Hamburg, 15 May 2008
Press Conference with NICOLAS KIEFER
Kiefer - Davydenko 7:5, 6:3
Q: Gratulations. How do you feel?
KIEFER: Good. It is really an overwhelming feeling. It was a great atmosphere out there, it was really fun again. And it turned out well again. Fighting spirit. You can't really expect a better ending.
Q: Don't you start to think it's kind of scary at this point?
KIEFER: No, it's great. I enjoy it. It's really a nice feeling. I also realize that my game gets better every day, a bit more consistently. Today I had to add up to it again. It's quite hard to beat Davydenko on his favourite surface. It wasn't easy for sure, I needed a lot of power. I felt it in my body. It didn't work that well but I tried to fight. I know that I have to let myself rest more in the next week - I will probably only play every second day then.
Q: Tomorrow it's the first time you will be the favourite according to rank. How do you deal with that?
KIEFER: Maybe it's like that on paper and for sure that's what's expected. Everybody says he should win against him. But I don't see it this way. Seppi is a tough opponent and he plays very consistently. Especially on clay, it will be difficult. I don't see myself as the big favourite. I will try to go out there, enjoy it, to play my game and not concentrate too much on his game. I know, my big advantage is the audience again, which will push me forward even if things don't work out the way they should. That's the best of all. I've been here for 10 years now and it got better every year. As one says, love grows over time.
Q: But there were other important things as well. You never lost your nerves during the important phases, you didn't work yourself up that much.
KIEFER: Yes, I did get worked up. I was on fire inside. Like a volcano, but I kept it quiet.
Q: Is Davydenko the type of guy who can make that volcano erupt?
KIEFER: No. He is a tough player, he gets every ball back. You don't receive presents. You have to work for each and every point. With other players, you can get free points once in a while. I have practiced with him a lot. It really isn't easy. He is like a ball machine, as consistent as that, always left, right, left, right. You can really get desperate at times. I I coped well and stayed tough mentally and went through all the rallies. I have the persistence, the power. It was very tough, but I made the big points.
Q: You always touched the outer lines of the doubles court. Is that a ritual, a reflex? Is that for luck?
KIEFER: I've been doing that for ages. That's just part of me. I don't know if it helps my luck. I've been doing it for 15 years. There were years it worked well and other years were it didn't (laughs).
q: Seppi threw out Monaco. Can you remember situations in your career where you threw a big player out of the tournament and couldn't motivate yourself for the next match?
KIEFER: At my age now, lots of things could happen. I have to try my best, see what's possible. Of course a lot of people will say now, you will easily beat Seppi. But exactly those are the tough games. I think if I play like I play at the moment, I have a good chance to beat him. But that depends on your daily form. You need a bit of luck, a dead net here, a ball on the line there. I just have to make all the important points. If that's the case I think it will be possible.
Q: Don't you get nervous thinking you could make it to the semis? How do you manage to just concentrate on the next match?
KIEFER: It's a match like every other one as well. I have to concentrate on that. Of course it's nice that I bet two top 10 players in two days. But I try to prove myself something, and that's the biggest challenge for me, to go out there after three difficult days, difficult games and give my best. Those are the types of challenges I work for. That's why I have the team around me, which tries to built me up as good as possible. It's team work, but at the end of the day it's me out there on court trying to succeed.
Q: That was really emotional at the end when you were cheered by the fans. Is it comparable to Hanover in the past?
KIEFER: Yes, it was really emotional, a great feeling. I would have loved to stand there until the next morning (laughs). But the legs get tired and the back as well. It was nice, of course, you enjoy that. But on the other hand, as I heard the Klitschkos saying: "After the fight is before the fight". And that's true. After the match is before the match. As soon as I get off court, I start to prepare for the next match. But it was a great feeling, a great atmosphere. You try to take that with you. It will be difficult to fall asleep, because everything is very exciting. Of course, it's home, in Germany. But tomorrow, when I get up, the match against Seppi counts. I am looking forward to going on court again.
Q: How do you prepare specifically? What will you do tonight and tomorrow?
KIEFER: I will get myself pampered a bit, eat a bit. I got a bit of a weakness this week, I eat an ice cream every night. That's something like a quirk (laughs). That's what you do.
Q: So you are probably not that ungrateful that the doubles were cancelled last night because of Philipp's injury?
KIEFER: I would have liked to play, and I'm sorry for the tournament. Charly gave us a Wild Card, and if we hadn't needed it some young players could have used it. I was ready for a fight, and you can always use the doubles to try some things out. But it didn't happen. I was a bit sad about that.
Q: I meant because of your physical shape?
KIEFER: Yes, but one hour more or less …
Q: You asked for the physiotherapist once and then sent him away again. What happened there?
KIEFER: He built me up a bit (laughs). No, it's obvious you will notice your body after pressure like that. A couple of pain killers and things can go on.
Q. You indirectly thanked your girlfriend after the match. Is she here?
KIEFER: There are people with a normal job.
Q: She could have taken off.
KIEFER: She was here at the beginning of the week. If I'm still here at the weekend, she will come here as well. But it's a long way (laughs).
Q: What do think is really still possible for you? What is your feeling?
KIEFER: No idea. Of course it's a nice feeling to be in the quarter finals for the first time here in Hamburg. Tomorrow is a day like every other one as well. I have to get up, have breakfast, eat lunch, practice and then go on court. The only thing that counts is pick up your legs, run, fight. Those are the things that always have to be present. The attitude, the fighting spirit. If everything fits then … it's like a puzzle. You can't speculate. I have to go in there like in every other match as well.