
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 

Old 04-15-2006, 04:04 PM   #32
country flag Raquel
Registered User
 
Raquel's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2002
Posts: 5,559
Raquel has a reputation beyond reputeRaquel has a reputation beyond reputeRaquel has a reputation beyond reputeRaquel has a reputation beyond reputeRaquel has a reputation beyond reputeRaquel has a reputation beyond reputeRaquel has a reputation beyond reputeRaquel has a reputation beyond reputeRaquel has a reputation beyond reputeRaquel has a reputation beyond reputeRaquel has a reputation beyond repute
Default Re: Thomas Muster Q & A : On Andy Murray, Clay vs Grass and his comeback.

Quote:
Originally Posted by GeorgeWHitler
No, it's not and did you miss the point I was trying to make?
About the purists? The purists need to get over the fact Wimbledon is not the be all and end all and if people regard RG as more important to them, then what's the big deal? I love Wimbledon but love RG too. It's great we have that variety.
__________________
Proud Passenger on the Federer Express
Come on Muzza!
Vamos Juan Carlos Ferrero - keep battling JC!
C'mon Lleyton!
HoPp FuNkY Flo!
Raquel is offline View My Blog!   Reply With Quote
Old 04-15-2006, 04:12 PM   #33
country flag Action Jackson
Forum Umpire:
Gaston Gaudio
 
Action Jackson's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 124,447
Action Jackson has a reputation beyond reputeAction Jackson has a reputation beyond reputeAction Jackson has a reputation beyond reputeAction Jackson has a reputation beyond reputeAction Jackson has a reputation beyond reputeAction Jackson has a reputation beyond reputeAction Jackson has a reputation beyond reputeAction Jackson has a reputation beyond reputeAction Jackson has a reputation beyond reputeAction Jackson has a reputation beyond reputeAction Jackson has a reputation beyond repute
Default Re: Thomas Muster Q & A : On Andy Murray, Clay vs Grass and his comeback.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Raquel
About the purists? The purists need to get over the fact Wimbledon is not the be all and end all and if people regard RG as more important to them, then what's the big deal? I love Wimbledon but love RG too. It's great we have that variety.
You got the basic point then, it's sacriledge to some people that certain players don't give a monkeys about Wimbledon and are seen as inferior cause of this.

Another thing is Muster could only play a limited time on hardcourts cause of his knee and the hip gave way.

I loved the way he retired from the game.
__________________
On Nadal bumping him on the changeover, Rosol said: "It's ok, he wanted to take my concentration; I knew he would try something".


Wilander on Dimitrov - "He has mind set on imitating Federer and yes it looks good. But he has no idea what to do on the court".

Quote:
Originally Posted by Filo V. View Post
I definitely would have preferred Gaba winning as he needs the points much more, but Jan would have beaten him anyway. I expect Hajek to destroy Machado, like 6-1 6-2.
Machado wins 6-2 6-1
Action Jackson is offline View My Blog!   Reply With Quote
Old 04-15-2006, 04:30 PM   #34
country flag Raquel
Registered User
 
Raquel's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2002
Posts: 5,559
Raquel has a reputation beyond reputeRaquel has a reputation beyond reputeRaquel has a reputation beyond reputeRaquel has a reputation beyond reputeRaquel has a reputation beyond reputeRaquel has a reputation beyond reputeRaquel has a reputation beyond reputeRaquel has a reputation beyond reputeRaquel has a reputation beyond reputeRaquel has a reputation beyond reputeRaquel has a reputation beyond repute
Default Re: Thomas Muster Q & A : On Andy Murray, Clay vs Grass and his comeback.

Quote:
Originally Posted by GeorgeWHitler
You got the basic point then, it's sacriledge to some people that certain players don't give a monkeys about Wimbledon and are seen as inferior cause of this.

Another thing is Muster could only play a limited time on hardcourts cause of his knee and the hip gave way.

I loved the way he retired from the game.
The players who don't care about Wimbledon are better of not going than giving a half hearted effort. I think though a lot of the players who are more associated with playing their best on clay needn't avoid Wimbledon due purely to grass these days. I know some people disagree with the way it's been slowed down since the days of Sampras and Goran's ace fests but it's definitely levelled the playing field slightly. I saw a few great matches last year from Coria, Ferrero, Gonzalez etc. - players with a similar style to players in the past who might have given Wimbledon a miss - and they handled grass fine. You'll always get the odd ace fest, and players like Roddick and Ancic getting lots of free points, but I don't think the grass is that much different from the hardcourts now.

