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August 9, 1996

Thomas Muster


GREG SHARKO: Longest singles tiebreaker on the ATP Tour this year 16-14. Thomas's second hard court semifinal of the year. His first ATP Tour semifinal in the U.S. Since 1989 when he went on to reach the Lipton final. So first question for Thomas.

Q. What did you think of the match, Thomas?

THOMAS MUSTER: I think it was a pretty good match from the beginning on. I had several chances in the first set to go ahead, but every time I had a chance, he aced me or he played a great shot and I just probably missed -- just made one unforced error and so it was a good quality of tennis, I think in both sets and just the time was spent on each set was a -- really pretty much so I think it was good tennis.

Q. Were you beginning to wonder in that tiebreaker what do I have to do to put him away?

THOMAS MUSTER: Almost like that, because in his mind he almost lost the match. He is down matchpoints, matchpoints matchpoints, and every time he comes up with a great shot. Obviously, I did not really serve well on my matchpoints and -- but it is tough when you are standing out there already two hours and you have matchpoint every time and ever time he comes up with a great shot. It is like you feel like you can't do it. But I just hung in there and I was mentally ready and I was still fit enough physically to, you know, to keep on going and for a third set, I wasn't worried to lose the second.

Q. How important is it to you to get to the first Tour semifinal since the 1989 Lipton?

THOMAS MUSTER: Well, I haven't really played much in the States, especially over here. I have only played twice here; once in Indianapolis, so -- and the rest was, yeah, the U.S. Open, but out of the events I played, Indian Wells I had two quarterfinals there which is good and two quarterfinals back-to-back at the U.S. Open and round of 16 last year, so it is not that I am unhappy the way I played here out of the tournaments I played; that is why I am quite happy with the effort and the way I am playing this week.

Q. What were you able to do to sort of pump yourself up as you kept on not converting the match? What did you say to yourself?

THOMAS MUSTER: I just kept going. I tried to keep on the pressure. I think I was the more active player in the tiebreaker. I just went for more shots and at the end it paid off. And I think all the match, I moved him around pretty much. And he had a tough match yesterday against Jim, so he wasn't really being able to run me down, so he just came up with good serves and big shots and if this happens and continues, that is too good.

Q. Are you looking at this tournament as a way to say that you can play on this surface and maybe make a statement for the Open?

THOMAS MUSTER: I don't want to make any statements. I don't care. I know that I can play on this surface. Everybody else should think whatever they want.

Q. Talk about your upcoming semifinal.

THOMAS MUSTER: Either Agassi or Kafelnikov, doesn't matter to me. It is fine for me. Whoever comes up is a tough opponent anyway. And I think I did all right this week. I actually just came here from Australia on Saturday, so my expectations weren't maybe as high, but I did prepare well physically and it was just a question of get my timing here and I really got it from the beginning on from the tournament, as the tournament started, and I am feeling very confident out there.

Q. What were you doing in Australia?

THOMAS MUSTER: I was home.

Q. In Australia?


Q. Oh, that is where your home is?

THOMAS MUSTER: Yes, more or less, yes.

Q. How much time do you spend there?

THOMAS MUSTER: Well, 2 1/2, three months a year, but that is probably -- I am an Europe, actually. I spend more time in Monaco which is my main residence, but in December, January and November, I spend the most time in Australia.

Q. It is a long way to go to come back to the States?

THOMAS MUSTER: To go there and come back?

Q. Yes.

THOMAS MUSTER: It doesn't matter. Just sit around in the plane. It is not too bad.

Q. Where are you going to be next week?

THOMAS MUSTER: Not in Australia. I will practice for a week and then I go to Toronto and then I play the Open.

Q. Not to belabor this point but would it be sort of fun to play Agassi tomorrow? I mean, there was so much going back and forth at the beginning of the year between you guys.

THOMAS MUSTER: There is nothing going back and forth. It was just coming from his side that I wasn't -- I wasn't the right No. 1. You have got to ask him about it. He came up to me in Monte Carlo and said it was all just made up in the papers. He apologized and he said it was all made up by the papers. He never said --

Q. We do that.

THOMAS MUSTER: I don't know. See, that is what he said and I respected that and I said that is fine with me. I said, there is no more problem; whatever you did say or did not say, it is fine with me; let us put it behind us and that is it. That is what we did. So there is no more problem between us. If we play against each other, I think he is the favorite player because I cannot play on hard court and he is a great champion. That is it. (AUDIENCE LAUGHTER)

Q. As a competitor, do you kind of look at it as, well, here is a challenge; I have an opportunity to take this challenge on?

