Muster Terminated in Vienna; WTA Lays an Egg Day One at Doha
by Sean Randall | October 26th, 2010, 7:13 pm

With aspirations of returning to the ATP full-time, Thomas Muster played his first tour-level match since 1999 but came up short in his comeback bid. The 43-year-old Muster was bounced out of Vienna by fellow-Austrian Andreas Haider-Mauer 6-2, 7-6(5) in the first round. ADHEREL

“It was unbelievable walking out to a standing ovation on a national holiday; it was just a great atmosphere,” said Muster. “It’s all been worthwhile, all the practice, and it was a good start. From the tennis side I probably could have won that second set, but the main thing is that there’s no pain, I’m fit and I know I can go long matches. I also know I could have played a better match today, that comes with playing matches and building confidence and we’ll see in the future. It’s awesome to be back playing.”

Sure, Thomas could have won that second set but he didn’t. And frankly I don’t understand his desire to try to compete against the best players on the planet when the Senior tour is a better fit for his competitive nature and skill set.

I caught some of the match and Muster looked like the old Muster which means a lot of short, spinny groundstrokes that inevitably sit-up and beg to get crushed. In the 90s, Muster could grind players down with that strategy and by moving them side-to-side as he did today, but in this era short balls get pounded. And there was some of that.

Muster also had no answer for Haider-Mauer’s serve who at a ranking of No. 157 only lost one point on first serve and never faced a break point. Credit to Andreas who was put into the difficult, almost no-win, position of having to face a national icon in a jammed stadium after Ernests Gulbis mysteriously withdrew ahead of the match.

Muster obviously loves playing and I admire his dedication and work ethic. And to be honest, he did better than I thought he would and played pretty well in the second set. But I just don’t see the motivation of working that hard, making that sacrifice only to lose to lower-level players. Sorry, he’s not going to “Kimiko Date” his way back to Top 50 let alone the Top 200! Not in men’s tennis.

“I’ll keep training hard and plan to enter 20 to 25 events from March,” Muster told the AP. “There is no pressure of getting into the top 10 … It’s about enjoying tennis. In ’99, I hated tennis. Now I love it.”

Geez, another guy who hated tennis in the 90s!

Also in Vienna, another player who might need to hang it up is James Blake. The American’s 2010 tailspin continued today after he lost to Lukuz Kubot 6-4, 6-4.

The 30-year-old Blake is now ranked No. 125 and unless he puts up a big result in the next few weeks he won’t make the Australian Open cut.

A match of interest from Montpellier, David Nalbandian is back after a 6-4, 6-4 win over Marcel Granollers. John Isner was also a victor.

The year-end championships began with a resounding dud in Doha today. The three opening day matches were anything but competitive.

Vera Zvonareva ripped a uninspired Jelena Jankovic 6-3, 6-0. World No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki destroyed Elena Dementieva 6-1, 6-1 and in an upset to me, Sam Stosur avenged her French final loss by downing Francesca Schiavone 6-4, 6-4.

On Wednesday, my tournament pick Kim Clijsters returns to tennis for the first time since her NY title, and Wozniacki can wrap up the 2010 No. 1 ranking by beating Stosur.


Khalifa Tennis Complex (from 17.00hrs)
1. Vera Zvonareva vs. Victoria Azarenka
2. Kim Clijsters vs. Jelena Jankovic
3. Caroline Wozniacki vs. Samantha Stosur

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43 Comments for Muster Terminated in Vienna; WTA Lays an Egg Day One at Doha

Kimmi Says:

“Sorry, he’s not going to “Kimiko Date” his way back to Top 50 let alone the Top 200! Not in men’s tennis.”

ha-ha god one sean!

