Press conference with Kiwi today after the Wawrinka win from the Hamburg site.
Hamburg, 14 May 2008
Press Conference with NICOLAS KIEFER
Kiefer - Wawrinka 7:5, 7:5
Q: You put in an amazing start there. But you got a bit nervous at 4:3. What happened?
KIEFER: No, I didn't get nervous. Maybe it looked like that, but I just focus on my game. I try to play my game. He just returned well, played better and so it got tighter. The match was on a very high level for both of us. There were some really tough rallies. As you could see, it was a bit like chess. It just went one way or the other. But nevertheless, my aggression was successful at the end.
Q: Are you a bit surprised by yourself? You had two matches on a very high level after the past weeks.
KIEFER: My preparation on clay wasn't that long of course. The French Open are the absolute highlight of course. So you try to get going as good as possible. Naturally I'm happy that I could beat two relatively good players on clay. This will be good for my self confidence. I'll try to keep this going. Now I'm still here in Hamburg, 3. round, so I try to keep on going.
Q: You were very emotional on court. At least it looks like that, with a lot of gestures. It wasn't always like that.
KIEFER: On the inside I'm on fire as well, like other people as well. There were a lot of tight situations and when you win these tight balls, you get an even further push forward.
Another big thing was the support of the audience, of course. It was brilliant to play out there, great atmosphere, like this tennis is the most fun. Of course it's great if you win at the end then.
Q: There was an incredible amount of positive gestures, up to the sky or blowing kisses. Are you surprised that you are nearly loved that much in Hamburg?
KIEFER: Well, it's home (laughs). Of course it's great that it works out like this. I was asked about this this morning already. It's all about the Masters everywhere. I think, everything is in favour of the tournament. We have great weather, we have so many visitors, we have one of the best centre courts of all the Masters Series tournaments. And of course it's great that I'm still in it and try to wave the flag as long as possible. It gets more and more difficult with every round, but compared to Monday I got even a bit better.
Q: Could you do that again tomorrow against a player who is even further up and stronger?
KIEFER: Nikolay ist very tough of course. Especially on clay. You could see it as well, at all the big tournaments, Masters or Grand Slams, he makes it to the finals or semis. He is very consistently. Of course I have to play even better tomorrow. My advantage is, I will go out on court, and even if I don't play my best tennis, I will run and try to play my game, play aggressively again. I know the audience is on my side, and that will help me as well, I think.
Q: How does your body react after 2 hours and 23 minutes?
KIEFER: I was happy when it was over. No, physically I'm okay. That's my advantage, I could work on my fitness during the time I didn't play much tennis, when I was injured and in Hanover. That will pay off now. The match is for 2 sets, 3 at the Grand Slams, but I have the conditionm, the perseverance. Now we will play a bit of doubles and then it will go on tomorrow.
Q: I saw you had a patch on your right shoulder, Was that prophylaxis?
KIEFER: Yes, with that serve (laughs). No, it was prophylaxis.
Q: Football players often say, that they got the match at 2:0. Was there a point during the match …
KIEFER: You can't compare tennis and football. Football players play for 90 minutes. This was a bit more.
Q: Was there a moment you realized you were better than your opponent?
KIEFER: I knew from the start that it would be difficult. Everybody knows he played the finals in Rome last week, he beat good guys. I knew what I had to do, he returned well. There were a couple of tight balls, but I could win them, that was the most important thing. I can't say there was a turning point. Of course, at 5:4, when he served for the set, he had his set balls, but I stayed in the game and that was the most important thing, this attitude, that was why I won.
Q: Were the drop shots part of a tactic you planned before?
KIEFER: There were quite a few good ones, some were not so good, but I could win most of them.
Q: 2001 was the last time you played 3rd round here. What are your goals for this year?
KIEFER: Goals? I go from match to match. I had to laugh a bit when I was welcomed as the great hope. I am 30 (laughs). Great hopes are normally a bit younger. What do you mean with expectations? Of course the expectations go up, also of the audience. I just try to go out there, enjoy it and suck in the atmosphere. I don't think there is anything greater than playing at home, in front of such an audience. Tomorrow is another day. I don't know what to expect yet.
Q: What will you do for the rest of the day? Will you recover or will you even dare to go out to a café with weather like this? Or would it stress you too much if 20 people asked for your autograph?
KIEFER: I don't have the time, I have to play doubles soon.
Q: It's bright until 9 pm.
KIEFER: If I have to play for 3 hours again I won't make it