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June 21, 2011

Tobias Kamke


T. KAMKE/B. Kavcic
6-3, 7-6, 5-7, 6-1

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Are you excited about hopefully playing on Centre Court?
TOBIAS KAMKE: Absolutely. Wimbledon is my favorite tournament. I already said that before I turned pro. I was here when I was 11 one time.
Yeah, just try enjoy it. If it's a Centre Court match and I play one of the best players of the world tomorrow with Andy Murray, yeah, hope it's a good match.

Q. You came here to watch when you were 11?

Q. Who did you see?
TOBIAS KAMKE: I saw Boris Becker playing and a couple of others I can't remember that well. But it was exciting already when I was 11. Now I can play by myself here. Yeah, it's fun.

Q. Did you queue or did you have tickets?
TOBIAS KAMKE: My father got the tickets before. Actually had no idea actually about it. Just came and we had a couple of good days here.

Q. Is it because of Boris and Michael that you...
TOBIAS KAMKE: Yeah, especially Michael, because he was my idol when I was growing up and started playing tennis. I had the chance to watch him at the French Open when he made the finals there in 1996. I went there as well with my father and had some good matches to see.

Q. When did you meet him?
TOBIAS KAMKE: I met him actually when I was 17. I changed the club in Germany, and he played prepared for his show matches there every week. Yeah, we met at practice and we started talking, and then we played together a couple of times.
Yeah, then I had the idea after school to turn pro, and he helped me out a lot with things like sponsors and organizing the trips and everything.
I learned very much from him. We still have good contact, and I met him yesterday. He left yesterday. He was here to celebrate his 20th year I think of his win.
Yeah, we still have very much contact.

Q. Did he give you any advice? I know you still had to beat your opponent, but...
TOBIAS KAMKE: For tomorrow?

Q. For tomorrow.
TOBIAS KAMKE: I didn't speak to him after the match. I spoke to him yesterday when he was at the airport in Hamburg. Yeah, my match wasn't finished so far, so I couldn't say, Give me some advice for the match against Murray, because I had to finish the other one first.
I will give him a call later and ask him maybe some questions.

Q. How will you deal with the pressure of being on Centre Court with the crowd probably 90% behind Andy?
TOBIAS KAMKE: Actually, I never played on the Centre Court so far. I played on Court 1 last year here against Tsonga. That was already good experience for me. Yeah, just I can warm up 30 minutes tomorrow on Centre Court. I already heard that. So I can get a little bit used to it maybe.
But if the crowd is there it's different, and the match started. But I'll just try to play like I do in every match. But it will be different, I think.
Yeah, but I'll just try to concentrate on what I want to do on court, and, yeah, try to play a good match.

Q. How will you prepare for such a big game? I mean, what will you do? How do you prepare for probably one of the biggest games of your career?
TOBIAS KAMKE: I will talk to my coach a lot, I think. He already watched him a couple of times. Me as well, because he's such a good player and I just admire him in some way because he's unbelievable, I think.
I watched him last year to the ATP World Tour Finals in London when he played Nadal, for example, in the semifinal. Yeah, I'll just talk to my coach and not try to think too much of him, but more for my game, what I can do.
And, yeah, I think that's it.

Q. Did you listen to music? Do you sort of try to switch off from tennis a bit?
TOBIAS KAMKE: Yeah, I think I will watch maybe a movie tonight. I watched the U.S. Open in golf the last days, but it's done now. That was quite much fun.
But I think I will watch a movie and go for dinner with my coach and friend and my girlfriend, and, yeah, try not to think too much about the match.

Q. What movie will you watch?
TOBIAS KAMKE: I don't know. Me and my friend Julian Reister, we travel together. He has like has an external DVD player with him and there are 1000 movies on it. So I will ask him for that.

Q. What find of movie?
TOBIAS KAMKE: Just action.

Q. Have you been to Scotland before?
TOBIAS KAMKE: No, not yet.

Q. You have never played with Andy, but you have practiced with him, haven't you?
TOBIAS KAMKE: Yeah, I practiced with him one time in Monte-Carlo this year. He was looking for a partner and I signed with him. We had one and a half good hours.

Q. Was it hard to practice with him? Was that a step up?
TOBIAS KAMKE: It was of course a step up. He played better than other guys which are ranked lower, of course. Yeah, he was very friendly, and his team as well. We talked a lot. It was a very friendly and nice atmosphere with him.

