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January 9, 2015

Sam Groth


M. RAONIC/S. Groth
7‑6, 3‑6, 7‑6

THE MODERATOR:  Questions, please.

Q.  Tiebreaks made the difference?
SAM GROTH:¬† Yeah.¬† Actually, I think ‑‑ I mean, it's hard when you got two guys serving so well‑‑ but I actually think I had the better of the match until both tiebreakers.
I think that's the next step for me.  You know, against these better guys, they don't give you anything in the big moments.
I maybe gave him one or two points.  Someone with a quality serve like Milos, you can't afford to do that.
No, I mean, obviously it's disappointing right now.  Again, it's a big step forward for me.  I felt like for a lot of the match I was a better player.  I was creating more chances.
Doesn't make it any easier, but at the same time, against a top 10 player, it's another good step for me.

Q.  Nerves?  Pressure?  What do you think in the two tiebreakers, why did you make those errors?
SAM GROTH:  No, I mean, I didn't honestly really feel nervous.  I felt pretty good.  Crowd was behind me and I was enjoying it out there.
I got a bit stuck in the last tiebreak.  He hit the net cord on the return and I got a bit stuck with a forehand; was chipping it back deep and got myself under the pump then.
Yeah, like I said, he's got a quality serve.  You get the mini break and all of a sudden the pressure valve is released off him.  I thought up until that stage through the second and third sets, I sort of really had him under the pump.  That was sort of the point that let the pressure off a little bit.

Q.  He got no break points off your serve; I think maybe you got five but only converted one.
SAM GROTH:¬† Yeah, I mean, I think, to be honest, they were all in the one set, so it doesn't really ‑‑ at the stage where I had three of them it was 4‑1 to go 5‑1, so I don't think it was a huge point obviously for confidence and for maybe getting on top of him.¬† It would have been great to get a second break in that second set, but...
You know, I think in the third set I didn't get any break points.¬† I had Love‑30 early and maybe two 15‑30s; one of them I missed a second serve return.
But, you know, I don't think those break points were probably that important at that stage.

Q.  He's top 10 in the world and you came that close.  Do you think about it or overthink now or let it go or analyze and see what you can do better?  What?
SAM GROTH:  You know, I think from my point of view, again, a lot of what I do is based around my service games, and I thought I handled my side of things in terms of my serve very, very well.
Like I said, it's just a point here or there.  Couple points in the tiebreak.  That one forehand where I hit a chip when I got myself in a bit of trouble.  The first set tiebreak wasn't great.
You know, I felt like if I had been able to get up a set as well.  Especially he's top 10.  The pressure was probably all on him out there.  He is probably expected to beat me, and has beaten me in the past.
All of us will go out and we'll look at it and we'll work out how I can hopefully convert a few of those this year.

Q.  Must be feeling pretty well set up for the summer though.
SAM GROTH:  Yeah, if you said you come in here and beat Lleyton and make quarters have a chance to maybe beat a guy who's top 10 in the world, obviously it would be a great week.
Obviously disappointed to have lost right now.  Yeah, I think it sets me up for a good summer and hopefully a good year.

Q.  Did you take anything from John Millman's performance last night?
SAM GROTH:¬† It was a quick turnaround for me.¬† I played 7‑6 in the third yesterday; finished about 6:00; didn't get out of here until probably 8:30 once I was done with all my commitments and stuff.
I was up at 6:30 and back in here at 7:45 this morning, so for me to stay up and watch Johnny last night would've been a bit rough.
But, yeah, it's great.  I think Johnny and then Ducks.  Obviously Ducks will be traveling a lot this year.  He's doing great.  I've said it, I'll say again:  We've been saying for a long time now there are Aussies coming through, there are young guys coming through.  Until it happens people question what's happening in the system and around and that sort of thing.
But it's great that it's happening here because it makes everybody take notice.  If it happens overseas, okay.  But right now we are in everyone's eye in Australia.  It's great.
On the back of what happened last year, we had a few guys break through:  myself, Nick, sort of, you know, doing well.  This is our one time of the year to promote tennis in Australia and promote ourselves in Australia.
I think all the young guys, myself included, are doing a good job.

Q.  Bernie seems to be looking a bit more focused than before.  That's the perception.  Is that yours?
SAM GROTH:  He's an interesting character, Bernie.  Never know what you're going to get.
I was in Bogotá when he won last year.  He's a great player, really.  I mean, he has his flaws, but everyone does.  I'm not perfect; no one is perfect.  If he can knuckle down he's one of the most talented guys out there.
Hopefully for him and for Australian tennis he keeps doing well.

Q.  What about Raonic's game?  You almost knocked him off today.  How do you see him going into the Australian Open and pushing further into that tournament?
SAM GROTH:  Yeah, it's early in the year.  Maybe he thinks he can play a bit better.  I'm not sure.  He'll probably tell you guys what he thinks about what he's going to do.  He's got a quality weapon in his serve, and his forehand is a massive weapon as well.
He made a quarter and semi of slams last year, so he is going to be confidence going into a slam.  That's those top guys targets, so I don't know how he's feeling or what his thoughts are, but he's always going to be dangerous and tough.

Q.  You yourself your serve is your power weapon, and Raonic has the similar weapon.  Are you trying to work him out in a way that you serve?
SAM GROTH:¬† No, I mean, I don't want to compare me to him, really.¬† I mean, I wasn't really thinking‑‑ I was sort of trying to react.¬† Obviously if it's a serve that big, if you start guessing ‑‑ I mean, I love when guys start guessing on my serve.¬† Start thinking, Oh, he's going to hit here; he's going to hit here.
You pick up little things during the match and maybe you're serving that one better so he might go to it.  Soon as you start guessing and working out what I guy is doing against a big server, I love when I see a guy jumping around and trying to guess my serve.
All of a sudden you're coming one out of three possible options maybe.  I was just trying to react and stay up in the court and get as many back as I could and build pressure that way.  For a period there it was working well.

Q.  You obviously have the respect of the Top 10 guys.  How far can you go?
SAM GROTH:  I want to get top 50.  That's the first goal.  I don't know.  I'm going to keep building and getting better and building on my game.  I feel like my forehand is not a liability anymore.  I've improved a lot, a lot further along than most people ever thought I would get to, and I don't think I've reached my peak yet.

Q.  That kind of form you showed, you would be hoping for second, third, fourth round or beyond?
SAM GROTH:  Yeah, I mean, I think I've started to step up a few tournaments now.  Obviously still not consistently, but here is a great start.  Yeah, you can get some tough draws.  You can draw Novak.  Hopefully you can win.
Thing is, with my serve, not saying I can out and beat those guys, but I feel like I can get myself in a lot of matches against a lot of player no matter what's going an.
All week I have been serving high 70%.  If I can keep doing that I am going to cause a lot of problems.
I won a round in New York, so I've sort of got this first round monkey off my back a little bit.  I enjoy playing on these courts and in front of big crowds.  For me, now I want to go down to Melbourne.
I don't think it's possible for me to go second, third, fourth round.  But if I am playing well and I win a few matches and build confidence, who knows.

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