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Tennis Legend Philipp Kohlschreiber Discusses Transition from Pro Career to TV Expert and Shares Insights on Australian Open and German Tennis

After almost 20 years on the professional tour, Philipp Kohlschreiber ended his tennis career at Wimbledon in 2022.

The 40-year-old is now breaking new ground for Eurosport during the Australian Open, in which he took part 16 times: Kohlschreiber will be an expert alongside former tennis stars such as Boris Becker, Barbara Rittner, Anke Huber, Patrik Kühnen, Markus Zoecke and Carl -Uwe Steeb will be on duty as a co-commentator.

Before the tournament starts, Kohlschreiber talks about the new challenge in an interview with Eurosport.de.

He also assesses the situation in German tennis after the successful United Cup and believes Angelique Kerber and, above all, Alexander Zverev can come up with positive surprises “down under”.

Philipp, you ended your career at Wimbledon one and a half years ago. How have things been for you since then?

Philipp Kohlschreiber: I’m still very, very happy with the decision. But I have to admit: the more tennis I watch, the bigger the tear in my buttonhole becomes. I took it easy at first, didn’t want to stress myself out. I enjoyed not having any appointments or obligations. But now my butt cheeks are slowly tingling again.

At the Australian Open you will now be working for Eurosport for the first time together with other tennis greats such as Boris Becker, Barbara Rittner, Anke Huber and Patrik Kühnen and will be commentating as an expert.

Kohlschreiber: A real dream team that I can still learn a lot from. I try to prepare meticulously and will listen to every tip. For me, it’s all about trying out a new field. Is it fun? Can I even do that? Am I an added value for the audience? Of course, I hope that I can answer all of these points with ‘yes’ later.

Philipp Kohlschreiber competed at the Australian Open 16 times – most recently in 2022

Fotocredit: Getty Images

You’ve been in the main draw of the Australian Open 16 times and reached the round of 16 three times – what makes the ‘Happy Slam’ so fascinating for you?

Kohlschreiber: For us Europeans, it’s a change that you can start the summer there after six weeks of hard preparation. Before the Australian Open, everyone is working on their form – but only then do you know exactly where you stand. In addition, the Australian is in a good mood himself. That casual ‘hey mate, how are you?’ is contagious. You’ll quickly find yourself in a connoisseur mood there.

From a German perspective, Angie Kerber’s comeback on a big stage is special. What impression do you have of her?

Kohlschreiber: Angie looks extremely fit and showed at the United Cup that she still has a fighting spirit. It was a great test for her because she was able to play four matches against top-class opponents. I do believe that as a Grand Slam winner she sets a certain standard for herself and is not satisfied just competing with the top 50-100. I think the United Cup showed her well what she still needs to work on. And knowing her, she’s going to work hard at it. In Melbourne she needs a bit of luck with the draw and then something will happen. I’m really keeping my fingers crossed that things go well for her.

“You got it! You got it!” Kerber wins the Australian Open 2016

Winning the United Cup probably makes everyone in the team feel good…

Kohlschreiber: The performance was great. The German team fought really well. How many times have you thought it was over and then they turned it around? What Alex Zverev has achieved: really hats off! Standing up every time after the individual and going full throttle in the mixed doubles made the lion’s share. He led the team to the title. But I also think that he enjoys giving his last shirt in the team for Germany.

He has carried over the good momentum from the end of last year. He seems very stable. I have a feeling: the semi-final is a minimum.

What do you think he can do in Melbourne?

Kohlschreiber: I don’t think we need to worry about his fitness level – at the United Cup, six hours of tennis a day was no problem for him! (laughs) I think he carried over the good momentum from the end of last year. He seems very stable. I have a feeling: the semi-final is a minimum. I just see him clearly ahead in some matches, if you take Tsitsipas for example, who he also beat in the United Cup. Or Rublev, against whom he has a great recipe. The United Cup gives another extra push. With the title he increased his self-confidence. He has always been someone who likes to play a lot. If he succeeds, he will be an even better competitor and even more unpleasant for his opponents.

Kerber and Zverev present the United Cup trophy in Sydney

Unfortunately, Rafael Nadal had to cancel his start due to injury. How do you assess the situation with him?

Kohlschreiber: One thing you have to know – Rafa Nadal always plays with great tension and it was clear to me that he would often feel the pinch in his muscles at the beginning. You can train a lot, but you only get this tension, even mentally, through the matches. It’s a shame because he showed an incredible level in Brisbane and God knows he didn’t beat any bad opponents like Thiem and Kubler. But maybe things aren’t so bad for him considering the rest of the season; Going straight into the best-of-five might have resulted in an even worse injury. Now he has a more relaxed build-up to the French Open.

Rune has realized that he is a hothead and that his emotions sometimes boil over. I’ve noticed for myself that Boris is extremely good at channeling emotions into the right channels at the right moment. I am convinced that it is extremely good for Holger.

Novak Djokovic lost a match on Australian soil for the first time in six years at the United Cup against Alex de Minaur and was also injured afterwards. Is he still your big favorite for the Aussie Open?

Kohlschreiber: Absolutely. He has won nine times in Melbourne since 2011. That alone makes him the absolute top favorite. There he simply plays a class better and shaves most opponents.

In 2023, the young generation with Carlos Alcaraz, Jannik Sinner and Holger Rune emerged more and more strongly. What do you think you can do in Melbourne?

Kohlschreiber: With Rune you have to say that he made an extremely clever decision to take Boris Becker into his team. I also had the pleasure of playing with Boris at the Davis Cup and I speak from experience. Rune has realized that he is a hothead and that his emotions sometimes boil over. I’ve noticed for myself that Boris is extremely good at channeling emotions into the right channels at the right moment. I am convinced that it is extremely good for Holger. I’m excited to see how he builds on his final appearance in Brisbane.

Becker about Rune: “Then he plays faster than 98 percent”

Kohlschreiber: We don’t need to talk about Alcaraz, he’s a super talent. But he hasn’t played a match since the ATP Finals. So let’s wait and see how it starts. Sinner is a damn hot potato. He had an incredible second half of 2023 and is definitely a candidate for a Grand Slam final this year. Until now, I still sometimes had the feeling that the best-of-five matches demanded too much from him physically and that he was a bit tired in the later rounds and could no longer play his best tennis. But all three youngsters are extremely exciting to watch. I’m looking forward to it and hope that I’ll be able to comment on it sometime.

Is there anyone else who needs to be on the list?

Kohlschreiber: Even though things have become a bit quieter around him lately and his performances haven’t been quite as brilliant – Casper Ruud. We’re talking about someone who reached three Grand Slam finals in one year. And he’s only 25. I’m excited about him.

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#Australian #Open #Philipp #Kohlschreiber #interview #Angie #Kerber #fighting #spirit

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