Muster just gets so much respect. The way he recovered from the car accident is surprisingly often forgotten and not mentioned.
__________________
Proud Passenger on the Federer Express
Come on Muzza!
Vamos Juan Carlos Ferrero - keep battling JC!
C'mon Lleyton!
HoPp FuNkY Flo!
Raquel is offline View My Blog!   Reply With Quote
Old 04-15-2006, 04:38 PM   #35
country flag Action Jackson
Forum Umpire:
Gaston Gaudio
 
Action Jackson's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 124,447
Action Jackson has a reputation beyond reputeAction Jackson has a reputation beyond reputeAction Jackson has a reputation beyond reputeAction Jackson has a reputation beyond reputeAction Jackson has a reputation beyond reputeAction Jackson has a reputation beyond reputeAction Jackson has a reputation beyond reputeAction Jackson has a reputation beyond reputeAction Jackson has a reputation beyond reputeAction Jackson has a reputation beyond reputeAction Jackson has a reputation beyond repute
Default Re: Thomas Muster Q & A : On Andy Murray, Clay vs Grass and his comeback.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Raquel
The players who don't care about Wimbledon are better of not going than giving a half hearted effort. I think though a lot of the players who are more associated with playing their best on clay needn't avoid Wimbledon due purely to grass these days.
That's the thing I remember the old days when there ATP clay events up to the Sunday before Wimbeldon. Then these guys turned up and didn't give a crap, it seems some want to see that.

Quote:
I know some people disagree with the way it's been slowed down since the days of Sampras and Goran's ace fests but it's definitely levelled the playing field slightly. I saw a few great matches last year from Coria, Ferrero, Gonzalez etc. - players with a similar style to players in the past who might have given Wimbledon a miss - and they handled grass fine. You'll always get the odd ace fest, and players like Roddick and Ancic getting lots of free points, but I don't think the grass is that much different from the hardcourts now.
I can see why they are pissed off that it was slowed down, at the same time it has made it more watchable and those lovely ace-a-thons were great quality especially for TV.

Then as a contrast to that they quickened the clay courts which is a good and bad thing as well.

Quote:
Muster just gets so much respect. The way he recovered from the car accident is surprisingly often forgotten and not mentioned.
The guy was an arsehole, but one I respect for sure. He has a lot to say and doesn't hold back.
__________________
On Nadal bumping him on the changeover, Rosol said: "It's ok, he wanted to take my concentration; I knew he would try something".


Wilander on Dimitrov - "He has mind set on imitating Federer and yes it looks good. But he has no idea what to do on the court".

Quote:
Originally Posted by Filo V. View Post
I definitely would have preferred Gaba winning as he needs the points much more, but Jan would have beaten him anyway. I expect Hajek to destroy Machado, like 6-1 6-2.
Machado wins 6-2 6-1
Action Jackson is offline View My Blog!   Reply With Quote
Old 08-20-2006, 04:07 AM   #36
country flag Action Jackson
Forum Umpire:
Gaston Gaudio
 
Action Jackson's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 124,447
Action Jackson has a reputation beyond reputeAction Jackson has a reputation beyond reputeAction Jackson has a reputation beyond reputeAction Jackson has a reputation beyond reputeAction Jackson has a reputation beyond reputeAction Jackson has a reputation beyond reputeAction Jackson has a reputation beyond reputeAction Jackson has a reputation beyond reputeAction Jackson has a reputation beyond reputeAction Jackson has a reputation beyond reputeAction Jackson has a reputation beyond repute
Default Re: Thomas Muster Q & A : On Andy Murray, Clay vs Grass and his comeback.

Quote:
Andy Murray? Who is he? (laughs). I've only seen a few matches of his - he's playing reasonably well but time will tell how his skills improve. There is certainly a lot to improve in his game but he is a young guy, he has good determination, but Britain is a bit like Austria and Germany - you tend to push people to the skies when they have not really done anything, and then when they are down you step and spit on them! I would advise you to keep a neutral position.
As much as I don't like Murray, but what Muster is saying here is true. I mean he beats Federer once and just look how this place reacts, it's the same for a lot of people. Hero to zero in a very short time.

Quote:
He can do very well on hard courts and grass and he grew up on clay, but I think he has developed a game which is better suited to hard courts. If I was his coach I would move him in the grass, hard court and indoor direction - he has a really good serve but a lot of players have that. There's a big difference between having a good game and being consistent, so I would not predict him to win the French Open at the moment!
I love it, one of Muster's most disliked opponents on tour is now Murray's coach and with Gilbert, there is no way Murray is getting better on clay.
__________________
On Nadal bumping him on the changeover, Rosol said: "It's ok, he wanted to take my concentration; I knew he would try something".


Wilander on Dimitrov - "He has mind set on imitating Federer and yes it looks good. But he has no idea what to do on the court".

