In 1996, the last year of his professional career, the "King of Clay" captured seven ATP Tour[?] titles, including six repeat performances from 1995. His biggest highlight came on February 12 when he became the second-oldest player to rank No. 1 for the first time (at 28 years, 4 months). He held the top spot for one week and then again for five weeks from March 11-April 14 and is the first left-hander to hold No. 1 since John McEnroe[?] in September 1985. He compiled a 46-3 record on clay, bringing his 1995-96 total to 111-5. It is the best consecutive claycourt record in the Open Era play (since 1968).
In first five months, he defended titles in Mexico City (d. Novak), Estoril (d. Gaudenzi), Barcelona (d. Rios) and Mercedes Super 9s in Monte Carlo (d. A. Costa) and Rome (d. Krajicek). He had an 18-match winning streak snapped by Moya in the semifinal of Munich. Moya, Alvarez (Kitzbühel QF) and Stich[?] (French Open 4th RD) were the only players to beat the Austrian on clay. He enjoyed his best success of his career on grass with a 5-2 record. Advanced to SF at Queen's[?] (l. to Edberg) and 2nd RD in Halle (l. to Steven). After winning title on clay in Stuttgart (d. Kafelnikov) for the second year in a row, he performed well on U.S. hardcourts. He reached the SF at Mercedes Super 9 in Cincinnati and QF at US Open (lost to Agassi in both). Played his final clay court tournament in Bogota, Colombia in September and won the title (d. Lapentti), giving him career titles on five continents.
He suffered a hip injury in October and retired in opening-round matches in Stuttgart, Germany[?] and Paris, France. Muster had 14-8 record on hard and 3-7 on carpet. He led the Tour in points won returning 2nd serve (58 percent) and No. 3 in return games won (33 percent). Thomas Muster compiled 5-4 record vs. Top 10 players.
1987: He reached the SF in Vienna, Austria and added three QF.
1988: Muster won four of six finals and also his first and only United States title in Boston, Massachusetts beating Andre Agassi in the QF and Lawson Duncan in the final. He also captured clay court titles in Bordeaux, France Prague, Czech Republic and Bari. Muster finished in the Top 20 for the first time.
1989: Thomas Muster is the first Austrian to reach the Australian Open SF and also became the first Austrian ever to reach the Top 10. In March, he was struck by a drunk driver in Miami, Florida only hours after defeating Yannick Noah[?] to reach the final in Key Biscayne[?], severing ligaments in his left knee. Unable to play final against Ivan Lendl[?], he flew back to Vienna to undergo surgery. Incredibly he returned to tennis less than six months later.
1990: Muster continued his return, winning titles in Adelaide, Australia (only title on hardcourt), Casablanca and Rome, Italy. He also reached the finals in Monte Carlo and Munich and the SF at the French Open and Vienna. He finished in the Top 10 for the first time and qualified for the ATP Tour World Championship[?] in Frankfurt (1-2 record). Finally he helped Austria to the Davis Cup semifinal and ended the year with a 6-0 record.
1993: Muster won seven of nine finals and compiled a 77-21 match record while finishing in the Top 10 for the first time since 1990. He led the Tour with 55 claycourt wins (10 losses). He served as alternate for the ATP Tour World Championship.
1994: Thomas Muster was ranked in the Top 20 every week during the year and won three claycourt titles; Mexico City, Madrid and St. Pölten. In a legendary performance he defeated the German, Michael Stich[?] 12-10 in the fifth set in a 5:25 hours tennis marathon (longest match of the year) in the fourth match of the 1st RD Davis Cup tie in Graz. He compiled a 37-9 record on clay.
1995: Muster`s best year on the tour ever. He won in a career-high 12 titles in 14 finals, highlighted by his first career Grand Slam in tennis title at the French Open in Roland Garros Stadium. He opened his claycourt dominance (65-2 record) in Mexico City where he won for the third consecutive year (d. Meligeni). That was the start of 40 consecutive claycourt match wins (from February to June) and seven titles in Estoril (d. A. Costa), Barcelona (d. Larsson), Mercedes Super 9 stops in Monte Carlo (d. Boris Becker) and Rome (d. Bruguera), French Open (d. Michael Chang[?]) and St. Pölten (d. Ulihrach). He ranked No. 3 after the French Open title. This phenomenal streak ended in July in the 1st round at Gstaad[?], Switzerland when he lost to Alex Corretja[?].
The clay streak was the longest since Bjorn Borg won 44 in a row from 1977-79. Muster won his first career indoor title in Essen (where he defeated Pete Sampras himself in a sensational battle in the SF and Washington in the F). He led the ATP Tour with a 12-3 record vs. Top 10 opponents and made his second ATP Tour World Championship appearance. Earned a career-high of $2,887,979 prize money!
CAREER TITLES: 42 1986: Hilversum 1988: Boston, Bordeaux, Prague, Bari 1990: Adelaide, Casablanca, Rome 1991: Florence, Geneva 1992: Monte Carlo, Florence, Umag 1993: Mexico City, Florence, Genova, Kitzbühel, San Marino, Umag, Palermo 1994: Mexico City, Madrid, St. Pölten 1995: Mexico City, Estoril, Barcelona, Monte Carlo, Rome, French Open, St. Pölten, Stuttgart-outdoor, San Marino, Umag, Bucharest, Essen 1996: Mexico City, Estoril, Barcelona, Monte Carlo, Rome, Stuttgart-outdoor, Bogota
FINALIST: 9 1988: Barcelona, Vienna 1989: Key Biscayne 1990: Monte Carlo, Munich 1993: Sydney-outdoor, Vienna 1995: Kitzbühel, Vienna
PERSONAL He is considered to have been one of the most physically fit players on the Tour. He had special chair designed so he could practice hitting balls following the surgery after his accident in spring 1989. Muster has been quoted as saying he "lives for tennis". He finished No. 10 in the 1984 world junior rankings and in 1985 reached the French Open Juniors and Orange Bowl[?] finals. Muster enjoys photography and occasionally shoots tennis matches. He was named ATP Tour Comeback Player of the Year in 1990. Muster also likes to play the drums, enjoys abstract art and painting. He holds a 42-16 career Davis Cup record (33-7 in singles). He was coached and managed by Ronald Leitgeb[?], who also works with Andrea Gaudenzi[?].
He is now a retired millionaire and owns a huge farm in Australia where he lives with his wife and two-year-old son.