THOMAS MUSTER: Well, if I wouldn't think that way, I would go and play golf in the morning, which I would leave my bag out there --

Q. Is it an exciting challenge?

THOMAS MUSTER: It is great for me. I like to play and I like to compete. That is why I am playing tennis. And that is why I like to play professional tennis and that is my goal is to win every tournament I go into and if I don't think that think anymore, I better stop.

Q. Your first two matches were so easy. Was it good to have one like this for a test to go on?

THOMAS MUSTER: It is never easy. Everybody today is so competitive. Everybody is trying hard. Everybody is playing for points; for their respect and the points for the rankings and that is sort of try to -- their ego is going, so, I think, it is just that I played well this week so far and I had good timing. As I said, I am feeling comfortable out there and I am playing great, so whatever happens tomorrow, but it was a good job that I did today and tomorrow is tomorrow, so, I don't know…..

Q. Anymore comfortable playing in the States after the results and the way you played this week?

THOMAS MUSTER: Never had a problem playing in the States. I mean, it is just the fact that years before we had all these tournaments on clay. We had the Tournament of Champions. We had Boston. We had Washington. Indianapolis. All those tournaments were on clay which was much better, you know, for European players. More and more players who played over here, but since it changed, everything -- European clay court players are going to stay more in Europe to play there because it suits their game more and that is it. And American players, of course, are going to stay over here and play these tournaments, that is normal. I never had a problem playing here just, as I said, it is different for Europeans to come here because it is different culture, different everything. Yeah, everything is different and even with the changeover they have all these commercials going on, all these great things. It never happens in Europe. I can't hear this voice anymore on the changeover. Just go to the Mercedes stand or have ear plugs on the changeover. That is the way it is. Can't change that.

Q. It is interesting that Europeans are so critical of the Americans at the Olympics with the overcommercialization. I guess?

THOMAS MUSTER: Just with tennis?

Q. No, the whole Olympics?

THOMAS MUSTER: That is all the Olympics are about, is money and the great spirit (AUDIENCE LAUGHTER); just with the games because nobody makes money out of it, not the gold medals. Everybody is just going there to be there.

Q. Camaraderie with the fellow competitors (inaudible)?

THOMAS MUSTER: Well, I think tennis in my -- that is why I didn't play, I didn't think it belongs to the Olympics as I think the basketball team doesn't need to be there and I mean, I know it is great for the States and Dream Team and all this, but I just think they should have the basic sports. I think beach volleyball shouldn't be there. There are so many sports there that you almost don't have any overlook what is going on. That is my personal opinion. I could be right or wrong. But I think tennis is too professional - has too many other main events, like Wimbledon. I mean, all the Slams; ATP Tour Championships, and the Super 9, I mean, it just week by week and I think somebody who works four years to get a gold medal, I mean, that is really something, you know, and then you got to exactly on that date, you got to be there and do your job and be as good as possible and that is something really -- -- of course, if you win the gold medal in tennis, you think it is a great thing. No, no -- (AUDIENCE LAUGHTER) No, I didn't mean that. No, I didn't really mean to say that.

Q. Do you think tennis takes away then from the other sports, is that what I am getting from you, that it takes away from --

THOMAS MUSTER: Yeah, it does because you just said it is for money and all this. Basically, it is money, but I think still the sport events there and discipline they are really Olympics and tennis is not a real history like track and field.

Q. Did you watch a lot of the Olympics?

THOMAS MUSTER: A little bit here and there. But as I said, I don't have the overlook because it is just too many -- just confusing.

Q. Because they switch around so much?


Q. Do they do that when they show it in Australia too?

THOMAS MUSTER: Yeah, all the time, but there is 14 hours time change, so it is different anyway.

Q. I thought maybe that was just an NBC problem.

THOMAS MUSTER: I don't know.

GREG SHARKO: Anything else for Thomas.

End of FastScripts…

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