Oct/17

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Press Conference Flashback: Thomas Muster US Open 1995

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U.S. OPEN

August 30, 1995

Thomas Muster

NEW YORK CITY, NEW YORK

Q. Thomas, can you please tell us when you left Croatia after the tournament there, and how long it took you to get to the United States and your flight?

THOMAS MUSTER: I left on Sunday night, took private plane to Paris. Slept at the airport and left in the morning 11 o’clock, Concord, arrived there at 9 o’clock; practiced at 3.

Q. Why did you decide to play the Croatian in Croatia rather than warm-up here in the United States for this tournament?

THOMAS MUSTER: Because two years ago I did the same, I went to the quarters last year; prepared two weeks in Indianapolis, Cincinnati lost twice in the first round and still made the quarters so it doesn’t make a difference, I guess.

Q. How easy or difficult is that to adjust to your game?

THOMAS MUSTER: The first match is the most difficult one still arriving late here and it is good having a Wednesday start. Years before, I had a Tuesday start. So it is just a little bit the jet lag now, I mean, the evening now, it is evening actually in Europe, so that is a little bit of a problem, maybe with your concentration and everything to get over it, but I have a day off and I think I will be all right on Friday. So it is — I am almost here a week now and I had a few days to adjust. The most difficult thing is the first round of course.

Q. Was there any sense in Croatia of an area in turmoil or is the tournament pretty isolated?

THOMAS MUSTER: I have played there three times since the war is on and never had any problems there. This area was never affected by war, so there was no danger at all there and all the action actually was pretty much over near this area, so…

Q. I think you have played, if I have counted right, 12 consecutive clay court tournaments. Have you even worked at all on any other surface since you had begun this streak?

THOMAS MUSTER: Last tournament I played was in the Indian Wells, so it was in spring. I haven’t played on hard court since then.

Q. Do you change your game at all to play on hardcourts as compared to clay?

THOMAS MUSTER: Yeah, it is not — it is a difference, but not really too much. I mean, with the — whether indoors or grass, of course, it would be a different situation. To adjust to that surface, the bounce is almost the same. The speed is not that much slower. So it is just the running, and I think I can adjust to my running technique in a few hours, so that is not difficult.

Q. Why don’t you play more games on hard court? Is it the knee? Is it just that you do better on clay and you want to stick to that?

THOMAS MUSTER: No, I am better on clay. That is one thing. Then physically, I think, I cannot play too many weeks on hardcourts so I have to really keep it down as good as I can, and wouldn’t make sense for me to play four, five weeks because I couldn’t make it physically so…

Q. Would it be possible for you to win this tournament, the first hard court tournament you have played; how amazing would that be?

THOMAS MUSTER: That would be fantastic, I mean, it would be — I mean, but being realistic, I am in the second round. I guess I am facing Mark Woodforde which I have never beat on hard court, so it is a very difficult draw for me and I am looking forward to that match. Let the favorites be the favorites.

Q. You are probably aware that some players at Wimbledon said, gosh, he is French champion; he should be here. What is your reaction to that and why — why you didn’t play Wimbledon?

THOMAS MUSTER: Because the strawberries are too expensive. No, I mean, I have nothing against Wimbledon and I am very thankful that I got the wildcard two years ago and when I had decided to be there late and I never had a bad relationship with Wimbledon. I think at that stage playing that many tournaments in consecutive matches, I think that it was necessary for me to take a break that I really could do what I did afterwards. That means winning another few tournaments and just for winning one or two matches, maybe, or even losing first round there, I don’t think it would have made any sense for me just to changing my game, just for two weeks and then going back on clay and having troubles to adjust again, so…

Q. Still, critics say that Wimbledon is Wimbledon. Would you ever consider playing at the All England Club?

THOMAS MUSTER: Yeah, but I am Thomas Muster. Thomas Muster is Thomas Muster. Wimbledon is Wimbledon. They make their decision and I make mine. I mean, I really like to play on grass, and it sounds probably stupid, but it is really isn’t funny, I really love to play on that stuff, but I just think that there is one or two tournaments played on it, and it takes too much time to adjust to it. Coming after the French, there is not enough time.

Q. So you are saying you probably will never play?

THOMAS MUSTER: Maybe next year, I will take my time and I will go there and practice there for three, four weeks and play in Queens and play in Wimbledon, but it depends also because we have to see that we have to face every week a clay court tournament until the French Open. Then we have to go there and keep playing on clay again. So for hard court players they have the chance in spring. They have it in fall. They can play any time they want. I made so many points this year on clay and I am still No. 3, I mean, that is — but I can’t really do more points than I did on clay, and it is impossible — impossible to be No. 1 or No. 2 even with winning all those tournaments.

Q. How difficult was it out there today, the sort of circus atmosphere that you played there?

THOMAS MUSTER: I mean, it was his show, my win, so that is all right.

Q. How did you like playing against Luke?

THOMAS MUSTER: I know him since many years. It was revenge. I had lost 15 years ago, never met until today, so…, but I am not supposed to make the show and he is out there to do it, so I mean, it is all right.

Q. Does it distract you?

THOMAS MUSTER: No, it is just difficult when you look at him every two games you have to look around with the new shirt to find him.

Q. What do you think of his outfit — outfits?

THOMAS MUSTER: I have an opinion about it. We are in America where; everything is possible, so they let him do it.

Q. How about his serve right and left; does that makes any difference when he changes?

THOMAS MUSTER: I think it bothers him more than me because. He has to think twice before the serve than me.

