RG '88 - Muster's breakout season. Very solid year, getting into the top 20. Lost to Becker in 3rd round at the French, who was an elite player at the time. I don't see that as a bad loss. No way he would have beaten Leconte in the next round anyway, never mind Wilander if he'd somehow made the final.But he usually did not beat them in RG and also most of the times didn’t even reach them as he lost to “not so great” cc like Rafter, Sampras, Stich, Becker etc. Even Gomes and Kuerten while on paper good/great clay courter were not peak when they faced and beat Muster. What I can give him are his losses against Courier who was indeed a tough opponent in 92 and 93. Anyways, Kuerten has a lot more wins against strong CC than Muster, even his post-surgery win against prime Federer is something I wouldn’t expect Muster to be able to do.
RG '89 - obviously he didn't play that year because of the accident. He was ranked 6 in the world at the start of RG, so if he hadn't been injured, we can look at the draw of the 6th seed, Jakob Hlasek, to get an idea of what Muster would have faced. Gomez in 2nd round, Mancini in 4th round, Edberg in QF, Becker in SF - yeah I really can't picture Muster getting through that nightmare at that stage of his career even if he'd been healthy.
RG '90 - legitimately could be seen as a lost opportunity. He arrogantly dismissed Gomez as "over the hill" prior to their SF (having dispatched him in Rome just a couple of weeks earlier), and paid the price for his hubris. 50-50 chance he would have beaten Agassi in the final if he'd made it.
RG '91 - Muster was injured in '91 and had a horrible year overall, the worst of his career during his prime period, so losing to an ATG like Sampras at RG was not a shameful result, despite it being Sampras' worst surface by far. Even then, Muster was up 4-2 in the fifth set before choking it away. Even if he had won that, I doubt he would have gone very far - 4th round max where he would have faced an inspired Stich.
RG '92 - I agree, losing to peak Courier during a so-so season for Muster was not unexpected. Would have had a very tough draw anyway judging by Courier's path to the title.
RG '93 - Muster had a very solid season that year, especially on clay, but had the misfortune of running into peak Courier again in the 4th round. If he'd managed to sneak out a victory there however, he would have had quite a favourable draw against Prpic, Krajicek, and Bruguera, all of which I would have liked his chances against, so perhaps '93 should have been a title run for him at RG given his strong form that year.
RG '94 - certainly the loss against a pre-prime Rafter at '94 RG in the third round was a baffling lost opportunity, especially seeing how great he played to defeat Agassi in the previous round. Just goes to show that Muster's kryptonite was S&V players who could keep the points short, disallowing Muster to get into his beloved rhythm and torturing his opponents through relentless grinding. Didn't help either that his ability to hit effective passing shots was very weak for a player of his calibre. As I said earlier, if he'd gotten past Rafter he would have faced Bruguera, who he very likely would have beaten, because there was nothing about Bruguera's game that troubled him. In the semis he would have faced Courier, who beat him at RG in '92 and '93. I forget how well Courier was playing in '94, but I doubt Muster would have beaten him at that stage in their careers on any surface. If by some miracle he managed to defeat him, Berasategui, one of his pigeons, would have been ripe for the picking in the final.
RG '95 - finally puts it all together and wins the title during a legendary season, but not before coming within 2 points of losing against Costa in the QF. Imagine that upset had occurred? We would be sitting here today wracking our brains trying to figure out how a player of Muster's amazing clay court prowess never managed to even make the final at the French...
RG '96 - Muster's biggest blunder. He tore through the warm-up tournaments in dominant fashion much as he had done in '95, looking unstoppable until his 4th round meeting with Stich (who almost didn't enter the tournament). Stich, by displaying confidence and bravado prior to the match by claiming he wasn't intimidated by Muster and that he liked his chances against him, possibly got into Muster's head a bit, who at that point was used to opponents just rolling over for him on clay. And sure enough, Stich produced a 4 set upset that very few would have thought possible. Had that not happened, Muster's last three opponents would have been Pioline, Rosset, and Kafelnikov, none of whom I believe would have stood a chance against him. There's very little excuse for Muster not to have won the '96 French considering he was still at the peak of his powers.
RG '97 - Not sure I'd necessarily include '97 RG as a blown opportunity for Muster, despite choking away the match against Kuerten in the 3rd round. He re-tooled his game that year to focus on hardcourt and produced his best ever results on that surface, but his clay game suffered immensely. I'm not convinced that had he managed to hold on to victory against Kuerten that he would have defeated either Medvedev or Kafelnikov that year given his lousy clay form.
RG '98 - He was in serious decline by '98 and entered the tournament unseeded. Transformed into the ultimate darkhorse however and played very well to unexpectedly make it to the QF before falling to Mantilla, part of a strong contingent of young Spanish clay court experts. Perhaps could be seen as another missed opportunity because he had just beaten Mantilla 2 weeks earlier in Rome, and had positive head-to-head records against Moya and Corretja (especially Corretja, who he utterly dominated), the other two strong players of this new "Armada" who would have awaited him in the final 2 rounds of the tournament. Was '98 RG there for the taking for Muster in a sudden, late career surge that nobody saw coming?? One really has to wonder, though I'm not entirely convinced he could have pulled off besting the trio of young, talented Spaniards in a row.
RG '99 - Muster just running on fumes at that point and just showed up to collect a 1st round cheque. No chance of producing a notable result.
In conclusion, when looking at his overall clay court career achievements, elite abilities on that surface, yearly form and health, and historical draws of the French Open, he really should have managed to find a way to win the RG championship in '90 and especially in '96, and possibly '93 or '94 as well, with a special mention to '98!