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BNP PARIBAS FED CUP: USA VS GERMANY


February 8, 2017


Captain Rittner

Carina Witthoeft

Julia Goerges

Andrea Petkovic

Laura Siegemund


Maui, Hawaii, USA

THE MODERATOR: Welcome, Team Germany. We will take questions at this point.

Q. Barbara, talk a little bit about the tie and how you see the setup against the USA.
CAPTAIN RITTNER: That's a long answer maybe.

It's a very interesting tie, like always. We are in the World Group, number one. The two top, top players are missing, but there's a lot of other top players around.

I see the U.S. in the favored position because of the latest results. Obviously Coco is playing her best tennis right now. She just played her first semifinal of a Grand Slam. They have the best doubles player in their team with Bethanie Mattek. She's won quite a lot of Grand Slams. Deciding doubles in Fed Cup...

It's going to be a tough tie for us. But we are here to still fight and do everything. I have a good mixture on my team of experienced and young players, two newcomers, and an experienced one on the tour, but first time in Fed Cup, and a young player with Carina.

It's a very interesting tie also for me to make some new experience. I'm very curious for Saturday and Sunday.

Q. Laura, when we talked in Melbourne, you said you were looking forward to the first experience. How have you found the week leading up and all the practice, since you haven't done this before?
LAURA SIEGEMUND: Yeah, I think it's a great experience for me. I was always dreaming about playing for my country one day. I'm really happy to be nominated.

The practices have been going well. I think we're a great team. Having a good time so far. Hopefully it will lead to some success for us.

Q. And for anyone, what do you think about the surroundings of Hawaii? Have you done anything Hawaiian?
ANDREA PETKOVIC: Well, we just arrived, so we've been battling the jetlag. That's been the most Hawaiian experience we've had so far.

Q. Andrea, talk a little bit about just the scenery. Have you seen the facilities? What do you think about the place where we're playing?
ANDREA PETKOVIC: Yeah, I mean, this is beautiful. Normally our predraw press conferences are next to a restroom in a dark little room with bad lighting. So this is amazing, obviously.

As I said, we just arrived, so we're still getting used to it, adapting to everything. But this is totally new. We once had to travel to Australia, which was also really far and really beautiful. But this is something new.

I thought I've seen everything with my 29 years. But always new experiences, apparently.

Q. Can you describe your trip. I heard it was very challenging, 28 hours or so.
ANDREA PETKOVIC: Yeah, I think we traveled through all time zones, through all seasons that are existing. We changed flights in London, which was very autumny. Then we went to Vancouver, where we had a snowstorm. Then we arrived here in the beautiful sun.

We've seen it all. Yeah, we've seen it all. We just haven't gone to space yet, but maybe that's also waiting for us.

Q. In your mind, how tough is the U.S. team?
ANDREA PETKOVIC: As Barbara said, I think Coco is playing the best tennis of her life. She's really found herself, her game. You always have to count on a good doubles player.

I think, as Barbara said, I agree with her, the U.S. team is slightly in favor of us now. But I have a lot of experience in Fed Cup. Julia has a lot of experience. It's always good to have new players on the team because they are still very euphoric about playing for their country, really energized.

I think it's a great mixture. In Fed and Davis Cup, anything can happen. We've been favorites many times and lost; we've been underdogs many times and won. Anything can really happen in Fed Cup and Davis Cup.

Q. Carina and Laura, can you talk about the first-time experience, what you anticipate, what you're looking forward to this week.
CARINA WITTHOEFT: Yes, of course, we are looking forward for this. It's really exciting for us. We've had so far a good practice the last two days.

But for me, I don't have any expectations. I'm just trying to enjoy the time here. Yeah, let's see what's happening at the weekend.

LAURA SIEGEMUND: Yeah, for me the same. I mean, the whole year round we are pretty much single competitors. It's just great to have a team feeling. I've never had it on this level, so I just enjoy, yeah, being with a team, the other players, but also the surrounding team. It's a good atmosphere and I'm really enjoying that so far.

Q. Andrea, why do you think Fed Cup and Davis Cup, it doesn't matter who is the better player or whatever, anything can happen?
ANDREA PETKOVIC: Well, I just believe that playing for your country, playing for a team, taking responsibility for other people, as well, as a tennis player, can bring out the best, can bring out the worst in people. By 'worst', I don't mean character-wise, I mean tennis-wise. Sometimes you can tighten up or get nervous. Or the other way around: players that are not good in their ranking can play amazing tennis.

That's why you never know. You can't just look at the draw sheet or the ranking and expect something to happen that way. It always brings out different kinds of personalities.

That's why it's so exciting. I enjoy every single Fed Cup. Every single Fed Cup has had similarities but also differences. I've enjoyed each one that I played. Really glad that I'm still here and still going. We'll see what happens here.

Q. Julia, can you talk about any advice that you've tried to help Laura and Carina with, just from your experience.
JULIA GOERGES: So far I haven't given any advice (laughter).

ANDREA PETKOVIC: Always do what the captain says.

JULIA GOERGES: I leave it up Barbara. She can do it, and she does it well.

I think the most important thing is to enjoy the time what you're having with your team, and that everybody is pulling on the same line. Say, Hey, we are a team, we have one goal, to win the tie on the weekend. That's the main point and the most important thing really. Yeah, have the same goal on the weekend, to try to win this tie, and just enjoy it. That's the main part.

When we're here, look at this venue, this beautiful view, I think there can be worse places.

Q. Andrea talked about it a little bit. Is there a different kind of pressure that goes with the team format? Is there a different kind of pressure out on the court this weekend?
JULIA GOERGES: Well, I think we've had already a lot of experience of being in World Group, going down and going up again. It's a different format what the Davis Cup has, with 16 teams in the World Group.

There is always some pressure. If you win, you're in the semis, if you lose, you have to play another one to stay in the World Group. There's always kind of pressure.

I think on every single rubber there's pressure. We see on the weekend the outcome. Well, pressure is everywhere in your singles and doubles matches throughout your whole career.

Q. Andrea, what is your take on President Trump's travel ban?
ANDREA PETKOVIC: I better not get into that. We'll be sitting here for another two hours.

Q. Did you run into any trouble in any of the airports you were in on the way here?
ANDREA PETKOVIC: No, but we had immigration in Canada. We did immigration process in Canada, so...

CAPTAIN RITTNER: As long as it's Germany first on the weekend, it's fine.

THE MODERATOR: Thank you.

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