Re: Thread for all NICOLAS KIEFER supporters
Men's Tennis Doubles
Germans Crushed After Epic Match
In a five-set match that reached high drama long after midnight, Nicolas Kiefer and Rainer Schüttler fought hard to live up to Germany's former tennis legends. But in the end, it was the Chileans who celebrated their first-ever Olympic gold.
Nicolas Massu and Fernando Gonzalez won Chile's first ever Olympic gold medal when they beat Germany's Kiefer and Schüttler 6-2, 4-6, 3-6, 7-6 (9/7) 6-4 in the men's doubles final.
Long into the night, the German duo played hard to come out of the shadows of their legendary countrymen, Boris Becker and Michael Stich, who took home gold in the event at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics. When the match was over at 2:39 a.m. Athens time, their disappointment was clearly visible. Nicolas Kiefer just buried his head and cried tears of exhaustion and frustration, while Schüttler just stared stoically at the court, unable to comprehend his fate.
The two young Germans were so close to matching their childhood heroes. After a surprise advance into the final, their dreams were clearly set on gold. "Ahead of the tournament, I would have been very happy with silver. Now I'm only disappointed," Kiefer confided, watching Gozalez and Masssu throwing themselves into each other's arms and rolling on the court.
"It is so brutal. Such a chance only comes once in a lifetime," Kiefer lamented.
Gold was within the Germans' reach: After four sets, the fifth set tie-breaker was a center-court drama. The Germans started the set out strong, leading 6:2, but then the Chileans saved four match points and pulled ahead when Schüttler's return on the third match ball went long. "At 6:2 in the tie-breaker, I thought we had it made, but now I'm speechless," said the German's team coach Patrik Kühnen, when the Chileans broke through the tie-breaker.
In the end, Kiefer and Schüttler were crushed, watching their "childhood dream" slip away. But their opponents rejoiced, especially Gonzalez, who had spent a total of seven hours on the court after winning bronze in the men's singles on Saturday.
Comforting words from tennis legends
Watching the match from afar, Germany's tennis legends were full of comforting words for Kiefer and Schüttler. "It's too bad, but that's the way it is in sports. In a few days, I hope they will realize that silver is a great accomplishment," Stich said in a message.
Boris Becker, despite retirement still Germany's most prominent tennis star, told his younger countrymen to focus on the positive aspects: "The boys played excellent, and we have a world-class double team. I myself learned the most out of my losses. If they can overcome them, they'll be even stronger."
Kiefer-fan Steffi Graf also sent her words of support after the match. "We really wanted it (gold) for them. Andre and I really like Nicolas Kiefer. He has such a big fighting heart, a lot of talent, and he's such a great guy," the wife of US tennis star Andre Agassi said.
Silver as incentive
In a week the US Open begins and the German team is ready to go for victory. "I'm taking my medal with me to New York," Kiefer said Sunday on his way back home to Hanover. The silver will serve as a reminder and incentive, he said: "I don't ever want to relive such a terrible loss."
For the Chilean team, the gold in doubles is spurring Massu on to bring home another Olympic win when he faces off against Mardy Fish of the United States in men's singles final on Sunday. (ktz)