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August 4, 2014

Milos Raonic


GREG SHARKO:テつ Good afternoon, everyone.テつ Welcome to the Milos Raonic press conference this afternoon.テつ Before we begin, we have a special presentation with the ATP executive chairman, Chris Kermode.テつ He will present Milos a top‑10 recognition award that goes to all top‑10 players.
Milos, as you know, is career high No. 6 after winning the title yesterday in Washington, and last year of course became the first Canadian to break into the top 10 in the Emirates ATP rankings.テつ So at this time we will have Mr.Chris Kermode present the award to Milos.
(Presentation of award.)
GREG SHARKO:テつ Questions, please.

Q.テつ In terms of special moments thus far in your career, where would you rank playing in the first all‑Canadian final?テつ And did you get a chance to speak with Vasek after your victory?
MILOS RAONIC:テつ I'd say it's probably maybe, I would say, the second‑biggest thing for Canadian tennis.テつ In that aspect, I think probably Wimbledon, the collection of everybody doing well, was bigger.テつ But I'd probably say this is the second‑biggest thing, two Canadians facing off in the finals of an event and also with the hype being built around this tournament, as well, Canadians coming home.テつ It's up there.
We spoke a little bit, but we didn't have a chance to speak much because we were rushing to get on flights to get back over here, because, as you know, yesterday is already sort of behind us and you have to get ready to play for your next rounds here.

Q.テつ What do you think the difference was in the match yesterday?
MILOS RAONIC:テつ I think I just played well.テつ I started off well from the start.テつ I had break chances in every game and break chances that I had good looks at in all the games.
So it's hard. テつI think when I'm playing that way I think I can deal with whoever and whichever situation.

Q.テつ I know growing up, Wimbledon was probably a big tournament for you.テつ I had a chance to talk to Casey last week.テつ I just wanted to find out how big is the Rogers Cup for you like as a child when you were growing up?
MILOS RAONIC:テつ Yeah, it was the only tournament I went to as a spectator on the ATP Tour.テつ I never really traveled to any other ones unless it was for competition kind of purposes.
So I remember when it was just down a few blocks away down the street, they used to have like under‑12 kids playing for 10 minutes before the matches.テつ I did that once.テつ Rogers Cup memories back at that old venue were really big for me.
I always tried to find a way‑‑ Casey always wanted me training that week, but I'd always try to find a way to sneak away to the tournament.テつ It is definitely a big tournament for me and the only one I really attended.

Q.テつ As a player who has gone through the same progression that Vasek is going through now, what have you seen with the growth of his game?テつ What have you seen in the growth of his game over the past few months and years?
MILOS RAONIC:テつ Well, he's consistently getting better, I think.テつ Every month you sort of take I guess a survey or a look at it, and you'll see he's getting better.テつ There is always that constant improvement.
Obviously it was hard for him the last few months with injury, but I think it showed a great value for him, the doubles with that Wimbledon, and gave him maybe a perspective and confidence to really be able to be playing this well that quickly.
I think he's just constantly getting better, and most importantly you see he's playing consistently a lot of weeks making quarters and he's beating the guys he should be.テつ That's the first steps you need to make.テつ That's how you can see that somebody is making progress in a developmental stage.

Q.テつ At Wimbledon, IBM was tracking advanced statistics, everything from aggressive shot‑making to how much you're moving on the court.テつ Were you looking at that data, and is that something you could use between matches to kind of make in‑tournament adjustments?
MILOS RAONIC:テつ I don't think necessarily I'd look at myself in that perspective.テつ I think more so the tendencies of my opponents and then look at it that way.
I think when it comes to me and what I need to do, I know myself, but more importantly the coaches and team I have around me know me really well and they can tell me things.
Maybe if I didn't get to see somebody's match or see what was going on throughout because we played at similar times, I would definitely use those kind of numbers to see what the tendencies are and maybe what habits may be displayed.
But then again, they only have so much value because people could definitely change something around playing me, as well.

Q.テつ You lost to Federer in the semis at Wimbledon.テつ There's a potential here for a rematch in the semis here in Toronto.テつ I know no tennis player likes to look ahead, but how eager are you for a rematch?
MILOS RAONIC:テつ To tell you the truth, I'm only really at this point worried about Wednesday.テつ I know that what I have learned over time, spending on tour, last week means nothing.テつ This week I start at zero.
So I have to find my level of tennis here this week and I have to get through each day that I can.テつ If I can be at that semifinal position, I would definitely approach things differently than I did about a month ago and hopefully deal with things much better than I did a month and a half or month ago.

Q.テつ In the month or so since Wimbledon when Canadian tennis jumped to a entirely different level, is there an off‑court moment that stands out to you where you sat back and thought, wow, this has just gotten huge?
MILOS RAONIC:テつ I think probably the coverage of it all, but I sort of, with a purpose, when I got away from Wimbledon stayed away completely just because I was very frustrated with Wimbledon.テつ I was very frustrated with a lot of things.
Obviously when I look at a big picture there are a lot of great things from it from myself, but I was very frustrated with the way things ended off.テつ So I disconnected myself.テつ When I got back to training, I sort of trained away from a tennis atmosphere as well.テつ I was training in the sort of gym I wouldn't normally use just to sort of be able to focus on myself, use that sort of anger that I sort of built up across what happened at the end of Wimbledon and motivate myself, and then I only really got back into it and I was already in Washington by that time.