Kimmi Says:

i meant “good”..

what happened to gulbis? I see he withdrew in vienna, he didn’t even hit the ball. his opponent thomas mustar had to play a lucky loser. OK, what is the injury this time? since the french open its been this and that injury for gulbis. He might as well just hung up the raquet for the year and go home…sorry contador!

great win for nalbandian. hope he wins the whole thing!

skeezerweezer Says:


Lol 20- 25 matches? I don’t think it’s going to take that long to determine if he is going to compete, WTF? Echo your sentiments he should set the realistic goals of competing in the Senior Tour and leave the spot for an up an comer.

guy Says:

muster came out hitting balls with nothing much on them and was smacked around, it’s true.
but he started playing aggressive in the second set, realising he had to go for more and i was actually pretty impressed. you wouldn’t really have guessed there was a 20yr difference.
some highlight worth points here and there.
but it’s true he couldn’t threaten this guy on serve at all.
one other thing which i found obvious was the weakness on muster’s backhand. it really was quite poor, lots of mistakes. back in the 90s you could get away with a shit backhand, and plenty did. but not these days really.

as for date, i think people aren’t giving her enough credit actually, considering the players she’s beaten this year. as far as i’m concerned she’s the only interesting thing about the wta tour right now.

gazer Says:

Dud??? You must not have watched the same Stosur/Schiavone match that I did.

montecarlo Says:

I really admire Muster. His work ethic is superb. And I am sure he will be able to suprise lots of posters here before the end of year 2011. This whole idea if senior tour is crap, all those guys should come out of retirement and play on ATP tour.

jane Says:

Kudos for trying iron man.

jane Says:

And to echo Kimmi – go Nalby! And “come out come out wherever you are” Ernie!

Kimberly Says:

the azarenka zvonereva match actually seems mildly competitive from the scoreline but in the office so can’t see the points.

Kimberly Says:

boo hoo, vera won the tiebreak.

MMT Says:

Are you familiar with the story behind Muster’s knee injury in 1989? Someone with that kind of passion and dedication doesn’t play with the fear of losing to so-called “lower level” players. He’d probably eat nails if he thought it would help him compete.

I think he should be very proud and pleased with his performance, and can see why he would (in the immediate aftermath) declare his intent to play 20-25 events (he won’t hold up for that many, but given how well he played, it doesn’t surprise me that he’s planning to).

Frankly, I can’t believe he was as competitive as he was, and if he is enjoying himself and is competitive, I don’t see any reason for him not to play.

Funny story about Muster – 1985 he played Washington, DC, which at that time was on Har-Tru (a vestige of the US Open’s brief flirtation with clay). 1st round he gets Victor Pecci, a very good Ecuadoran who lost the 1979 French Open final to Bjorn Borg. In the mold of Adriano Panatta and Yannick Noah he was a jock who served and volleyed (1st and 2nd serves) even on clay.

About 6’3″ tall, he covered a lot of court and had a cannon ball serve that he hit almost out of his hand, the toss was so low – although he got great extension.

Pecci was probably past his very best days, but still formidable, especially on the dirt, where he had won in Nice before the FO that year. He had no idea who Muster was – nobody did – but he found out quickly.

Pecci hit a stretch volley that floated to the middle of the service court and Muster came to the short ball like he was going to run right through net and absolutely drilled him with it.

The first time he tried to get his racquet up, but the second time he just turned sideways, and Muster took huge cut and belted him in the hip. Pecci started complaining to the umpire, who said nothing to say, but Muster was having none of it. He TURNED AROUND, walked right back up to the net said, loud enough for anyone to hear, “If you don’t want to get hit, then don’t come to the net.”

Pecci was stunned…he just looked at him like didn’t understand (but definitely did, because he was complaining to the umpire in English and spoke it perfectly by then). So now he’s got a decision to make – do I let this little gobshite tell me what’s what, or do I come to net to show him who’s boss.

He chose the latter, served and volleyed on the very next point and guess what happened…yup, he tried a poorly disguised drop shot, which Muster and anticipated and promptly hit him square in the chest with the “pass”.