Quote:
Originally Posted by Filo V. View Post
I definitely would have preferred Gaba winning as he needs the points much more, but Jan would have beaten him anyway. I expect Hajek to destroy Machado, like 6-1 6-2.
Machado wins 6-2 6-1
Action Jackson is offline View My Blog!   Reply With Quote
Old 08-20-2006, 04:14 AM   #37
country flag Merton
Registered User
 
Merton's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 9,760
Merton has a reputation beyond reputeMerton has a reputation beyond reputeMerton has a reputation beyond reputeMerton has a reputation beyond reputeMerton has a reputation beyond reputeMerton has a reputation beyond reputeMerton has a reputation beyond reputeMerton has a reputation beyond reputeMerton has a reputation beyond reputeMerton has a reputation beyond reputeMerton has a reputation beyond repute
Default Re: Thomas Muster Q & A : On Andy Murray, Clay vs Grass and his comeback.

After Brad Gilbert gets invited to the Vatican to consult the Pope, he will lead Murray to 8 consecutive RG titles.
__________________
Salvor Hardin: "Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent"

From Isaac Asimov's "Foundation".
Merton is offline View My Blog!   Reply With Quote
Old 08-20-2006, 04:19 AM   #38
country flag Action Jackson
Forum Umpire:
Gaston Gaudio
 
Action Jackson's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 124,447
Action Jackson has a reputation beyond reputeAction Jackson has a reputation beyond reputeAction Jackson has a reputation beyond reputeAction Jackson has a reputation beyond reputeAction Jackson has a reputation beyond reputeAction Jackson has a reputation beyond reputeAction Jackson has a reputation beyond reputeAction Jackson has a reputation beyond reputeAction Jackson has a reputation beyond reputeAction Jackson has a reputation beyond reputeAction Jackson has a reputation beyond repute
Default Re: Thomas Muster Q & A : On Andy Murray, Clay vs Grass and his comeback.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Merton
After Brad Gilbert gets invited to the Vatican to consult the Pope, he will lead Murray to 8 consecutive RG titles.
A Jewish guy get invited to Vatican, he has done well for sure.

Some comments from Muster about Gilbert.

Q. It didn't seem like you two liked each other on the court. Was that just a perception or did that seem...

THOMAS MUSTER: Just have to read Brad Gilbert's book then you know everything. You need to read his book, then you know everything.

Q. What do you mean by that, what parts of his book?

THOMAS MUSTER: Well, just certain parts.

Q. Something he said about you?

THOMAS MUSTER: No. No. I just -- in particular, I mean, he is a kind of person I don't like and not many people like, so it doesn't matter.
__________________
On Nadal bumping him on the changeover, Rosol said: "It's ok, he wanted to take my concentration; I knew he would try something".


Wilander on Dimitrov - "He has mind set on imitating Federer and yes it looks good. But he has no idea what to do on the court".

Quote:
Originally Posted by Filo V. View Post
I definitely would have preferred Gaba winning as he needs the points much more, but Jan would have beaten him anyway. I expect Hajek to destroy Machado, like 6-1 6-2.
Machado wins 6-2 6-1
Action Jackson is offline View My Blog!   Reply With Quote
Old 08-20-2006, 04:25 AM   #39
country flag Merton
Registered User
 
Merton's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 9,760
Merton has a reputation beyond reputeMerton has a reputation beyond reputeMerton has a reputation beyond reputeMerton has a reputation beyond reputeMerton has a reputation beyond reputeMerton has a reputation beyond reputeMerton has a reputation beyond reputeMerton has a reputation beyond reputeMerton has a reputation beyond reputeMerton has a reputation beyond reputeMerton has a reputation beyond repute
Default Re: Thomas Muster Q & A : On Andy Murray, Clay vs Grass and his comeback.

I am not surprised at all, Muster was quite direct, so the know-it-all style of Brad would not be well met.
__________________
Salvor Hardin: "Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent"

From Isaac Asimov's "Foundation".
Merton is offline View My Blog!   Reply With Quote
Old 08-20-2006, 04:28 AM   #40
country flag Action Jackson
Forum Umpire:
Gaston Gaudio
 
Action Jackson's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 124,447
Action Jackson has a reputation beyond reputeAction Jackson has a reputation beyond reputeAction Jackson has a reputation beyond reputeAction Jackson has a reputation beyond reputeAction Jackson has a reputation beyond reputeAction Jackson has a reputation beyond reputeAction Jackson has a reputation beyond reputeAction Jackson has a reputation beyond reputeAction Jackson has a reputation beyond reputeAction Jackson has a reputation beyond reputeAction Jackson has a reputation beyond repute
Default Re: Thomas Muster Q & A : On Andy Murray, Clay vs Grass and his comeback.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Merton
I am not surprised at all, Muster was quite direct, so the know-it-all style of Brad would not be well met.
This one is great as well.

Q. You want to talk about that about what he said (inaudible)?

THOMAS MUSTER: No, not really. Brad Gilbert keeps talking all day long anyway. He is like a radio, like, you know, nothing much talking because you don't even need a review of your play because he is going to comment on it I anyway. You just need to be in there.

