Hamburg, 12 May 2008
Press Conference with NICOLAS KIEFER
Kiefer - Mathieu 6:4, 6:4
Q: Who was your little colleague here?
KIEFER: My greatest Fan, he especially came from Hanover to see me.
Q: Have you known each other long?
Q: But not related in any way?
Q: The first match couldn't have been better, right?
KIEFER: Sure, it's always nice to start with a win. I was a bit nervous at the beginning. I practiced hard during the last weeks, but it's always the question if you can put that into action during the match. I felt the ball well. It was a good start, I played good points, always stayed in the game. The thing that counts is the win. And the audience helped me a lot as well. It was a great atmosphere. That makes me happy as well.
Q: What happened during the first match point?
KIEFER: I thought the ball was out. I could have continued playing. That wasn't the reason for sure. Something like that is not supposed to happen. We have the hawk's eye on grass or hard court, but not here. Here the umpire decides.
Q: Isn't it difficult to turn the switch afterwards?
KIEFER: Of course it's difficult. I don't know what would have happened if I continued playing the ball. All in all I played at a very high level today. I played my game, I played aggressively. That makes me happy of course. That pushes me, especially considering the upcoming French Open.
Q: Mathieu said something at the net to you at the end?
KIEFER: He congratulated me.
Q: He looked pissed off.
KIEFER: I would have been as well (laughs).
Q: What can we expect from you during the next week?
KIEFER: Every round is difficult. Mathieu was at 16. You shouldn't underestimate that on clay. I always played tight matches against him. I have to go from match to match. Tomorrow I have a break for a day, I can recover a bit, work on a few things. The big advantage here is the audience who stands behind me. I rely on that. I wasn't here last year. This year I'm here again. Every year I can play here is like a gift to me and a bonus. I don't know if I will be back in Hamburg. So I want to get everything I can from my body, I want to give everything every time I go out on court there. That's what I will do for the next match. Wawrinka or Martin is no easy opponent. Wawrinka just played the finals in Rome. But anyway, the match starts at 0:0: I can always fight.
Q: How many percent did you play today? That was a good achievement. How much more is in there for you?
KIEFER: You can always achieve more. The thing is, I can hardly judge what happens. I went to Rome without any practice beforehand, and it served me quite well. I don't know what it is in percentage. It is important for me to get up in the morning and know that I can ask 100 % from my body. If that is the case, I can play my game for sure.
Q: Is is good to have a day's break or does that disturb your rhythm?
KIEFER: Okay, I could have played doubles tomorrow.
Q: To put it mildly, your balance sheet here in Hamburg could be better. What was the reason for that in the past?
KIEFER: I'm at a stage in my life where I don't have to look back much, I don't have to prove something to me. I try to give 100% every time I go out there. No matter how I feel, I can give everything. I can fight and that's what I try to work on. That's the greatest challenge of the sport, you have to fight and you have to keep up your attitude. You have to show what you are able to show.
Q: You said you weren't sure if you would come back to Hamburg. Was that concerning your own career or the fact that the tournament might not stay in Hamburg?
KIEFER: I hope the tournament will stay a Masters Series. That is a big issue. Of course we fight for it and if there is anything I can do, I would like to do it for the tournament. It's one of the most important tournaments in Germany. What I meant was that I hope it will be still here in Hamburg next year. And if my body holds up I will play of course.
Q: Who is we?
KIEFER: We players.
Q: How do I have to imagine you fighting, do you go up to the ATP?
KIEFER: We try to talk to them. That's the only thing we can do. It used to be a Super 9 tournament, now it's a Masters Series. It's one of the most important tournaments for us Germans. That's why I go out there and try to fight and give everything. That's the most important thing. I hope we will keep the tournament when the decision is made in August.
Q: There is also a Players Meeting, were you discuss things. Was this a topic there?
KIEFER: That's more for general things, new rules or marketing stuff.
Q: What's your impression? Is anything happening? What's the tendency?
KIEFER: I haven't heard anything myself. The big decision is in August.
Q: But time is running out for the ATP and therefore for the players as well. There is no new tournament schedule. The players have to know what's going on. Do the players put any pressure on?
KIEFER: No, we have this year's schedule and the one for next year will be out in August or September, and then we'll see what's on it. Hamburg will stay for sure. I think the question is just in which form.
Q: And when.
But I don't buy it that Mathieu only congratulated him at the net. We understood some more and it wasn't "well played" in French and he was not only pissed off because of having lost.