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Old 11-28-2006, 06:15 PM   #74
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Default Re: Kiwi interviews & articles

And here is the translation:

Tennis professional Nicolas Kiefer (29) once was considered to be Boris Becker's successor. In 1999, he played ATP masters cup's semifinals in Hanover and was ranked 6 in the world. In his career with many ups and downs he won nine ATP titles. This year he played semis at the Australian Open what was his best Grand Slam result ever. But at the French Open his wrist was seriously injured. Now he is preparing his comeback. He wants to play Hopman Cup (december 30th to january 5th).

SZ: Herr Kiefer, you're on your to the soccer stadium right now. How difficult is this for you: Watching other sportsmen doing their job while you are injured?

Kiefer: I enjoy the diversion of watching sports. On friday, I was at an hockey match. I am a completely normal fan then. I cheer when a goal is scored and I get angry when something goes wrong shoutung things like: "Man, why doen't that guy play faster!" Or: "Play more wing attacks." Sitting on a stand seat you can see such things so much better.

SZ: How much tennis did you watch since June?

Kiefer: I watched the Wimbledon final in TV. At the US Open I commented some matches for eurosport. That was very interesting. I learned a lot about different tactics, about where the players are standing on the court and how they act. That's why I watched all the records of my this year's matches. Apart from that I didn't get much of tennis.

SZ: Did you conciously look away?

Kiefer: No. I simply didn't have time. Rehabilitation is a fulltime job. It takes much more afford than my normal training.

SZ: At the French Open you had to retire in the third round after you had lost the first set to Tomas Berdych. What had happened?

Kiefer: In the match before against Marc Gicquel from france I fell on a net post. My knee ached horribly. But I kept on playing and won. The next day my knee was fine again, but strangely enough I coudn't move my left wrist any more. I tried everything but it didn't work. Later it came out that the wrist capsule was torn. On june 17th I had an operation in Ravensburg. Unfortunately not everything was healed. So I had another operation in october in Berlin. After that the wound became inflamed what was horribly painful for some days.

SZ: How many fellow players called you?

Kiefer: One. Andre Agassi.

SZ: What did he say?

Kiefer: He invited me to Las Vegas to meet his doctors. I told him I really would have liked to come but I was lying in hospital and was allowed to leave house only five minutes a day.

SZ: You had several injuries in your career. Did you develop some sort of comeback routine?

Kiefer: Yes, I had already had various problems. But never before with my hands. I mean: You really need your hands! The first days I couldn't even waggle my little finger. I couldn't open my front door of my house. I had to ask my very nice neighbour to let me in. Elderly ladies can be very helpful.

SZ: Cycling professional Udo Bölts once said: When a true champion returns after an injury he isn't as good as he was before. He is better.

Kiefer: You learn to fight in such situations. In the last months a watched all that Rocky movies again. Amaizing what a thin guy Sylvester Stallone was in the first parts. Then he trains a lot and gets stronger but he always is hit back. But he stands up again and again. In one sequel he eats raw eggs before jogging in the morning. When I imagined putting a basket ful of eggs beside my bed I realised: Maybe you should not go too far with these things.

SZ: Your belgian collegue Kim Clijsters, who also had very long break due to wrist injury, said after her comeback: "With some shots I am better now because I had to do a completely different training. Can you report similar things?

Kiefer: My fitness is better than it was in the last six years. At rehabilitation you work on your body very thouroughly. I agree with Kim Clijsters in that point. On the other hand she is an example how you should not do it. She came back too early and had to take another break very soon. I won't touch a racket before I a have good feeling and the doctor says it's one hundret percent okay.

SZ: You signed in for Hopman Cup in Perth at the beginning of january.

Kiefer: Commitment ends six weeks before the tournaments start. I only will play if I have practised at least four weeks without any problems.

SZ: You start your comeback in a time when Roger Federer is dominating world tennis like he wants. Is this frightening you?

Kiefer: The way Roger is playing at the moment cannot be a benchmark for me. Regarding the things he can do I must see: The maximum is being number two behind him.

SZ: Why are you that modest? At the last three Grand Slam events you always forced him into a fourth set.

Kiefer: That's right. But to be on his level I would have to beat him from time to time. And to pass him I would have to beat him several times in a row. No-one is able to do that at the moment.

SZ: Why does he play that well?

Kiefer: You can try what you want. He always has the right answer. There isn't one special shot he has or so. Not even Roger himself can describe what it is that makes him so special.

SZ: You are 29 years old. What goals do you still have in your career?

Kiefer: I have become very reserved with aiming goals. I have had so many goals and have been stoped by injuries so many times. But there are two goals I still have: I want to win the Davis Cup and I want to try it again at the Olympic Games in Beijing 2008. Earlier I underestimated what a success for your country does mean.

SZ: Where does this change come from?

Kiefer: Before I went to the Olympic games in Athens many people told me: "Hey, return with a medal!" I plainly answered "Yes, okay" but I didn't really understand why that medal should be so special. At every tournament we get a cup that is much bigger. Finally Rainer Schüttler and I won the silver medal in doubles. We played five sets in the final until 3 a.m. We could have won the gold medal. We had four match points. I was uncredibly disappointed. But when I came home all the people - friends, relatives, neighbours - wanted to have a look at my medal. That was when I understood what such a medal can mean.

SZ: Yor are a big fan of team sports. Why is it that difficult for tennis players to form a team?

Kiefer: We are individual fighters twelve months a year from an early age on. You cannot just switch that butten that quickly.

SZ: What do you miss most at the moment?

Kiefer: Traveling. I am a tennis professional for eleven years now and before that I also traveled a lot. I hadn't been at home for such a long time for 15 years. I enjoy being in Hanover, and I learned a lot in the last months: For example, how important a shopping list can be or what stamp you have to put onto a letter. At the tournaments there are always people around who are doing these things for us. It was an exiting experience to care about life by myself. But now I have had enough of that. I want to take my racket, go to the next plane availible and say: Just bring me to any place.

Last edited by ZackBusner : 11-28-2006 at 07:47 PM.
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