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August 27, 2002

Nicolas Kiefer


THE MODERATOR: Questions for Nicolas, please.

Q. It was a great try for you.


Q. Did you ever think even at the end that you might be able to win it?

NICOLAS KIEFER: Well, I mean, I was already close in the fourth set, already had my chance in the fourth set. He was up 5-4 - I don't know - yeah, he was up 5-4. I was serving 40-15, I hit an ace. That was very late overrule. But in general was very close match. I mean, I was also in the tiebreak I was up 3-2. I knew that he's also cramping. But finally I couldn't make it.

Q. How many IVs did you take?

NICOLAS KIEFER: I'm gonna go now again. I would prefer to stay there and lay a little bit down, but... It's also important to talk to you.

Q. Did you hurt your right leg on that slide to the net in the fourth set there? You were going for a ball.

NICOLAS KIEFER: No, I didn't hurt. My legs just cramping in general ,the whole legs, groin. I had never had cramps before, I just saw on TV when somebody was cramping. But now it happen to me also. It's very bad feeling.

Q. Was it left, right or both?


Q. In the tiebreaker you knew you were in such bad shape, but you still weren't going to quit. How did that feel?

NICOLAS KIEFER: I was playing for four hours 15 minutes, four and a half hours. It was 6-All in the fifth set, only five or ten minutes to go. I try to put all in this five, ten minutes, to focus just on these five minutes - doesn't matter how. I was down with a mini-break 1-2, I won both points on his serve. Then I lost two points on my serve. It wasn't easy because Marat serving very good and played very aggressive the whole time. But I also had my chances in the tiebreak. It's not easy when you cramp and you have to serve. You don't get any power from your legs.

Q. Was there a point where you didn't think you were going to be able to continue?

NICOLAS KIEFER: I mean, I didn't think about it. I wanted to continue, I wanted to finish it.

Q. Even when you fell over?

NICOLAS KIEFER: I wanted to finish in a better way, but didn't work out.

Q. Seemed to do a good job of taking the pace off the ball. Do you think that's a good way to play Marat?

NICOLAS KIEFER: I play many times against him. Also he beat me here in the quarterfinal one time. So I play against him this year already. I know how to play against him. I had my tactic, and I think you could see it.

Q. The cramps were in your calves, thighs and groin?

NICOLAS KIEFER: Everywhere, lower body.

Q. It's 3-3 in the tiebreak in the fifth set. You're right there. Little bit of luck, maybe you can win this thing?

NICOLAS KIEFER: I was up 3-2 also. I mean, yeah, as I said, I was playing for four and a half hours. I got to the tiebreak in the final set, only five more minutes to focus on these points. This is little bit disappointed, because I was out there for four and a half hours and I had the chances, I was very close to win it. Finally, I didn't make it. But on the other side, it's also -- it's important step for me, for my game, for my serve, for my confidence. Now I can be at my game on what I show today.

Q. Four hours and 28 minutes, have you ever played a longer match than this?

NICOLAS KIEFER: I don't think so. I prefer to win in three sets (smiling).

Q. Are you too young to remember the match between Chang and Lendl in 1989 when Chang was cramping and served underhand?

NICOLAS KIEFER: He was serving from -- what?

Q. It was on clay.

NICOLAS KIEFER: Yeah, French Open.

Q. Too young to remember that?

NICOLAS KIEFER: Yeah, I remember.

Q. Do you?


Q. That didn't go through your mind during this match, did it?


Q. In the fifth set, right before matchpoint when you were going for that volley, did your legs just collapse?

NICOLAS KIEFER: I couldn't move anymore. I had problems already before, but I could make the points somehow. I just went for it, and I made the points. At 5-3 in the tiebreaker I wanted to hit the ball. From the head, I wanted to hit, but my legs didn't move. Then I was just standing there, cramp in the left leg.

Q. Can you more or less pinpoint when the cramping began or when you thought you might be feeling the first onset of cramping?

NICOLAS KIEFER: Maybe middle or end of fifth set, I can't remember. It's not a good feeling to remember like this.

Q. He called a medical timeout, but you had treatment as well. You called the trainer over as well with that point, right?


Q. For both legs?


Q. Yeah.


Q. There's been a lot of guys in this tournament that haven't finished matches. Are you proud you were able to get to the end?

NICOLAS KIEFER: I lost. I came here to win.

Q. Yeah, but you fought.

NICOLAS KIEFER: I played a good match. I played good tennis, aggressive tennis. My game is coming back. Most important thing is to keep on working on these things. And, as I said, it's good for my confidence. I know how to play. I know how to play against these players. The only thing I need is to win more matches - matches like this. Then you make another step up. I know how it works. I did it already.

Q. Do you remember the year the player cramped here and was finally disqualified because he couldn't go on? Have they changed the rules since then?

NICOLAS KIEFER: It didn't happen to me before, was first time. But I think we should talk about my tennis, not about cramping. I mean, it happened one time to me, so can happen to everybody.

Q. It was a great match.

NICOLAS KIEFER: It was a great match, so we can talk about the great match. Good atmosphere outside, good spectators. I think it was very fair for both of us. It was just great to be out there.

Q. When you went down and the trainer came out and he was stretching your leg, did you think you might not be able to get up? Did you feel it was over then?

NICOLAS KIEFER: I had a bad feeling but I wanted to. I wanted to stand up, I wanted to finish the match. Then I made a point, 6-4, I think, "Wow, he's getting nervous, too." I try -- I had great shots at this point. No, but he had good hands. The last point I couldn't stand. I just went for it. Sometimes going well, but sometimes not.

Q. Do you recall Marat saying anything to you when he came over?

NICOLAS KIEFER: It was nice that he came up, because we were playing for four and a half hours. We are also good friends out of the court. What can you say? He won't say, "Get up, one more point" (laughter).

Q. How well do you think he played today?

NICOLAS KIEFER: Well, I think he also had tough weeks, but it's good to see his confidence is good. He's playing very good tennis and he's strong - as you can see - his serve. From the baseline, he's playing very aggressive. But I had my game, and he didn't like it.

Q. When you turned to the crowd on your way out and you waved, what were you thinking? What were you thinking about the crowd when you waved to them?

NICOLAS KIEFER: No, was unbelievable feeling for me to be out there. I mean, we are fighting for four and a half hours, both of us. They were supporting me and him. It was great to be out there. All I did today was fighting for every ball and to give my best over 100%. This is how I have to see it.

End of FastScripts….

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