Apart from playing on the seniors tour, he has his own clothing line as well.
__________________
On Nadal bumping him on the changeover, Rosol said: "It's ok, he wanted to take my concentration; I knew he would try something".


Wilander on Dimitrov - "He has mind set on imitating Federer and yes it looks good. But he has no idea what to do on the court".

Quote:
Originally Posted by Filo V. View Post
I definitely would have preferred Gaba winning as he needs the points much more, but Jan would have beaten him anyway. I expect Hajek to destroy Machado, like 6-1 6-2.
Machado wins 6-2 6-1
Action Jackson is offline View My Blog!   Reply With Quote
Old 01-31-2007, 11:14 AM   #41
country flag Action Jackson
Forum Umpire:
Gaston Gaudio
 
Action Jackson's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 124,447
Action Jackson has a reputation beyond reputeAction Jackson has a reputation beyond reputeAction Jackson has a reputation beyond reputeAction Jackson has a reputation beyond reputeAction Jackson has a reputation beyond reputeAction Jackson has a reputation beyond reputeAction Jackson has a reputation beyond reputeAction Jackson has a reputation beyond reputeAction Jackson has a reputation beyond reputeAction Jackson has a reputation beyond reputeAction Jackson has a reputation beyond repute
Default Re: Thomas Muster Q & A : On Andy Murray, Clay vs Grass and his comeback.

Muster and his winery.





He isn't Davis Cup captain anymore.
__________________
On Nadal bumping him on the changeover, Rosol said: "It's ok, he wanted to take my concentration; I knew he would try something".


Wilander on Dimitrov - "He has mind set on imitating Federer and yes it looks good. But he has no idea what to do on the court".

Quote:
Originally Posted by Filo V. View Post
I definitely would have preferred Gaba winning as he needs the points much more, but Jan would have beaten him anyway. I expect Hajek to destroy Machado, like 6-1 6-2.
Machado wins 6-2 6-1
Action Jackson is offline View My Blog!   Reply With Quote
Old 05-21-2008, 11:42 AM   #42
country flag Action Jackson
Forum Umpire:
Gaston Gaudio
 
Action Jackson's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 124,447
Action Jackson has a reputation beyond reputeAction Jackson has a reputation beyond reputeAction Jackson has a reputation beyond reputeAction Jackson has a reputation beyond reputeAction Jackson has a reputation beyond reputeAction Jackson has a reputation beyond reputeAction Jackson has a reputation beyond reputeAction Jackson has a reputation beyond reputeAction Jackson has a reputation beyond reputeAction Jackson has a reputation beyond reputeAction Jackson has a reputation beyond repute
Default Re: Q and A with Thomas Muster

He was spot on about Murray.

http://findarticles.com/p/articles/m...n12764259/pg_1

Tennis: Statesmanship of Muster craftsman

Independent on Sunday, The, Dec 5, 2004 by RONALD ATKIN Tennis Correspondent

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 the semi-finals, 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 heli-copters 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 (pounds 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.
__________________
On Nadal bumping him on the changeover, Rosol said: "It's ok, he wanted to take my concentration; I knew he would try something".


Wilander on Dimitrov - "He has mind set on imitating Federer and yes it looks good. But he has no idea what to do on the court".

Quote:
Originally Posted by Filo V. View Post
I definitely would have preferred Gaba winning as he needs the points much more, but Jan would have beaten him anyway. I expect Hajek to destroy Machado, like 6-1 6-2.
Machado wins 6-2 6-1
Action Jackson is offline View My Blog!   Reply With Quote
Old 05-21-2008, 11:44 AM   #43
country flag Action Jackson
Forum Umpire:
Gaston Gaudio
 
Action Jackson's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 124,447
Action Jackson has a reputation beyond reputeAction Jackson has a reputation beyond reputeAction Jackson has a reputation beyond reputeAction Jackson has a reputation beyond reputeAction Jackson has a reputation beyond reputeAction Jackson has a reputation beyond reputeAction Jackson has a reputation beyond reputeAction Jackson has a reputation beyond reputeAction Jackson has a reputation beyond reputeAction Jackson has a reputation beyond reputeAction Jackson has a reputation beyond repute
Default Re: Q and A with Thomas Muster

http://findarticles.com/p/articles/m...13986483/print

Muster's grand ambition

SIMON O'HAGAN

FOR someone who, in the words of his coach, "would basically love to be lazy", Thomas Muster has a funny way of showing it. As the Frenchman Cedric Pioline said here after losing to him in the second round of the French Open, "Thomas is so aggressive you never get a chance to sort out your own game."

Muster once compared himself with an animal, and there is a lot of that in his raw power and the relentless way he hunts down his prey and strangles the life out of it. Roland Garros may, superficially, be the most refined of the Grand Slam tournaments, but in reality it's a jungle out there - and as he goes into his fourth-round match against Andrei Medvedev today, nobody is looking more leonine than the 27-year-old Austrian with the most singular career history of any player on the men's circuit.

