Muster Discusses Prospects Of Exciting 2018 Ahead Of Monterrey

Getty ImagesThomas Muster discusses what he thinks will be an exciting 2018 before the former World No. 1 competes in Monterrey.

Former World No. 1 Thomas Muster talks to ATPChampionsTour.com ahead of competing at the Abierto GNP Seguros in Monterrey, Mexico from 5-8 October. The 1995 Roland Garros champion discusses the prospects of an exciting 2018 on the ATP World Tour, fellow Austrian Dominic Thiem and more...

How does it feel to return to Monterrey for another Champions Tour event?

It’s nice to return to Mexico. I really enjoy the tournament and they have a great team running the event. It’s always fun to play in front of the fans and have a good time. The atmosphere is fantastic and I’m excited to be back. 

What is special about competing in Mexico?

It was of course special playing in the altitude of Mexico City and winning that tournament several times. People are friendly and make you feel very welcome here. This obviously make it easier to compete. I hope to one day have a chance to explore this country in more detail.

How often do you get to pick up a racquet today to play?

Unfortunately not as much as I used to because of other things I have going on. But right before an event like this I try to play as much as I can to get ready so I can compete with these great players and have fun out there and hopefully bring a good level. 

This year there has been a combination of legends finding their best form again and young guns breaking through. Who has caught your attention with their performance the most and why?

It’s very impressive to see how the big champions like Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal have been playing, when people didn’t really think that they would get back to the top again, to see them performing so well. The younger generation including Zverev and Thiem having success and pushing to the top, too. It will be interesting to see next year, when guys like Djokovic and Wawrinka return as well as Murray. With Federer and Nadal doing well, if those guys come back healthy and the young guys improve it will be fascinating to see how it all shakes out in 2018.

Speaking of the young guys coming up, how close are you to Dominic Thiem and what has it been like to watch him succeed?

I’m not so close to Thiem but I try to follow how he does from afar and I hope to see him succeed. Of course he’s done many great things already, Top 10 in the world is an amazing achievement.  Dominic is still young and learning so hopefully he’ll continue to develop and improve.

When you played Thiem at the ATP World Tour 250 event in Vienna during your comeback, did you know he would get this far so quickly?

When I played him in Vienna he was still very young (18), so no, I didn’t know. But it’s good to see him doing well and hopefully he can continue to improve and one day win big titles, win a Grand Slam and one day become No. 1 in the world. 

Since you excelled most on clay, how impressive was it to see Rafael Nadal win a 10th Roland Garros title?

It was amazing to see how strong Rafa has come back, especially on clay. He seemed to be unbeatable on this surface this year – except in Rome, when he lost to Dominic . So I was really impressed, knowing that everybody expected him to win. Quite some pressure.

Knowing you came back to play some Challenger Tour events in 2010 and 2011, do you still get the itch to compete? Why or why not?

Well, I don’t know if I would call it an itch. Of course I enjoy playing some of the guys and getting out there at an event like this one in Monterrey. But I wouldn’t call it an itch per se. It’s nice to compete with the other champions and see what happens. 

It’s an exciting time for you, with your 50th birthday being on 2 October. Is it special for you to be playing on the Champions Tour as a 50 year old?

No, not really. I mean sure, people may call a 50th birthday a milestone. But to me, it’s just like any other birthday. It’s just a birthday. Whether it’s 48, 49, 50, they’re all birthdays. So while it is nice to turn 50, what’s special is that it’s a birthday, not necessarily the number. It’s always nice to play, so of course it’s nice whether it’s 50 or another number.

Muster with compete alongside Goran Ivanisevic, Fabrice Santoro, Greg Rusedski and two local wild cards at this week's Abierto GNP Seguros in Monterrey, Mexico. 

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