Vienna: Former top-ranked Thomas Muster's brief comeback ended on Tuesday after a 6-2, 6-3 loss to fellow Austrian Dominic Thiem in the first round of the Erste Bank Open.
The 44-year-old Muster returned to competitive tennis in 2010 after 11 years away but managed just two wins in 26 matches — both on the lower-tier Challenger circuit. He said before the Vienna tournament that it would be his final event.
"I don't regret anything," said Muster, who fought back tears after the match in the 7,000-capacity Stadthalle. "My comeback was not about winning or losing, it was about the feeling of being able to compete at top level again."
Muster said he had "personal reasons" to cancel his initial plan of continuing to play in 2012.
"My family needs me more than tennis does," Muster said, but added that he might take part in a few Champions Tour events for retired players next year.
The 18-year-old Thiem, who reached the juniors' final at the French Open in June, dominated with more powerful and faster tennis than Muster to get his first win on the ATP circuit.
Muster broke to take a 3-1 lead in the second set but lost the next five games.
"The right player has won, Dominic handled the pressure well," Muster said. "And he can use these 20 ATP points more than I could."
Muster, who won the French Open in 1995 and held the No. 1 position for six weeks the following year, won 44 ATP titles.
He first played in the Vienna event in 1984 — nine years before his opponent Thiem was born — and reached the final three times but never won the title.
Earlier Tuesday, former top-five player Tommy Haas rallied to beat fifth-seeded Juan Ignacio Chela of Argentina 6-7 (3), 6-3, 7-6 (5).
The 273rd-ranked German, who won the event in 2001, failed to serve out the match at 5-3 in the decider but converted his fourth match point in the tiebreaker.
Haas will next play Aljaz Bedene of Slovenia, who won the opening set against Ivo Karlovic 7-6 (4) before the Croat, who hit nine aces, pulled out with a back injury.
Guillermo Garcia-Lopez of Spain defeated last week's Stockholm Open semifinalist James Blake of the United States 6-2, 5-7, 6-4 to set up a second-round match against defending champion Jurgen Melzer.
Eighth-seeded Fabio Fognini of Italy advanced after Tommy Robredo of Spain retired with a left leg injury while trailing 7-6 (7), 5-7, 2-1.
Also, 2008 champion Philipp Petzschner of Germany routed Spain's Pablo Andujar 6-2, 6-2, Xavier Melisse of Belgium downed Albert Ramos of Spain 6-1, 6-4, and Daniel Brands of Germany defeated Martin Fischer of Austria 6-7 (3), 6-2, 7-6 (6). Fischer, who is yet to win an ATP match this season, served for the match at 5-3 in the third set and wasted a 5-4 lead in the tiebreaker.