In Britain, Muster means little, having made first-round exits in all four of his Wimbledon appearances. But on clay he at present has no equal. Since the season began in Mexico City in February, Muster has won five successive tournaments on the surface, and with his three wins so far in Paris has taken the number of clay-court matches he has won on the trot to 31.

Whether Muster can make it six titles in a row here is another matter. He is in the tougher half of the draw, which, if he gets past Medvedev, gives him prospective matches against a resurgent Jim Courier in the quarter- finals and Andre Agassi in the semis, before a possible meeting with Sergi Bruguera in the final - although it is a measure of Muster's form that he beat the mighty Spaniard in the final of the Italian Open last month.

Then there is Muster's record of never having won a Grand Slam title. In this he is the second most successful player without such a prize since tennis went Open in 1968. Tom Okker won 31 titles but never got closer to a Grand Slam victory than when he was runner-up in the 1968 US Open. Muster has 28 titles - 27 on clay - but has a mere two semi-finals to show for 26 Grand Slams, in Australia in 1989 and France in 1990. But for all that is still in his way, this year in Paris may be his best chance ever of joining the elite.

If he were to, it would be just reward for a man who has taken more than his fair share of battering, both physically and mentally, starting even before the car accident in 1989 which would have ended the careers of weaker men. So resolutely did Muster respond that he became one of the most respected players on the Tour - as much for his fitness and drive as his talent.

Muster grew up in Leibnitz - non-skiing country close to the border with Slovenia. His father was in the army, his mother worked in a sports shop - jobs which they still have today. By Austrian standards, it was a humble background, and Muster cites it as a factor in toughening him up. His tennis career took off at the French junior championships of 1984. Ivan Lendl was looking for a left-hander to practise against before a match against Henri Leconte, and Lendl's coach, Wotjek Fibak, had the 16-year- old Muster recommended to him by an Austrian student, Ronald Leitgeb, with whom Fibak had worked on a book. Fibak saw enough of Muster to suggest to Leitgeb that he coach the boy himself.

Thus began the longest player-coach partnership in the men's game. Eleven years on, Leitgeb, aged 36, and Muster are still together, an amazing record given the volatility that often surrounds these relationships. "We are both determined to reach our goals," Leitgeb offered by way of a coach-speak explanation.

The big test for both men came in 1989 when the routine business of unloading his kit from the boot of a car in Key Biscayne in Florida suddenly turned Muster's life upside down. The next car along, rammed from behind by a drunken driver, lurched forward, smashing into Muster and damaging his right knee so badly that he was in rehabilitation for six months. The story of how Muster, guided by Leitgeb, had a special chair designed so that he could practise while sitting down, and then came back to win the Italian Open the following year, is the stuff of tennis legend.

Although Muster says he feels no pain in his leg, the legacy of the accident lies in his technique, and in rendering clay not just his preferred surface, but the only one on which he can realistically compete. "He still has great difficulty bending his knee," Leitgeb said. "On clay, where the ball is bouncing rather than sliding, he can compensate with very good footwork. He ought to do well on hard courts as well, but it is much less forgiving and the doctors say he should play on it very little because in the long run it could shorten his career." As for grass, forget it.

Muster is also notable for the way he has adjusted his game to keep up with the younger generation of clay-courters, whose experience of only ever having played with graphite rackets - Muster goes back to the age of wooden frames - has made for a more aggressive game in which the ball is hit flatter and from not so deep.

But then Muster rarely misses a trick. Among a number of run-ins he has had with his fellow pros, not least with Boris Becker when the German all but accused him of taking drugs, was one he had with his fellow Austrian Alex Antonitsch during a live television discussion ostensibly about Austria's Davis Cup team. Eventually Antonitsch accused Muster of getting upset because he Antonitsch - had gone off with Muster's girlfriend, which he had. "She was good," Muster said scathingly, "but not that good." Muster is good too, and getting better.
__________________
On Nadal bumping him on the changeover, Rosol said: "It's ok, he wanted to take my concentration; I knew he would try something".


Wilander on Dimitrov - "He has mind set on imitating Federer and yes it looks good. But he has no idea what to do on the court".