Q. For the British public who don't know a lot about you, what do you liked to away from tennis?
TOBIAS KAMKE: I'm a big soccer fan actually from my almost hometown in Hamburg, Germany. Whenever I have the chance, I watch their matches, and sometimes in the year I have the chance to go and watch live soccer.
Um, the rest of the time I spend at home I try to spend time with my family and my girlfriend and my brother.
I go for cinema sometimes or to the beach. I live like 15 minutes away from the beach in Germany. So if the weather is nice, which is not that often in Germany, I try to go there and relax a little and try to think of different things than tennis.

Q. Were you a big fan of Jorg Albertz at Hamburg?
TOBIAS KAMKE: Oh, Jorg Albertz, yeah, he used to play for Glasgow, for the Rangers, for a couple of years.

Q. Did you like him?
TOBIAS KAMKE: Yeah, yeah. Actually I have from '96 or something a dress with his No. 22 and Albertz.

Q. You bought the shirt or was it actually his?
TOBIAS KAMKE: No, no. I bought it in the shop. I had no chance to get one of his.

Q. Did you follow him when he was in Glasgow?
TOBIAS KAMKE: A little bit, because there was a little goalkeeper, like Stefan Klos and he was supposed to play in Dortmund before, so I followed it a little bit, but not that much. I followed more the German league.

Q. You like playing cards, is that right?
TOBIAS KAMKE: Yeah, I like playing poker sometimes, yeah, and some other games. It's a Germany -- I think it's a Germany game. I don't know the English world. I just know the Germany one.

Q. Do you play with other players on the circuit?
TOBIAS KAMKE: No, not that much. Just with my family or with friends. I go out or I meet in the evening to play some.

Q. Andy says in the locker room when it's raining you all sort of can play against each other on the PlayStation and things like that...
TOBIAS KAMKE: No, I like to play with my friends at home sometimes or to go sometimes to the casino to play some poker with Julian Reister.

Q. Are you living near Wimbledon? Because there's been a few players that have had to get the tube.
TOBIAS KAMKE: No, I live in the Chelsea one, in the official hotel.

Q. Tobias, very few players get a chance to come to a major event as a fan and look at Centre Court and say, Wouldn't it be great if I ever got play on it that? Has it struck home yet, or do you think in the coming hours or maybe tomorrow morning it will suddenly strike home to you, Christ, I'm on that court?
TOBIAS KAMKE: Yeah, it's a good experience for me. As I said, I played on Court 1 already, and that was pretty much the biggest court I played on so far. This year I played on the center court in Halle, which is a little bit bigger.
And, yeah, to play in my favorite tournament against on the Center Court against Andy Murray in England, yeah, I don't know how to describe it. It's just incredible that I have the chance to do that.
I'll just try to enjoy as much as I can.

Q. How can you beat him?
TOBIAS KAMKE: If I win three sets, then I think I have a good chance to beat him. (Smiling.) That will be pretty difficult, I think. Yeah, but I'll try to prepare as well as I do for other matches, and then we will see.
I know he's one of the best players in the world, but if I get a chance, I'll try to stick in the match as long as I can and I'll try to make it as hard as I can for him to beat me.
Yeah, then we will see. I hope we have a good match.

Q. You're going to win?
TOBIAS KAMKE: There is at least a chance, and I'll try to get it. I don't go on court and say, Okay, I cannot win. I just go here and play three sets and leave. I try of course to win every match, even if it's a top 4 player in the world. Yeah. Why not?

Q. How do you enjoy being in London. What do you like to do?
TOBIAS KAMKE: So far this year not so much. Last year I went to the city a couple times for dinner and everything. This year we practiced a lot before the tournament started. Yesterday I had a match and I had to wait until 7:30 until the matches were canceled, so this year so far I didn't do so much.

Q. What do you do when it's raining like that?
TOBIAS KAMKE: Just listen to music.

Q. Who is your favorite group?
TOBIAS KAMKE: A german singer, Xavier Naidoo is his name. He mostly sings German songs.

Q. Any English groups you like?
TOBIAS KAMKE: I'm pretty much focused on him, so I just listen to his music.

Q. He gets you in the zone?

Q. What's been the best moment of your career, would you say, the thing that you're most proud of achieving?
TOBIAS KAMKE: Um, that was last year when I reached the top 100 for the first time. I won a challenger tournament in Canada last year. Yeah, that was actually my biggest, one of my biggest goals I had before I started playing professional.
When I reached it last year in August I think it was, it was one of the most emotional moments so far I had.

