‘Comeback kid’ Muster does not risk good name, says Melzer

Austria’s men’s tennis number one Jürgen Melzer said Thomas Muster was not making himself a laughing stock by deciding to stage a comeback.The former number one in the world sensationally announced yesterday (Weds) that he will compete on the ATP tour again. Critics claimed Muster, 42, was undermining his own monument and already compared his bid with Michael Schumacher’s disappointing return to Formula One racing.But Melzer, currently number 16 in the world, said today: “Tom won 44 tournaments including the French Open (1995). No one can take that away from him. It doesn’t matter at all whether he will win or lose. He wants to do that all just for himself.”Asked how he rated the Styrian’s abilities nine years after he played his last professional match, Melzer told online sports newspaper LaOla1: “I don’t know as I haven’t seen him playing in the past few years. It will be difficult for him.”Melzer and Muster were at odds for some time after former Davis Cup captain Muster accused the Lower Austrian of not training hard enough.But Melzer raised eyebrows by reaching the semi finals in the French Open earlier this month. Now the 29-year-old sets his sights on Wimbledon. Melzer won the Grand Slam tournament’s youth event in 1999.”I arrived in London Tuesday night and played two training sessions of two hours each with (Swede) Robin Söderling and (German) Philipp Petzschner on Wednesday,” he said after being knocked out by German underdog Michael Zverev in the round of the best 16 in the ATP tournament in Halle, Germany, last week.Speaking about his expectations for Wimbledon, Melzer said: “Some unseeded players like (American) Mardy Fish, (Frenchman) Michael Llodra and (German) Nicolas Kiefer must not be underestimated. They can beat everyone on grass anytime. I just want to perform well.”Melzer admitted: “I still think back a lot on what I achieved in the French Open. Reaching the semi final in a Grand Slam event is simply an extremely cool thing.”Austria’s number one in women’s world tennis, Sybille Bammer, will also compete in Wimbledon from next Monday.The Upper Austrian, who recently managed to re-enter the world’s top 50 after several injury-stricken months of absence, lost against German Kristina Barrois in the second round of the 220,000 US dollar WTA tournament of Hertogenbosch in the Netherlands yesterday.Carinthian Stefan Koubek meanwhile reached the third Wimbledon qualification round by beating Lower Austrian Andreas Haider-Maurer 7-6, 6-3.Vorarlberg-based Tamira Paszek was defeated by Canadian Stephanie Dubois 6-7, 4-6 after beating Romanian Irina Begu 6-4, 6-2, while Viennese Alexander Peya reached the third qualification round thanks to a 7-6, 6-3 victory over American Kevin Kim.