Quote:
Originally Posted by Filo V. View Post
I definitely would have preferred Gaba winning as he needs the points much more, but Jan would have beaten him anyway. I expect Hajek to destroy Machado, like 6-1 6-2.
Machado wins 6-2 6-1
Action Jackson is offline View My Blog!   Reply With Quote
Old 05-21-2008, 12:00 PM   #44
country flag Action Jackson
Forum Umpire:
Gaston Gaudio
 
Action Jackson's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 124,447
Action Jackson has a reputation beyond reputeAction Jackson has a reputation beyond reputeAction Jackson has a reputation beyond reputeAction Jackson has a reputation beyond reputeAction Jackson has a reputation beyond reputeAction Jackson has a reputation beyond reputeAction Jackson has a reputation beyond reputeAction Jackson has a reputation beyond reputeAction Jackson has a reputation beyond reputeAction Jackson has a reputation beyond reputeAction Jackson has a reputation beyond repute
Default Re: Q and A with Thomas Muster

Master Strokes

Because all his best works are done on clay, Thomas Muster's brush with greatness has tennis rivals irked

by Franz Lidz

The world's most diffident tennis player rakes a hand through his thin crown of blond hair and revels in having ascended to the summit of his sport. "Making Number 1 was great," Thomas Muster says, with a withering stare, of the lofty—if, in his case, controversial—ranking that he first attained in February and then briefly regained in March. "But what am I supposed to do? Jump out the window of the 50th floor of a building? Hang myself? Listen, 10 years from now no one is going to raise a flag for me."

In the seven years since his remarkable recovery from an apparently career-ending knee injury, Muster, a broody Austrian, has emerged as the game's Hamlet, or perhaps its Nixon. "It wasn't a smooth transition to Number 1 for Muster," says Jim Courier, who held the top spot for all but 12 weeks in 1992. "It's more like he became Number 1 with an asterisk."

Muster's Roger Maris-like status derives from the fact that of the 12 tournaments he won last year, 11, including the French Open, were on clay—the surface most suitable for his gimpy knee and never-say-die baseline game. Both the American he displaced at the top on Feb. 12 (Andre Agassi), and the American who displaced him on Feb. 19 and whom he displaced for five weeks beginning on March 11 (Pete Sampras) have suggested Muster was undeserving of No. 1 because he skipped Wimbledon and excels only on dirt. "I don't see him as Number 1 in the world on anything but clay," says Sampras, "and I think people know that."

What they may not know is that it was an indoor victory, on a carpet in Essen, Germany, last October that provided the crucial ranking points Muster would need to vault over Agassi and Sampras. At Essen, Muster beat Sampras in the semifinals. Since then, the three have swapped the top spot. Muster has won the four most recent clay court tournaments, including last week's Monte Carlo Open, to run his string of championships on dirt to seven in a row, but Sampras has held on to No. 1 by a handful of computer ranking points. "Some people make me feel I have to excuse myself for being Number 1," Muster said recently, his pale blue eyes darting above a sweatshirt that reads ACTIVE ATTITUDE. "They talk like I got the points in a supermarket. What do they expect me to do, write the computer a letter of apology?"

If the rankings came down to a survival of the fittest, the indefatigable Muster would be the uncontested No. 1. "He doesn't have the natural ability of Pete or Andre," says veteran South African pro Gary Muller, "but they don't have his tenacity and pure fight." Such testimonials aside, Muster has few boosters. No Viennese choirboy, he mocks opponents, spits in their direction and smashes returns into their chests that easily could be tapped away. "Such a hit intimidates the opponent," he once said. "It shows him my strength and that I do not have the slightest consideration for him."

Which is why many pros regard Muster as a real turnip. "He'd do anything to win, including taking you out," says South Africa's Wayne Ferreira. "If Muster isn't the most hated player on the tour, he's a close second."

"Muster is arrogant, unapproachable and standoffish," says Muller. "There's no reason to dislike him, but there's absolutely no reason to like him."

"Muster has no respect for limited players, which is odd since he's limited himself," says Stephen Noteboom of Holland, a doubles specialist whose lack of a ranking in singles puts him in that category, too.

Muster greets these digs with an insouciant shrug. "I'm not Mr. Nice Guy," he says, grinning like an altar boy who's been cherrying his lips with Communion wine. "I'm a tough cookie."

It takes a lot to get Muster to climb out of his punk armor. "I don't admire any other player," he says, "but I have a lot of respect for a few." Muster chips in an appreciative comment about Sampras ("He doesn't think of winning tournaments, he thinks of winning Slams to be the best player ever") but is backhanded in his remarks about Agassi ("He's not the player Pete is, but he's better to advertise with") and Boris Becker ("At his age, motivating himself to play must take a lot of effort"). By the way, Becker, like Muster, is 28.

The praise Muster gets in his homeland is slightly less stinting. An Austrian newsweekly named him the nation's 1995 Man of the Year and his memoir, Aufschlag: Mein Leben (Service: My Life), is a bestseller, but even his countrymen have a few reservations about Muster. "Austrians identify with artistry," says sportswriter Michael Sabath of the Klagenfurt daily Kleine Zeitung. "Thomas is not an artist. There's no love in his game, just strength and hard work."

