Melzer praises Roddick, Muster for breakthrough
Jurgen Melzer admitted today 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.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."
First Published: May 31, 2010 19:44 IST