Q.テつ When you say a nontennis atmosphere, what does that mean?
MILOS RAONIC:テつ I was training at the training grounds that the Toronto FC uses, so there was really no tennis players around.テつ I was only around soccer players.
Therefore, I was sort of isolated from everything that might be day‑to‑day tennis news.

Q.テつ Did that training involve no actual tennis?
MILOS RAONIC:テつ I think I hit 20 minutes, practiced my serve for that first pitch, and probably hit maybe another hour twice.テつ Came here to the Rexall Centre.

Q.テつ When casual fans think about you, I think they still associate you with the serve.テつ Is that something that you think might start changing over time, and how has the serve even changed in the last year or so, or has it?
MILOS RAONIC:テつ Will it start changing?テつ I don't know.テつ Do I mind?テつ Not at all.テつ I think even when I face off against opponents it's something that gives them discomfort, and if that's how people see it, I'm fine with that.
My job is to go out there and win matches, and that's what I take the most pride in.テつ I have been doing that consistently better and better this year.

Q.テつ Has the serve improved or have you changed it at all?
MILOS RAONIC:テつ It has improved.テつ I haven't changed really much.テつ I have put more focus on it, I would say, just getting out there and hitting more serves.テつ I think my numbers on my serve have improved, and as well the way I back up my serve, it's just been more difficult for my opponents.

Q.テつ What do you mean by "backup"?
MILOS RAONIC:テつ The way I build my game, the first shot after my serve and so forth.テつ I think my holding numbers are higher and winning on second serve points and saving breakpoints.テつ I have a better understanding what I need to do.

Q.テつ Can you talk to us about the Kids Tennis Campaign with Tennis Canada and why is it so important for you to be a role model for young people here in Canada and the game of tennis?
MILOS RAONIC:テつ I think the campaigns have been received well.テつ I think they have a good sense of comedy to them, and it's important to get kids involved in tennis.テつ But I think just nowadays with technology being so consuming of people's times and of kids' times, you see it all the time, you might be a parent and the easiest way to keep your kid busy might be to put an iPad in their hand.
To get really kids involved and active is great, but if they can join tennis and really see the beauty of a sport and maybe want to pursue something more or if they don't that's completely fine, but just to get the participation from kids, I think that's where it starts and that stuff will carry out through generations.
If somebody participates in something throughout their entire life, I'm sure their kids will be will be around it, and maybe they will want to participate as well and that can only sort of cause a ripple effect.
Q.テつ It's been a year since you have broken into the top 10.テつ You got the trophy today from Chris.テつ Do you have your sights set now on the top 5?
MILOS RAONIC:テつ Yeah, it's great, that kind of recognition.テつ It's great all the things that have happened in this past year.テつ I think the progress I have made, the development I've been fortunate to go through.テつ Yeah, the sights pretty much go down now.テつ It's 5, 4, 3, whatever comes after that.テつ It's about getting better each week and figuring out a way to win matches.

Q.テつ What are the one or two best matches you have played this year?
MILOS RAONIC:テつ I played great against Novak in Rome.テつ And I'd probably say another very important one, for myself ‑‑that's a good question‑‑ I'd probably say getting through that first match ‑‑I didn't play my best tennis, but getting through that first match mentally in Indian Wells after that injury was very key for me and gave me a lot of answers that I was able to carry through for the rest of all the tournaments I played.

Q.テつ I was speaking to fans outside.テつ They are so excited to see you play.テつ What's that mean to you to play in a place filled with Canadian fans?
MILOS RAONIC:テつ It's great.テつ I look forward to it, as much as at the same time, you sort of try to tune that out and try to treat it like any other match, not to let that overtake you, that atmosphere.
Playing at home, playing with that kind of energy, it helps you when things are going well and helps you even more if things aren't going well, and I look forward to feeding off that.テつ It's the tournament I would say I look forward to probably the most as far as atmosphere goes and one of the more, probably one of the most important tournaments to me and my schedule.
Q.テつ The run for you guys last year in the Davis Cup, how has 2013's run in the Davis Cup helped out your 2014?
MILOS RAONIC:テつ It helped me out a lot of ways.テつ Helped me out even in 2013.テつ It helped me out when necessarily I wasn't playing my best, helped me get a lot of confidence, a lot of matches, a lot of sort of behind me.
Then later on, it's just helped me out to learn ways to win, especially with how few three‑out‑of‑five‑set matches we get depending on how you do at slams.テつ It definitely helps out learning how to play that way.
We have a great‑‑ even though the setup in Davis Cup is a little bit different with coaching on court, there necessarily isn't always too much involvement if you sort of understand and things go well and you can always learn that and use that to get better in the way you deal with those kind of longer situations in Grand Slams.

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