Mus-Terminator is what they call him back in Styria, the province that also produced Arnold Schwarzenegger. Muster's dad, Heinz, was an army administrator; his mom, Inge, ran the pro shop at the Leibnitz country club. "I got my spirit from Mother," Thomas says. "She didn't spoil me, but I always got what I wanted."

What he wanted most was to be a tennis player. Every day from the time Thomas was 12, Inge would pack him off to a tennis club in Graz. "I'd be on buses and trains for 31½ hours," he says. "I'd do homework on the train, come home at eight and do more homework."

Did he ever feel like quitting tennis?

"No," he says. "I felt like quitting school."

He did that by enrolling at Südstadt sports center, an extended boot camp for promising Austrian athletes. Though Muster achieved some success—at 16, he won the Austrian national championships—he felt his game was being stunted by his country's tennis federation with its "tradition of underachievement." In 1984, Polish pro Wojtek Fibak hooked Muster up with Ronnie Leitgeb, a Südstadt-trained figure skater who covered tennis for Austrian radio.

"I want you to coach Thomas," Fibak told Leitgeb, who had written his biography.

"But I've never coached tennis before," Leitgeb protested.

"Come to the Austrian Open in Kitzbühel. Thomas will be there and you'll coach him."
__________________
On Nadal bumping him on the changeover, Rosol said: "It's ok, he wanted to take my concentration; I knew he would try something".


Wilander on Dimitrov - "He has mind set on imitating Federer and yes it looks good. But he has no idea what to do on the court".

Quote:
Originally Posted by Filo V. View Post
I definitely would have preferred Gaba winning as he needs the points much more, but Jan would have beaten him anyway. I expect Hajek to destroy Machado, like 6-1 6-2.
Machado wins 6-2 6-1
Action Jackson is offline View My Blog!   Reply With Quote
Old 05-21-2008, 12:01 PM   #45
country flag Action Jackson
Forum Umpire:
Gaston Gaudio
 
Action Jackson's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 124,447
Action Jackson has a reputation beyond reputeAction Jackson has a reputation beyond reputeAction Jackson has a reputation beyond reputeAction Jackson has a reputation beyond reputeAction Jackson has a reputation beyond reputeAction Jackson has a reputation beyond reputeAction Jackson has a reputation beyond reputeAction Jackson has a reputation beyond reputeAction Jackson has a reputation beyond reputeAction Jackson has a reputation beyond reputeAction Jackson has a reputation beyond repute
Default Re: Q and A with Thomas Muster

Leitgeb came. Muster came. Fibak said, "You two are from the same country. You're nice boys, so shake hands. Ronnie, from now on you're Thomas's coach and manager." They've been a team pretty much ever since.

It turned out Leitgeb knew about as much about tennis as Muster knew about figure skating. Eschewing technique, Leitgeb stressed training; the marathon conditioning drills he designed for Muster lasted up to eight hours. "Thomas is very laid-back and lazy," Leitgeb says without a hint of irony. "The difficulty is convincing him to work. Once you do, he'll give 105 percent."

Leitgeb's psychologist father was enlisted to hone Muster's concentration. "I took many tests to make me mentally tough," Muster says. "They later helped me conquer injuries." Leitgeb was the mind behind Muster's us-against-them ethos. "In Austria, nobody wants you to make it," he says. "So Thomas and I became outlaws against Austria and the rest of the world."

Muster has built his game on ruthless efficiency and powerhouse ground strokes. But his psychological strength is what makes him a winner. His discipline is unyielding, his will unflagging, his confidence almost pulverizing. "The guy's so sure of himself, he could win on any surface," says Goran Ivanisevic, the world's No. 6 player. "Not just clay, but carpet, outdoors, indoors. He could win on water."

Despite Ivanisevic's contention, Muster seems allergic to grass. He has played Wimbledon four times and never reached the second round, although earlier this year he led Austria to a first-round Davis Cup win over South Africa on grass in Johannesburg.

On clay, Muster's persistence from the backcourt can rattle even the canniest veteran. In his 7-5, 6-2, 6-4 rout of Michael Chang in the 1995 French Open final, he broke Chang's seemingly unbreakable will with a succession of stunning saves and relentlessly accurate returns. "Most guys you can see getting tired," says Ivanisevic. "But with Thomas, you never know. Four hours into a match he'll still be bouncing on his feet, bouncing on his feet. That kills you a little bit."

Muster's career nearly ended on the night of March 31, 1989. Muster was 21 years old and had just cracked the Top 10. He had reached the semis of that year's Australian Open, and in the preceding year he had been in six finals and had won four of them. On the night in question, Muster came from two sets down to beat Yannick Noah and reach the finals of the Lipton Championships in Key Biscayne. To celebrate, he had his courtesy car stop at a restaurant in Miami for a midnight snack. Leitgeb was with him. As Muster gathered gear from the trunk, the car was struck head-on by a car being driven by a drunk driver. As the courtesy car hurled backward, its rear bumper struck Muster and severed the medial collateral and anterior cruciate ligaments in his left knee. When Leitgeb asked if Muster was all right, he replied, in a fit of youthful disbelief: "Just tell the trainer to strap it up and I'll play the final on one leg." Then Muster tried to walk. "I was shocked," he says. "My leg was dead weight."

