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BNP PARIBAS OPEN


March 12, 2019


Philipp Kohlschreiber


Indian Wells, California

P. KOHLSCHREIBER/N. Djokovic

6-4, 6-4

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. You have been around a long time, beaten a lot of great players. Talk about what it means at this point in your career to not just take down the No. 1 player in the world but to take down a guy who is in the middle of a run like Novak who is three legs into his potentially second Djoker Slam and to be able to beat him on center court at Indian Wells the way you did today?
PHILIPP KOHLSCHREIBER: It's a very special win today. I think I was not unhappy with the rain delay yesterday night. I think the warmer conditions suited my game more today.

Yeah, I was fresh. I had a great strategy to play against him. I had two good wins. So everything came together.

Yeah, very special to beat the No. 1. Unfortunately the tournament is not over. I have to get back tomorrow with a great mindset. Today I want to, yeah, take the moment, celebrating with my coach, I would say. And I've got a lot of messages. I know it's a very special victory today.

Q. Over the years, you have gained a little bit of a reputation as a guy who maybe gets overlooked but can come in and take down guys like Kyrgios and Novak. Are you okay with that reputation?
PHILIPP KOHLSCHREIBER: What means "overlooked"? What is it?

Q. Maybe when the draw comes out they think you're not the first name they're looking at to go deep. You have a reputation for taking down guys when...
PHILIPP KOHLSCHREIBER: You know, my game is -- I'm not the biggest guy on tour. I'm not serving out easily some matches, so I have to work very hard for my victories.

Also, today, it's hard work. We had a lot of long rallies.

Also depends a little bit on the opponents. Maybe people say that I have a huge talent. Of course I can do a lot of things, but like I mentioned, I need to work for every point. I'm not, whatever, 6-foot-something.

And always, you know, mentally, it's not easy. Sometimes if you serve out the match with four easy first serve, that's easy. But if you have to fight for every point, sometimes also the mental component is very important.

I know I have a big -- I can play big tennis, but I also have to work a lot of things, not only one stroke. My footwork has to be good and ground strokes on both sides have to be good.

Like I said, it's not sometimes so easy for me to play that consistent over four, five matches, because I need many things to work out very, very well.

Q. At what stage of the match today did you realize, Hey, my strategy is working, I've got this going, I can do this?
PHILIPP KOHLSCHREIBER: I think very crucial moment was beginning of first set. I survived I think four break points. Didn't play that clever at that moment, especially some easy shots I missed. So I let some opportunities let go.

But after that, I felt like, okay, I'm getting there, I'm feeling the ball well. I'm also feeling that my opponent is not able to play his A-game. He's struggling. He doesn't like to play the balls that high.

Yeah, I would say after 3-All in the first set I felt like, Okay, it's the way the match goes, you know, getting closer to the set, holding my service games, which is not easy against Novak, because he's such a great returner.

So I know from that point on it's gonna be a very interesting match.

Q. Now you go up against another guy who you've got an imbalanced record against. I think 2-13.
PHILIPP KOHLSCHREIBER: Yeah.

Q. How do you approach that match?
PHILIPP KOHLSCHREIBER: Yeah, not easy. Well, in the past, I have to say, Gaƫl played better than me in these matches. He loves the big stage. He's at the moment in a very good run. A lot of confidence.

Yeah, it's going to be very tough, of course. I put all the pressure to him. He has great record against me. He's higher ranked. He has to win. I have nothing to lose tomorrow.

But I'm in good shape, a lot of confidence, playing great matches here. I will also come up with a strategy, I hope, that it's working tomorrow. Yeah, let's hope that I'm still having enough fuel in my tank to play aggressive tennis, which I will need. He's a great mover on the court. He's serving big.

Yeah, I need a little bit of luck on the return games and have a good feeling for his serve and be aggressive on the strokes.

Q. You mentioned yesterday after your match, after you beat Nick, you never really know what to expect which I think is an understatement. When you get prepared for a match against Nick Kyrgios, what are some of the things that you think about to make sure that you don't allow yourself to get distracted by some of the antics? Obviously the tennis speaks for itself, but there are other sort of wildcard-type things that have to go into your preparation, it would seem.
PHILIPP KOHLSCHREIBER: Yeah, at the moment I'm really focusing on a few things. I don't focus on the outcome of a point. I just concentrate what I want to do.

At the moment or with the conditions here, I feel very comfortable playing from the baseline. I know that I have very strong swings on both sides, and that was also the key against Nick that I don't -- that I have long rallies. I want to build up the points, which makes me stronger, getting stronger and stronger as long as the point goes on.

My focus was that the point starts the way I want it to start, and not that I get -- let him have a free swing and easy point, which makes me bringing back in uncomfortable situation. So I'm not serving full power on the serve right now. I'm trying to put it or place it better.

The same thing was today with Novak. I mean, you know what to expect with Novak. He's a great returner. I used the body serve quite often or the angle serve with the kick wide to open up the court and then I start the point with a big forehand.