Pecci lost the next 10 games in a row, including the first 4 of the second, and although my memory is probably fading, I don’t believe I saw him come to net for the rest of the match – at least, not with any conviction!

30 minutes after his match with Pecci, I moved to the grandstand to watch Aaron Krickstein who was (at the time) also 16 and a BIG deal in American tennis (one of the first Bolletieri products to make it big). Muster was in the stands, right behind me, jabbering away with his coach the entire time. At first I didn’t know who it was, so I turned around to give a dirty look – surprisingly, he promptly apologized – and then continued to talk loudly throughout the points. I thought it was hilarious that he had on a hoodie, as if anyone would know or care that he was scouting his next opponent.

FYI he lost to Krickstein in the next round anyway, although ultimately had a better career.

In any case, that little (long) vignette gives a little perspective on what kind of competitor he was.

Vulcan Says:

Great story…I too saw Muster back around the same time frame in DC on clay…remember seeing Muster walking around the grounds in flip-flops and carrying himself in a very confident manner…the guy just had this kind of swagger about him.

One correction (since this a trip down memory lane), Pecci was from Paraguay not Ecuador…he coached Ramon Delgado whose claim to fame was beating Sampras at the US Open if I recall.

I’m guessing you were thinking of Andres Gomez.

MMT Says:

Thanks Vulcan – I did get the country wrong (sorry about that) but it was definitely Victor Pecci.

Daniel Craig Says:

Does anybody here enjoy watching WTA over ATP? Personally, if it’s WTA vs. soccer or football, I would pick the latter every time. What do y’all think?

Kimmi Says:

daniel – i enjoy watching WTA, though ATP is my top pick.

Enjoyed following stosur vs wozniacki live score today. wish i would have seen the match, what i need to know is how stosur manage to beat wozniacki ?

Congrats to stosur, this is a big win for her.

Congrats to kim too..though i kind of knew she would beat JJ.

skeezerweezer Says:


Nice read. Great time to bring out some history on the Muster. Good knowledge :)

Kimberly Says:

kimmi and daniel–i make an attempt to enjoy the wta, especially as someone who kind of plays i feel i can learn more from watching them than the men naturally. And of course use them as my fashion guides. But this year has been really lame to put it mildly. Part of it has been the Williams complete no show.

The atp of course, is my thing. I go to every day and maybe twice a week.

I actually thought today was a step up from yesterday except for Clijsters JJ which i knew the result before the match started.

Kimmi Says:

kimberly – for those guys who likes to watch ATP, there is three tournaments going on right now..but i dont see a lot of people getting too excited about them. maybe they do but dont comment..who knows.

i think majority of tennis fans likes to watch their faves (as in top players). if their faves are not playing then everything gets boring, i could be wrong but it looks like that to me.

Anyways, great win for davydenko, he was able to revenge his loss to zverev in shanghai.
some interesting matches tomorrow gasquet vs nieminen and nalbandian vs simon

Kimberly Says:

None of those tourneys r great. Surprised more finals contenders not playing to rack up points. Did I hear correctly that both Davy and cilic won matches. Wow that’s a change.

Kimmi Says:

next week should be great. we have federer, djoko, roddick in basel. muzza and spanish amarda in valencia.

wozniacki now needs to beat schiavoni to qualify to the semi..if schiavoni wins this one, wozniacki in huge trouble..its getting interesting. stosur and zvonareva in a very good position.

guy Says:

as for wta, well it’s a consistent letdown.
i can’t count the amount of GS finals that end in about an hour or under, complete thrashings. it’s basically bagel city until the 4th rounds too.
even during feds most dominant years there were still some 4setter championship matches and a bit of tension.

Kimberly Says:

Guy agreed this year has been pitiful with the exception of the austrailian open for the wta.

Both ATP tourneys should be great with roddick, ferrer and verdasco fighting to qualify for WTF.