A Miami physician advised against immediate surgery, so Leitgeb and Muster flew to Vienna to find a specialist. "I wanted an Austrian surgeon, so there'd be more pressure to do the job right," Leitgeb says. "I'd been told Thomas might not walk, much less play again."

The Battle of Wounded Knee was longer and more hard fought than any of Muster's matches. His leg was in a cast for two months. "There was only one way for Thomas to avoid depression," Leitgeb says. "That was to pretend he was actually in training." Several times a day orderlies would take off his removable cast and flex Muster's stiff knee by pushing down on it. "The pain was excruciating," Muster says. "I can remember nothing worse." Between knee bends came electrotherapy, weightlifting, crutch races. Four weeks after surgery, Muster was swatting balls again from a swivel bench that he and Leitgeb designed, allowing him to sit at midcourt in his cast. "Thomas loved that machine," says Leitgeb. "He was hitting hard from the very first ball."

When the cast came off for good, Muster hopped on a bicycle. Leitgeb rode alongside, with his hand on Muster's stiff, sore left knee, helping Muster push down on the pedal. "Thomas fell off the bike many times, screaming," Leitgeb says. "It was just terrible." If Muster said he wanted to quit, Leitgeb snapped, "Quitting is not an option."

Nor was hiding out. A month after the operation, Muster hobbled to the Italian Open on crutches and told the crowd, "I want to come back next year without a cast and win this tournament." A year later he returned to Rome as a player and left as a champion.



By May 1990, Muster was back in the Top 10. At a price. Worn down by rehab, he hurt his elbow and had a falling out with Leitgeb. The two were supposed to leave for Melbourne the day after Christmas to prepare for the Australian Open. Before Leitgeb headed to the airport, he heard from Muster, who told him: "I don't want to practice. I don't want to play. I won't go."

"If you won't go, bye-bye," said Leitgeb.

Muster lost a coach but regained his adolescence. He smoked a pack of cigarettes a day, put on 15 pounds and spent more time in discos than at practice. "This was serious freak-out," says Leitgeb. After dropping six straight opening-round matches on his beloved clay, Muster decided he'd had enough of the good life. His rapprochement with Leitgeb in April 1990 was painful but rewarding. "I trained the crap out of him," says Leitgeb. Six weeks later—with his rank hovering at 116—Muster won in Florence. The rest is current events.

As for the private Muster, he's...private. It is only with great reluctance that he who is known for his lack of artistry on court acknowledges his hobby: painting. Muster's masterworks—oils in the style of Miró and Kandinsky—vie for space on the walls of his Monte Carlo apartment. "They're nothing much," he says. "It's better to have something colorful on the walls than white." He's equally dismissive of his drumming: "It's mostly just noise." And what of the Ferrari in his garage? "I drive it less than 1,000 kilometers a year. It's just a toy."

His habit of clutching privacy around him like a warmup jacket makes the media pry even more vigorously. Earlier this year British tabloids linked him romantically to the Duchess of York. Rumors began to simmer after he and Fergie chatted over a beer at a bash in the Persian Gulf state of Qatar. The rumors began to boil when Fergie flew on to Australia and showed up at one of Muster's matches at the Australian Open. With British reporters clamoring for an explanation, Muster skipped practice and holed up in his hotel room until the tournament began. (Asked about the reports now, he snorts derisively. Even the tabs seem to have lost interest.)

Ducking Wimbledon again is not in Muster's plans. It's important that he broaden his image, and he'll do that with a vengeance by entering two grass court prep events before the tournament. "Borg was a baseliner," says Ivanisevic, "and he won Wimbledon five times." But Borg was quicker and had a better serve. And the player pool wasn't as deep then. "If Muster does well on grass, the rest of us will respect him more as a player," says Noteboom. He offers a rueful scowl. "As a person, I don't know."
__________________
On Nadal bumping him on the changeover, Rosol said: "It's ok, he wanted to take my concentration; I knew he would try something".


Wilander on Dimitrov - "He has mind set on imitating Federer and yes it looks good. But he has no idea what to do on the court".

Quote:
Originally Posted by Filo V. View Post
I definitely would have preferred Gaba winning as he needs the points much more, but Jan would have beaten him anyway. I expect Hajek to destroy Machado, like 6-1 6-2.
Machado wins 6-2 6-1
Action Jackson is offline View My Blog!   Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

vB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Forum Jump


Copyright (C) Verticalscope Inc
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.6.8
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
vBCredits v1.4 Copyright ©2007, PixelFX Studios