Melzer praises Roddick, Muster for breakthrough | sports | Hindustan Times
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Melzer praises Roddick, Muster for breakthrough

sports Updated: May 31, 2010 19:47 IST

Jurgen Melzer admitted on Monday that compatriot and former French Open champion Thomas Muster, as well as close friend Andy Roddick, helped inspire him to reach a first Grand Slam quarter-final.

At 29, the Austrian is the oldest player in the last eight at Roland Garros after taking 11 years since turning professional in 1999 to reach this stage of a major.

His 7-6 (8/6), 4-6, 6-1, 6-4 win over Russian qualifier Teimuraz Gabashvili also made him the first Austrian to make the last eight since Muster in 1998.

"I think Thomas Muster was a role model for every player," said Melzer.

"Playing wise, we are like day and night, so I was not imitating his style, because I just have a different game. But, as an athlete, he was an idol.

"Growing up playing tennis and you have a No. 1 in the world in your country. If that's not your idol, something is wrong with you."

Melzer, who next faces Serbian third seed Novak Djokovic for a semi-final spot, also received some words of advice from Roddick, the American sixth seed knocked out by Gabashvili in the previous round.

"We had a few text messages. He didn't tell me any miracles. The way Andy plays, he gave him way too much room to hit his big swinging shots," said Melzer.

"Being a left-hander is probably an advantage for me. I attacked a little more than Andy. That's what he suggested, that I should attack. But I didn't need Andy to tell me that. I have a coach for that."

Melzer believes the decision to work with coach Joachim Nystrom, a former tour player, since November 2007 has also played a part in helping him make his breakthrough in his 32nd Grand Slam appearance.

"I have had enough game to reach the quarter-finals or go far in a Grand Slam, but it was more that I wasn't consistent enough. I had my chances a few times to go to the fourth round," he said.

"But switching coaches in 2007 helped me the most."