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August 27, 1996

Thomas Muster


Q. Did you feel good out there today?

THOMAS MUSTER: I felt very comfortable until 3-Love in the second set. I made a few unforced errors. I played better, though. I think the tiebreaker was pretty clear. I think I was in control of the match most of the time.

Q. How much more comfortable do you feel on hardcourts? Everybody talks about clay. Your record on hardcourt looks pretty good, your Open record looks pretty good.

THOMAS MUSTER: I feel comfortable. I'm playing all right. Always have played all right on the surface. I played well in Cincinnati, had two easier weeks now, early exit last week. Came a little insecure coming into this tournament, passing first round. I feel quite good with the performance today. Hopefully every match I play will get better.

Q. Any comment about what Andre said last night, saying that he felt the Open did correctly on the seeds, he had no complaints about it?

THOMAS MUSTER: I don't want to comment anything about Andre.

Q. Your own feelings then about the seedings?

THOMAS MUSTER: I made clear statements to that. This is a past issue, which is still there, the problem is still there, but it's a past issue. I think the tournament should go on now.

Q. Do you know anything about the Brazilians you're going to play in Davis Cup?

THOMAS MUSTER: I know all of them, but this is not a past issue. This is a future issue. It's too early for me.

Q. So you haven't thought of it?

THOMAS MUSTER: Well, once I'm in Brazil, I start thinking about it.

Q. Thomas, you played more matches other than on clay this year. Has that been coincidental or a deliberate practice?

THOMAS MUSTER: No. First of all, I had my designations, my commitment I have to fulfill on the ATP Tour on the Super 9s, which I did with Toronto and Cincinnati. Also I had a practice week, which gives me more time to relax between the practice sessions. I can calculate better when I play a tournament, I can give a hundred percent. I can not play a full five weeks in a row on this surface. My body can't take that. I had to make a different schedule. This year I played more in the States, which doesn't still make me a favorite at this tournament.

Q. Do you feel it's been beneficial to have this different schedule?

THOMAS MUSTER: Doesn't change much. For me it doesn't matter. I've played all right here coming straight from clay. I've played all right preparing on hardcourt. As I said, my designations were like that, and that's why I had to play.

Q. You say you do not think you're a favorite here?

THOMAS MUSTER: No, because I don't know how to play on this surface, don't forget that (laughter).

Q. Does it take you a few matches here to mentally get used to the atmosphere of the US Open again, the noise? Does it take you a few matches to get accustomed to that?

THOMAS MUSTER: It would take me a hundred years to adjust to all this. Unfortunately, the tournament is only two weeks long (laughter).

Q. Do you feel like you've learned to handle it pretty well? Do you like it or dislike it?

THOMAS MUSTER: I always felt good playing in the States. For me, it's no pressure playing here. Playing on clay is much more pressure for me, much more physical.

Q. So you don't feel any pressure about all this stuff that's gone on about the seeding, anything like that? You have to do something extra here to show these people here?

THOMAS MUSTER: I won't show anybody up. I'm almost 29 years old, I don't have to prove anybody anything. That's my opinion. This whole thing which started was not about me, so I have not really wasted much time thinking about it. Even as I make my statement, I still think it's correct.

Q. Thomas, as a player, what does it do in your mind to have your status changed from second to third? From the outside somebody might look and say, "Well, it's not that radical, not that big a deal." Michael Chang even implied that yesterday, it's not such a big deal. But in your mind, what kind of a deal is it?

THOMAS MUSTER: I don't care. I mean, being downgradeed to 3 doesn't change much. As I say, it's not a big deal. The only thing which scared me at the beginning of this tournament was every morning I'd wake up, I had the fear that I didn't know who I played. Every morning I went to look at the draw. Maybe I would see Tom Okker or somebody; maybe Nastase would be seeded, too. I looked carefully at the draw every morning. Finally they got it together, so it's all right (laughter).

Q. Thomas, when you say this surface is hard on your body, is it primarily your knees?

THOMAS MUSTER: Basically the knees, yeah. I mean, it's also very hard on the back and on my hip. I've been playing now 13 years. It's not so easy to get away with it. I had big surgery. Once you have a muscle atrophy, you get a lot of inflammation. It's quite difficult to handle it. I have doses of my practice. I can schedule it better. That's why I tried to change it a little bit.

Q. For physical safety, what do you think is the maximum number of hardcourt tournaments you can play in a year?

THOMAS MUSTER: I don't know. I can't seriously tell you.

Q. Say not more than --

THOMAS MUSTER: Not more than two weeks, straight two weeks.

Q. Not more than two weeks?

THOMAS MUSTER: Two, three weeks, I have to take a break.

Q. Thomas, is it possible for someone who hits with such heavy topspin to win a Grand Slam on hardcourts, or do you definitely have to flatten your strokes?

THOMAS MUSTER: I think my strokes are pretty flat in comparison to what I do on clay. I think Courier has played well here. He's playing topspin obviously. It's just a different game, a different running technique. You have to obviously serve well. It just depends on a lot of things.

Q. Considering the beating that your body takes from this surface, are you here because you feel like you have an obligation, it's a Grand Slam tournament, and you want to be here or should be here?

THOMAS MUSTER: I think I should be here as a top player. I'm supposed to play. If I feel my body can't take it, I would not play. I do what is best for my body. If this tournament -- if I can't play it anymore because my body doesn't allow it, I wouldn't play.

Q. In your mind, you say you're not the favorite. Is there a chance that you could last seven rounds on this surface?

THOMAS MUSTER: Depends who I play, depends how my form develops. There are many factors. As I said, I have no pressures. I'll try to play as well as possible. Every day I stay longer here, it's good for me.

Q. What's the biggest difference? You say your groundstrokes are about the same on clay as they are here. What's the biggest difference that you have to make out there to win like you do on clay?

THOMAS MUSTER: You have to serve better. You cannot play defensive. You have to play offensive sometimes. You have to make big points. You don't have such a good chance to come back here when you're down than you can fight back on clay. Clay gives you more opportunity.

End of FastScripts...

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