VIENNA, Austria (AP) _ The doctor assigned to Austria's Davis Cup team apologized for warning Thomas Muster to quit tennis, praising him as a ``physical and psychological phenomena,'' media reported Sunday.

Dr. Rudolf Schabus, an emergency surgeon who has served the country's Davis Cup team for years, told the daily Kurier that he retracted his earlier statement that Muster should quit the sport for health reasons, admitting that he hadn't seen Muster in years.

``Thomas is a physical and psychological phenomena and I hope he will continue to be a top sportsman for a long while,'' Schabus told Kurier.

On Friday, Schabus had said it was ``no longer recommended that Muster continue playing tennis'' due to severe arthritis in his left knee and a shortening of his left leg because of an operation on the knee.

Muster's coach, Ronald Leitgeb, angrily rejected the comments.

Muster's next tournament begins March 9 in Indian Wells, Calif., where he reached the semifinals last year before losing to Michael Chang, who went on to win the event.

Muster who has slid in recent years and is now ranked 20th by the ATP, failed to defend his Dubai Open title last month, losing to Nicolas Kiefer.