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August 30, 1995

Thomas Muster


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.

End of FastScripts...

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