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June 28, 2008

Rainer Schuettler


R. SCHUETTLER/G. Garcia-Lopez
6-2, 6-3, 6-4

Q. After all the injuries and all the heartache that you've had for the last few years, did you always believe that this could happen even if I was 32 years old?
RAINER SCHUETTLER: I mean, I guess if I wouldn't believe in it, I wouldn't still play. But you never know. I was lucky against Blake a little bit. I played great in the first, second and third rounds so far. So yeah, of course I'm very happy right now.

Q. Was there ever a point at which you thought maybe I should just find another career?
RAINER SCHUETTLER: Yeah, a couple of times, obviously. I didn't know after the mononucleosis I had if I would still be able to play, and it took a little while, and this is -- my calendar always started early, and because I'm so desperate to play and I don't give myself time to recover.
So yeah, there were two, three times when I really thought, maybe it doesn't make sense, maybe I should look for something else. But at the end, I do what I love, what I enjoy, and that's the most important.
I said the last time, if I -- I mean, sometimes I stop for two, three days, and I think, should I continue or not. And then I just want to go on the tennis court and I just want to practice, and I still enjoy it. That's why I'm still playing.

Q. What was the lowest point in all this?
RAINER SCHUETTLER: I don't know. The good thing is I forget pretty quickly, so I don't know.

Q. What are you doing now that you haven't been able to do in the last several years?
RAINER SCHUETTLER: First, since last September I feel healthy again. I don't have any injuries. I can play, and I feel my strokes a little better. So I came back from 150, I think last August or September, I came back at the end of the year top hundred. I played well. And then this year just from February to May, I didn't play well the clay court season and the hard court season I had some tough losses, and I thought I was playing much better.
And of course at some point, it's always in life, sometimes you struggle but then you come back, and now I just won three matches, and for me it's like I felt like I played tennis like this for quite a while, and just people don't realize because you lose in three sets and you don't have the success you had before. And for me it's not a surprise because I thought from last September I played much better, and at some point I thought I was going to win some matches.

Q. So much of your game depends on how quick you can be around the court. Do you feel as quick now as you ever were?
RAINER SCHUETTLER: Yeah, I feel pretty fit. After Paris I was really upset because I didn't have a good performance there against Blake in the first round, and physically and mentally I didn't feel very good. And then I started to practice really hard for four weeks, basically just physical, and I didn't really care, also, in Halle -- it sounds a little bit strange, but I didn't really care if I win or not, but my goal was to play well in the long run and to get really fit again.
I played well in Halle, played even better in Hertogenbosch and now I feel pretty good here. So in the end it's just three matches, so it's not such a big change.

Q. The older players here, Jonas, Tommy Johansson, Ivan Ljubicic, have they been happy to see you performing like this?
RAINER SCHUETTLER: I was really surprised because after my match against Blake, from all the players, from coaches, I -- a lot of people came to me and said, hey, we're really happy, and you always worked hard and you deserve it, so of course it makes me really happy that people see it and respect that I'm working hard and respect how I play tennis.

Q. And I'll ask you again, the German victory in the semifinals, how much did it inspire you?
RAINER SCHUETTLER: Yeah, I hope they inspire me in the finals, too, and then Monday I'm going to win one more round.

Q. What correspondence, if any, have you had or the other German players had with the football team?
RAINER SCHUETTLER: I mean, I -- you mean if I talked to some players?

Q. Or email or whatever.
RAINER SCHUETTLER: For me, I know some players, but it's -- I mean, I know how it is. I don't want to bother them, and it's like they don't want to bother me. Whenever we have free time, I mean, I stay in touch.
Klose always comes to the Davis Cup and gets treatment, but I met a few times in Klaus Ader's rehab center, and he's the physio of the Davis Cup team, too. So it's not that we are constantly in touch.
Like I have a very good friend, Ivan Klasnic, the Croatian guy. But it's more like when we have free time and we can relax, then I stay in touch. But I wouldn't bother him when he plays a tournament and they wouldn't bother me.

Q. And here at Wimbledon, to what do you attribute the great success that the Germans have had here this year?
RAINER SCHUETTLER: I think in general the grass suits the German players much better. I mean, clay court was not always the favorite, not of Nicolas, not of Tommy, not of Boris and not of Michael Stich, as well. I think the hard court or grass court suits the German game much better, or most of them.

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