Q. Which shot of yours should Andy be most worried about?
TOBIAS KAMKE: That's not a good idea to say it here. Maybe he listens to the interview.

Q. What's your best shot? Maybe that's a better way of asking.
TOBIAS KAMKE: My best shot is my backhand, I think. I like to hit it flat, crosscourt, and along the line. But I also like to hit forehands along the line and crosscourt.
I would say my best shot is my backhand.

Q. You said you hit with Andy in Monte-Carlo. Is he the highest-ranked player you hit with?
TOBIAS KAMKE: No, I had the honor to hit with Federer one time in Dubai this year.

Q. Is that who you would most like to hit with? Is there anyone else?
TOBIAS KAMKE: Yeah, I would like to hit with all of them one time or a couple of times, because I can improve my serve, I can see what they do better than me. Yeah, it was like almost the same with Federer and Murray. They are all on one level, I think, the top four guys.
Yeah, it was a good experience.

Q. Just to clarify, when you came as an 11 year old, did you have Centre Court tickets or was it just ground passes?
TOBIAS KAMKE: No, just grounds passes.

Q. So you've not set foot onto Centre Court?

Q. Why did you have such is fantastic year? What made a difference and turned you into the ATP's most successful rising player?
TOBIAS KAMKE: I started to work with a travel coach in March 2009. From that moment, I started to work a little bit different than before. I practiced more and I had someone who watched my matches and I could work with during the tournaments.
Yeah, I already felt it in 2009 actually that I improved my serve and made a step forward. The results weren't that good at the time, but from the beginning of the 2010 the results were better as well -- first on the challenger levels, because I was ranked 250 when I started.
And then I qualified for the French Open last year and then for Wimbledon and I won two rounds. My ranking got better and better, and then I had the chance to play some ATP events as well, and I had some good results there as well. I just kept on working and was focused on what I wanted achieve.
Yeah, it was one of the most important factors that I started to work with my new travel coach.

Q. If you chat with Andy beforehand, you can chat about football. He's a big fan.
TOBIAS KAMKE: Yeah, I heard that. Maybe before the match if we have a time to talk about football.

Q. Do you prefer and English team at all, or just Hamburg?
TOBIAS KAMKE: Um, some English players. I was following Chelsea a lot because Michael Ballack was playing there for a couple of years. I would love to watch a Premier League match. I love the atmosphere. If I have the chance to watch it on TV I always do, doesn't matter which team it is.
The atmosphere is so different to German Bundesliga. The fans are for me so much better in the way they are not frustrated after ten minutes if the team doesn't play so well.
But they're always a good atmosphere.

Q. Did you get to meet Michael Ballack?

Q. Never met him. You would like to?
TOBIAS KAMKE: Yeah, of course. I mean, he's maybe the best player of the past ten years in Germany. He was the captain of the National Team.
Yeah, I would love to meet him one day. Maybe I'll get the chance.

Q. Is there anything that you might have done if you hadn't played tennis? Did you ever think about playing football?
TOBIAS KAMKE: I played football a couple of years. When I was from 8 until 14 I did both, but then practice got more and more, soccer and tennis, and then I had to decide.
I don't know. If I wouldn't play tennis, I don't know if I would have been a soccer player. I think it's maybe more difficult than getting professional tennis player because there are so much more people trying to be a professional soccer player.
I don't know. Maybe; maybe not.

Q. Andy broke the $16 million barrier last week when he won Queen's. Can you ever imagine that?
TOBIAS KAMKE: Yeah. Why not? It's a good - how can you say? I mean, I don't play tennis to make as much money as I can, but it's always with us, the money, because the tournaments are so big and we get paid very well if you're ranked in the top 100 already.
But if you're ranked in the top 5, it's a total different league, I think. Yeah, that's also one of my goals, to make much money with tennis, but it's not my main focus.

Q. You want to buy a nice sportscar?
TOBIAS KAMKE: Why not? We have a lot of the good cars in Germany, so... (Laughter.)

Q. What do you drive?
TOBIAS KAMKE: I drive -- actually, I have a Volkswagon Golf. Yeah, I still like it. I bought it when I was 18. It's a good...

Q. You've still got it?
TOBIAS KAMKE: Yeah. It's tough to sell it because it's my first car. I just like it so much. I spend a lot of time in it to drive to practice and everything. It's still good. I mean, I love it actually.

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