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August 11, 1998

Thomas Muster


Q. You took control so early it looked like you were breezing and then you ran into some problems. But early on that you had the match in hand?

THOMAS MUSTER: Well, I had the match under control. I would I say mostly through the first set of 5-1 and got broken one time and got into trouble on my serve on 5-4, which could have come easier to me. But it seemed to me every time I was up I lost a little bit, my concentration, and I wasn't doing quite the same thing. But overall I think I played a good match. And maybe my serve let me down in certain moments, like when I broke Tim in the second set leading 3-2 and that I sort of played really bad service game. But still I'm quite happy the way I played and I -- I was focused all through the match and that's good.

Q. How in any way was he a different player than when you played that match in the Open?

THOMAS MUSTER: Well, I think I was a different player. I returned way better and I was -- my passing shots were better and I was moving better. I think the hard court's someone who's playing as super as Tim, the most important thing that you're sharp and you return well and you do play good second shots; don't give him too many chances to come in. That's what I meant with not serving too well. I gave him way too many second serves to attack. But still handled the passing shots well.

Q. This was such a good tournament for you last queer. Was that on your mind at all when you came in for today's match?

THOMAS MUSTER: Not at all. I take every tournament as it comes, but definitely I had two good years, semifinals two years ago, finals last year. But it seems to me that this tournament really suits me. And I like to play and I like the sand court in this tournament. I've always played well here.

Q. As you get older as a player, do you have to make adjustments in how you train or how you do things on court?

THOMAS MUSTER: Oh, definitely you have to do certain things different. You have to take more time to recover and I mean, you have to get your practice differently and come up with different ideas, how to keep your body in shape. But I've done that and we'll see what's happening. But I played pretty average year so far and we'll see what I can do in the next five weeks.

Q. What's an example of something maybe you've changed in your practice?

THOMAS MUSTER: Well, it's not only what I've done but it's my coach who is coaching me with -- with a new guy in our group who does digit therapy and is working out with me every day. And he keeps my motivation up and I think it's very important, so I don't have to -- to go and run on my own and do all the things on my own, physical practice. And also, you know, I get better treatment all day long, whatever I need and it's much easier when you travel with someone who can adjust better to your body and what you're doing and to your practice. So at the age of 31, I've never done this before so that's -- that's a step I've made and I think it's worth and it's good to have someone young who is eager to motivate you. And I also think it's important as you get older that you have people around which give you motivated to keep on playing and when you're playing and really try to get the maximum out of your body, out of your tennis and I think that's good.

Q. How many people do you travel with?

THOMAS MUSTER: On average, at least three now, but that's the way it is. That's how it used to be, my coach has -- me, but now I'm -- with another member and that's good.

Q. Do you feel older?

THOMAS MUSTER: Well, not really. I mean, age is something that -- whatever -- how you feel I don't feel 31 but that's the reality and (laughter). Well, if you play someone who is 10 or 12 years younger, that's -- at that stage where I could we're not at that stage where we could say he could be my son (laughter). Sometimes it's funny, but yeah, most of the guys are 26, 27 so that's not so much of a difference.

Q. When you say guys like Becker that should retire basically and you're still going on two or three years past them. Does that make you feel funny?

THOMAS MUSTER: No, not all. I think that's the way you approach your life and setting up your goals and what do you want to do. I mean Becker has a family; he has a wife; he has a kid. He has different interests, just something to determine. Tennis -- he's just sort of preparing his career afterwards and there's other interests. And I understand that someone like him who was won basically everything in tennis to retire or whatever, just play whatever he likes to play. That's fine. But I mean everyone has his reasons when to finish.

Q. Do you find that you also have begun to develop interests outside, kind of take your mind away?

THOMAS MUSTER: I have a lot of interests outside of tennis, but I always see tennis as my job and as a hundred percent. I mean, I can only go out there every day, try my best and enjoy the practice and do my job as good as possible. It doesn't mean that I win or maybe better results, but still if I can tell myself that I tried a hundred percent and there's what it takes and whatever is the result Top 50, Top 20, Top 10, whatever. But the choice is there to do my job every day. I think whatever I have today and that's -- and all the interests I have, I can -- I mean, I can do in two years, three years, four years, whatever. I mean, the body will tell me when it's time to stop and when I can do other things.

Q. You know they will be there waiting for you?

THOMAS MUSTER: They are not running away.

Q. You talk about Marcelo's going through a little bit of what you did when you moved up to No. 1. Where do you think he stands in the game and what he brings to the game and his future at No. 1?

THOMAS MUSTER: Well, I was at -- the guy's No. 1 in the world on the computer and whatever the ranking says on each Monday, that's the reality. It doesn't matter if he won something since St. Dalton or he didn't. The reality is he's No. 1. He's played the most consistent tennis in the last 52 weeks. It doesn't matter: Short hair, long hair, his muscles-- it doesn't matter. The reality is he's there and he deserves it. He's young. It's a difficult decision to be in No. 1. We'll see how he deals with it. But definitely from talent, he's No. 1. We'll see how long he can keep it up. I think it's always good to have the competition for the No. 1 player in the world.

Q. I mean, if you could talk to him and tell him from your experience, you know, how to maintain it or it's harder or is it different to maintain as opposed to getting there?

THOMAS MUSTER: The last thing the guy -- the weeks at No. 1, (laughter) someone has been there for ages.

Q. Well, you think he has staying power in your opinion?

THOMAS MUSTER: Yeah, he has, he has the ability and I think -- I don't think he's that cool that he acts. That's the only thing -- something like being No. 1, it's always something you have in your mind that's pressure and you have to deal with it and everyone has a different approach and I can't blame him for being, you know, whatever some people say he's like that or he's like that. Every person is different and just got to take people the way they are, there is no other way I guess.

Q. Is that kind of the bottom line?

THOMAS MUSTER: Well, I've been there and I've worked for it and just take it.

Q. I mean is it special or is it?

THOMAS MUSTER: It is special, definitely. It's just like 14 guys been No. 1 in the world and be one of the 14, I mean, that's definitely on honor and it's great and there's always something you can look back. It's like winning a Slam or whatever winning a Super 9 that's always memories you're going to have.

End of FastScripts....

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