Kimberly Says:

Actually watching replay of azerenka Vera and it is very high quality tennis

jojostruys Says:

To all nadal fans;

Rafael Nadal polls higher than Lebron James, George Clooney and even US President Barack Obama in’s list of the Top 49 Most Influential Men of 2010.!/ATPWorldTour/posts/157154587654065

Daniel Craig Says:

Kimmi, you’re exactly right. I didn’t even pay attention to that until you pointed it out. As a longtime Rafa fannn, I’ve always dreaded the indoor hard court season. It’s like when the Patriots lost to the Giants. I was so pissed and didn’t watch ESPN at all until the following season.

Here, I’m fortunate because ESPN only covers slams and blows hard on every other televised match, save for NBC, who blow much much harder.

As for the websites, I check tennis-x, talktennis, and atpworldtour almost every day but only visit the wta website a couple of times a year

Daniel Craig Says:

The only event I watch without fail for the women is probably the French. The clay must remind me of the times I hit with 5.0 players back in Russia. On hard, I can’t explain it but it’s not the same.
I really wish we had some (real) clay or grass courts here in Texas but that guy who hosted the Masters Cup in ’03, ’04 is a complete d-bag and turned the only grass courts in Houston into some basketball facility. Also, green clay? wtf is that?

jane Says:

Kimmi, Nalby vs. Simon is looking great – just super busy right now – have kept me eyes on the scores but now have found streaming to catch the end, 4 all 3rd set eeeeek!. Of course most make more of an effort to watch their faves, but in some ways I find it more fun to not watch my faves as it’s less stressful and i can just enjoy the shot-making etc. Of course it seems I am almost invariable pulled one way or another by the end, maybe wanting one to win a little more than the other. Like in this match, hoping for Nalby even though I like Simon, he’s such a scrapper. Good tennis in this match.

jane Says:

Ah love-30; is Nalby choking a little?

jane Says:

Poor game from Nalby – ugh. Simon will serve for the match now! Quite the rally from him, judging by the scoreline.

jane Says:

Simon finished with class; I think he may play Tsonga next round? Monfils up next, not sure whom he plays. The Frenchies are doing well for the home crowd.

Nalby p.o.’d – didn’t shake the chair’s hand because of what he thought was a bad call on the baseline during the game he lost serve. It did look out but no replay. Besides which, Nalby may’ve been broken regardless of the possibly bad call, with no first serves and poor errors. Too bad.

Kimmi Says:

hi jane, thanks for the commentary.

poor nalbandian, he was serving for the match TWICE. according to my score board, he first serve for the match in the 2nd set at 5-3 and again in the third set at wonder he did not want to shake the umpire’s hand jane. if it was me, i would be mad to myself and everybody else….grrrrr!

not to be able to serve out the match must be a confidence thing, which still doesnt have nalbandian. I wonder if he is playing basel or valencia..not many tornaments left now.

congrats to simon b.t.w, great come back

I see nieminen still kicking gasquet in three sets. i though this would be a tough match for gasquet..

jane Says:

Kimmi, yeah, that’s true about Nalby; he was probably more angry with himself than anything! Blown chances. Strange how he doesn’t have confidence, considering he can and had beat the world’s very best guys. But it’s a consistency thing with him.

I would’ve like to see Gasquet get the win, but Nieminen has been playing well.

guy Says:

nalbandian not only served twice for it, he was also 5/4 up in tiebreak with two serves.
yeah so many errors from him i think 26 or something just in second set.
also acting like a dick, complaining to the umpire about a few calls. and just kept going on about it. the call during the game he was broken, well he ended up winning the point, so you can’t really complain.
hawkeye really should be every tourny though, come on this is france they’ve got plenty of money.

Fedend Says:


Thanks for the links.

The magazine says of Nadal: “Once considered “The King of Clay,” Nadal’s game has evolved into an all-encompassing barrage of lethal weapons: he’s capable of defeating anyone, anywhere, anytime. The man plays with reckless abandon, and we love him for it.”