Q. You talked about the rankings, that you can’t get really above No. 3. You are obviously the No. 1 clay court player, but when you come here, maybe you are not the third best hard court player. Is there anyway that you can think of to make — to classify yourself — how would you classify yourself, if you could?

THOMAS MUSTER: No. 1 clay court player this year, but indoors or hard court, I don’t have too many chances to play on, physically, one part and then I think that the clay court season is pushed together too much. There should be more possibilities and more bigger good tournaments all over the year so make it even.

Q. On a little bit of a different note, could you talk a little bit about — the book says that one of your favorite pasttimes is painting.

THOMAS MUSTER: Favorite — I love to do it when I have time, so I never have time, so I don’t paint.

Q. You don’t paint anymore?

THOMAS MUSTER: No, I do, but — no, if I have time, I really enjoy doing it.

Q. What kind?

THOMAS MUSTER: Well, I am doing acrylic painting on linens; sometimes trying to really get emotions there and colors and don’t ask me to paint or draw a horse because you would not recognize it, but I am saying I like to do very colorful paintings.

Q. If you had to paint the emotion of your winning in Paris, what would the painting look like?

THOMAS MUSTER: Maybe I sell it one day, you will see.

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11 comments

  • Doogie · October 20, 2017 at 5:00 pm

    Thank u scoop for posting this interview!! For me as an Austrian it is fun and interesting to read.

    Muster always was and still is a nice guy – lot of people talked about him in wrong way. Pity imo.

    Great fighter and respectful to life and other people.

  • Scoop Malinowski · October 20, 2017 at 6:57 pm

    Doogie; My friend Lloyd Carroll of the Queens NY Chronicle always says every US Open Muster was one of the very best interviews in the press conference room, witty funny and always interesting. I did a Biofile with him in the 90s and it was classic. Well said he was a great fighter and respectful. One of my all time favorites.

  • Joe Blow · October 21, 2017 at 12:39 pm

    An in their prime, 5 set French Final, between prime Muster, and prime Nadal, would be to the death. Would be interesting to have seen whether Nadal would have been able to break down Muster’s one-handed.

  • Thomas Tung · October 21, 2017 at 2:39 pm

    Well, Muster actually beat a young Nadal in a practice set at the 2005 Roland Garros, if I’m not mistaken (score was 7-6 Muster). Nadal was extremely angry and walked off the court immediately afterwards without thanking Muster for the hit.

  • Thomas Tung · October 21, 2017 at 2:40 pm

    One also wonders if Kuerten would be able to blow through Nadal’s defense as well at RG …

  • Scoop Malinowski · October 21, 2017 at 7:10 pm

    Thomas; I never heard of that Muster vs Rafa clash of clay court kings. Where did you hear that? I would think we would have heard more about it if it were true. Though Muster is not very much in the public eye for the last several years. Wonder why Rafa got so upset?

  • Doogie · October 22, 2017 at 9:36 am

    Muster had offerts from Wawrinka and Tomic (few others also but I only know these two names) to coach them for the clay season. For him it was too short period.

    He waits for the “right” moment and if does not happen he will not coach – no problem for him.

    On the business side he made some wrong decissions but that it nothing new for former tennis pros.
    He still has enough money, so he can enjoy his life.

    He does not want to be on the red carpet or in the media – that is just nothing for him and never was it(I like it!!)

    But the rare times he gives an interview it is great as scoop wrote.

  • Scoop Malinowski · October 22, 2017 at 11:22 am

    Doogie, Muster has a lot to offer a player, not only on clay tennis but also hard courts, where he made the QF at US Open three times and SF of Australian twice. Though he never won a match in four attempts at Wimbledon. And did you know Muster’s last title he won in 1997 was not on clay but.. in Miami. I bet Thiem would win a major with Muster as his coach or co-coach.

  • Joe Blow · October 22, 2017 at 11:58 am

    Just because you were great, it won’t make you a great coach. Lots of superstars,fail as coaches, they can’t relate to the guys,or gals that can’t perform at the same level they did,on the big stage.
    JMac has been begging to grab a top pro since the days of Agassi. So desperate to break into coaching, he tried to help Brugera, whose game had zero in common with Mac. Wilander and Safin didn’t work. You would have thought if Wilander could settle Safin’s mind, he would win more than the 2 Majors he ended up with.

    Just having a former top player in your box, isn’t going to scare anybody.

    If these stars are financially stable,and aren’t trying to advertise some Academy on their t shirts, like Norman or Piatti, they should give back to their home federation that helped them reach their goals.

  • scoopmalinowski · October 22, 2017 at 12:27 pm

    McEnroe said it was hard to get players to listen. Muster for sure has a lot to offer as all great champions do. But listening and chemistry factors come into play. Sometimes the player and super champion-coach just dont gel or like or understand each other. Not every connection works as well as Andy and Lendl or Kei-Chang etc. Muster is a rebel spirit at heart and wont gel with everybody.

  • Doogie · October 22, 2017 at 3:14 pm

    Yes – I also doubt that Muster is a great coach because he has his “own brain and heart”.

    What I def. know is:
    He was Austrian DavisCup captain and he was a very very good one. Very emotianol and a great motivator. He was not Jim Courier style – exactly the whole opposite.

    He screamed, he made fist pumps – as u surely can imagine.
    Why he stopped the work?

    Because he could not understand that Austrian players (Melzer aso) did not have the same willigness to practice and working – so he quit because of lack of work ethic. He got disenchanted.

    Typical for Muster :)

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