Q. I'd like to ask a pretty general question. In this era, there is so much focus on Roger and Rafa and Nole. That's just human nature and nature of the sport. You have had a wonderful career for many, many years. Top 40 player. Made a good living and traveled the world. Talk about your years as a tennis player who maybe not have been in the spotlight. Has it been frustrating in any way not to get to the very top? Or has it been...
PHILIPP KOHLSCHREIBER: Well, first of all, I'm very thankful that we have Roger, Rafa, and Nole, and all the other top guys on the world, because they I think make our sport very great.

So I think I'm also very fortunate to be one of the strongest generations. I would say we have such great characters. I think the rivals between Roger and Rafa, I really want to see them many times more on TV, because that's the matches I really enjoy the most.

I'm also not unhappy that I'm not in the spotlight. I'm a very quiet guy. Of course you wish to have maybe a top 10 ranking once in your career, but if I'm not able to achieve that, I'm very happy how my life is going on.

You know, I'm still able to walk on the street or go to, I don't know, McDonald's and there is just a few guys saying, Oh, that's maybe Kohlschreiber. I'm able to do that. I don't know if Roger or Rafa can do that. On this side, I'm very happy that I can really enjoy my life peacefully.

And, you know, maybe something change. Maybe I can turn around my career here. I don't know. I'm still in the tournament feeling great, playing good tennis. Let's see. You know, if you win the whole thing here, it might change (smiling).

Q. Can you talk a little bit about the French, German tennis rivalry...
PHILIPP KOHLSCHREIBER: The French?

Q. The French versus German rivalry.
PHILIPP KOHLSCHREIBER: For next opponent?

Q. Yeah, for your next opponent. And obviously you're neighbors. Tremendous tennis traditions in both countries. But pretty different cultures, too.
PHILIPP KOHLSCHREIBER: Well, just with Gaƫl, I had great matches, great battles. I mean, I think he's "the" best athlete we have on tour. Always very special to play against him. It's almost the same playing a little bit Novak. You know, their defending skills are very, very high. So you have to find a great rhythm of offensive play, don't overplay it. It's very important.

Well, Gaƫl so far I would say he had too many times the better way to play the matches against me, so I have to figure out for tomorrow a new strategy or better strategy. Played many times best-of-five sets in the Davis Cup. Yeah, he's a big favorite because he beaten me many, many times. I have nothing to lose.

I gonna celebrate today a great victory, and tomorrow it's gonna be back to the normal working routine, getting ready for a tough match. We both are in good shape. Play great tennis. I think he's beaten his opponents very easily so far this week. I have to be careful. Yeah, take it on.

Q. Obviously this is a big win, but also the fact that it's your first win over a No. 1. What does something like that mean to you?
PHILIPP KOHLSCHREIBER: Of course it's very special, but I would rate the tournament victory higher than beating a No. 1, to be honest. Of course it's a very special moment today, but still, it's a third-round win. Many other guys achieved the same thing. Somehow I have to be still ready to play tomorrow another match, a very tough match.

So, yeah, it's great and it's special, but if you talk around so much, I would say you forget that you're still in the tournament and there is still a long way. I think to win more matches here, I have to be ready as soon as possible. Then it's gonna be another or even much tougher match tomorrow with all of the situation going on right now.

Q. What are some of the improvements you have made to your game in recent years to try to keep improving? Was today a day where you could show some of that?
PHILIPP KOHLSCHREIBER: Well, of course you always try to work on few things. I think the surface here suits my game very well. I can go around my backhand many times, play aggressive with the forehand. So always the spin picks up a lot of bounce here.

Yeah, I don't want to say that I didn't play well in the past. I played good match against Roger in Dubai. Also good match against Raonic.

I think I just try to continue to have a very clear mindset, that I'm doing well. Of course most important is always the victory on court, to build up the confidence.

Yeah, I think there was a great start in the first match here. And also against Nick, I would say he was the big favorite, coming up with the victory in Acapulco. Took on the big stage against him and played great tennis. And continue to doing that today was, yeah, it's very great.

Also tomorrow I have to pick up another big opponent, being aggressive with the right strategy. I think it's a chance, but you have to do well, of course.

Q. What is it with your game that makes it so awkward for so many of the big names? You have given so many of them trouble in the past and had wins over them.
PHILIPP KOHLSCHREIBER: Yeah. I mean, I move around the court quite well. Defending skills are not that bad. I have, on both sides, I think good striking power. So if you're not able to really hit through me, I'm able to create a lot of angles, topspin, speed on both sides.

If I'm feeling well or have good timing, it's not easy to make points against me. And especially the slower conditions, which helps me to get a better timing, yeah, I'm able to create a lot of power on slow balls, which also helps me to create a lot of speeds on these conditions.

And also my topspin is bouncing a lot. My serve maybe picks up a little bit. Yeah, more speed or more bounce in these conditions. So it helps me to go through my service games sometimes a little bit easier. Yeah, I think overall, I'm a very consistent player. Return, as well.

I think it's not a big weakness I have, so if you don't really find the way where you can really hit through me, I think it's always a big fight against me.

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