Rafa is the ONLY player atleast in the last two decades who is capable of defeating anyone, anywhere, anytime.


Anyway who was the last player who can claim so ?
Was it Borg, Lendl ? IDK

Vulcan Says:


Don’t forget DP is still out there somewhere.
Nadal has numerous Freddy Krugers on hardcourts (some of which he has exorcised and others he hasn’t) and he still has to prove that he can beat DP in 5 at a major. There’s been alot of talk about DP around here and I suspect much of it is to remind us of the thumping that he gave Rafa back at USO while Federer was able to take him to 5.

Fedend Says:

In my opinion JMDP can be a very good top 5 or at best top 3 player. He would find it very difficult to get to two by beating Nole, forget about Rafa. But the fact is you know much more tennis than me, so I respect your opinion.

Here people rate JMDP very high more out of hope and nothing else. They are desperate to find someone to get the job done for them (which their favorite couldnt do). Even their favorite hopes JMDP is the one who will safe gaurd his legacy.

kimberly Says:

Davydenko and cilic lost, big surprise. I’ve been saying JMDs overrated for awhile. Let him prove himself and ill eat my words.

Right now, rafa is the favorite on every surface. That is a first for awhile. I’m not saying he’s unbeatable or an overwhelming favorite but look at the vegas odds, the don’t lie.

Fedend Says:

You are perfectly right.
Rafa starts as the favorite against anyone and anywhere. He doesnt have the “Nadal on clay” syndrome as did Federer.

margot Says:

fedend: eh hem…Andy’s h2h against Delpot is something like 5-1. To parrot skeeze…just saying…

Fedend Says:

Oops I forgot abt Murray….and this happens always when I list the major contenders. But the blame goes to Murray for not winning a slam yet after promising so much in 2007 when he made it big in the tour.

Vulcan Says:

Yeah I guess it is kind of hard to get used to the idea of a single player being perceived as THAT dominant. Back in 2004, some bookmakers had Roddick(2) as the favorite going into Wimbledon even though Federer had won there the year before and Roddick was the wildcard. Nadal in my opinion still has to prove that he can dominate on hard courts and that the adjustments that he has made are sufficient to CONSISTENTLY get him over the hurdles posed by guys like Cilic, Davydenko, Djoker, and DP. It sure seemed like something happened in the locker room that resulted in some of the thumpings that Nadal suffered against the players listed above…something along the lines of: don’t be distracted by the spin – just step into your backhand and take Nadal’s high kicking forehands on the rise and just crush them for winners. Nadal made an adjustment, now the question is will those tall, righty, two-handed backhand players still pose a problem over the long haul.

Fedend Says:

Nadal is hitting shots his much deeper these days compared to previous years.
Last sunday I watched the Wimby 2008 Final and Wimby 2010 Semifinal (full matches, back to back).
I realized that there was a huge difference in the variety and depth of the shots from Rafa. Till then I was under the impression that there was only a slight improvement in his game.
2010 Wimby Rafa would beat 2008 Wimby Rafa something like 6-2, 6-2, 6-2.

And I dont buy the argument that Rafa was beaten by soderling in 2009 ONLY because he was tired/injured/mentally not well due to personal reasons. I believe Rafa was simply not good enough to beat Soderling on that day. But he added a lot more weapons and took it to an even better Soderling the next year.

Rafa is the fastest in the tour when it comes to improvements. It will be an uphill task for anyone to outpace him now.

Rafa can be beaten may be once in while by players who develop their game suddenly by several notches within a very short period of time (Ex. FO 2009 Soderling, USO 2009 JMDP).
But as soon as Uncle Tony sees someone as his challenge he draws a specific strategy and finds the right PED (JK) for Rafa to up his game to beat them.

Siddy Says:

Seriously, how you gone tell him he belongs on the Senior tour. Muster can play whereever he likes. Why ya gotta be so exclusive sum people love tennis and just want to play they aint out there for grand slams.

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