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March 20, 2015

Milos Raonic


M. RAONIC/R. Nadal
4‑6, 7‑6, 7‑5

THE MODERATOR:テつ Questions, please.

Q.テつ How do you feel?テつ What was it like playing that match?
MILOS RAONIC:テつ Yeah, I feel obviously all sorts of good.テつ Obviously there was a lot of up and down through that match, and all I could ask of myself was just keep competing and hope to find a way.
I got fortunate a few times and it worked out.

Q.テつ What do you think has been in your game in the last year that's allowed you to play a match this well today?
MILOS RAONIC:テつ I think it's just constant improvement.テつ I think I have a better understanding dealing with experiences of playing Roger, Rafa, and Novak many times over the last 12 months specifically.テつ Because I have been always sort of pushing to the later stages of the bigger tournaments, and normally it's them that I'm playing at those moments.
Just give me a sense of, Okay, what do I want to do different this time than the last few times?テつ It worked out today.

Q.テつ Does that experience of playing those top players, does it translate into more calm in the tighter moments, or is it just about tactics and knowledge and things like that?
MILOS RAONIC:テつ Well, I think when you have knowledge, when you have an understanding, it gives you some kind of peace.テつ It gives you some kind of calm during a match that you can really believe and understand what you need to do to find the solutions.

Q.テつ You said you wanted to give yourself a sense of what can you do differently about these guys or Nadal.テつ What did you do differently?
MILOS RAONIC:テつ Well, I think it's having a better, say, match judgment of when to sort of step up, when you can sort of hold back.テつ What moments it's just good enough to play it through and not get too caught up in the person you're playing and respect them, but not give them too much overwhelming respect where it affects your tennis.

Q.テつ Three match points.テつ What was your feeling on those occasions, mental approach, to each of those?テつ Because looked like you remained pretty calm.
MILOS RAONIC:テつ To be honest with you, at the moments when I was playing those match points it didn't really feel like match points.テつ It was just like another point that I was trying to get through.
I can only remember one that he sort of gifted me a second‑serve return with his forehand, but I don't even remember the last two.テつ It just sort of going through the paces at that moment of what do I need to do now, not really signifying it as a match point.

Q.テつ On a sort of lighter note it's about to be your one‑year anniversary with the sleeve.テつ Can you reflect on the time you two have spent together and what it's brought to your game?
MILOS RAONIC:テつ The sleeve's been loyal.テつ (Laughter.)テつ It's all you can ask for from a significant other, and it makes me feel good.

Q.テつ It seems like you always bottled up, no fist pumps or anything.テつ Are you happy, or are you making a conscious effort to bottle up?
MILOS RAONIC:テつ No, just the way I am.テつ It's really great what I was able to do today and I'm very happy with it, but I don't let myself get caught up, because this isn't where it ends, you know.テつ There is a lot more that I want to achieve this week.
So it's always about what do I need to do next to get better.テつ It's always been like that.テつ Not just throughout tournaments but throughout ‑‑ when I have done well and I've gotten my ranking up and had new milestones there, it's always, Okay, what's next?テつ It's just the way I think.

Q.テつ Can you talk about the processes of playing Roger, especially playing him after a great win today after Rafa?テつ How do you get yourself up and ready to play another legend?
MILOS RAONIC:テつ I think I have a good understanding of what I need to do against Roger.テつ Obviously that's the easiest part, understanding it, rather than doing it.
But I think the last three times we have played I have sort of been able to change course a little bit, especially when it was important to me in Paris.テつ Even the other two I didn't play well at the start of the matches, in London and in Brisbane, but I was able to find a way to fight myself back into those matches and give myself some opportunities.
I've just got to keep calm, keep collected, and just try to figure out solutions and adjustments as they come.

Q.テつ What do you think it would say for you and your progress if you can get back‑to‑back wins against players like Roger and Rafa?
MILOS RAONIC:テつ Obviously it would be a great thing, but that's just a sidenote.テつ It doesn't matter what it means.テつ It's just about winning tomorrow, trying to find a way to win.

Q.テつ When you look back on that Brisbane match, what were your big takeaways?テつ It was great match; well competed; you were hitting the ball massively; just came up a bit short.テつ What was the takeaway from it?
MILOS RAONIC:テつ Yeah, especially like playing one of the top guys, it was the first time I really, being a set and a break down, gave myself sort of a second breath of chance in a match.
So that was a big thing to take away from it.テつ It was also important in the sense that for most of the part it was my mobility, my movement, and my groundstroking that kept me alive in that match and gave me opportunities at the beginning of the third set.テつ I don't think I served that great that match, so I think it gives me something that I had I wanted to do differently this time around.

Q.テつ Everybody was talking about the potential semifinal with the Big 4.テつ Is it nice to upset the apple cart a little bit?
MILOS RAONIC:テつ I guess, because you just want to prove people wrong in that sense.テつ It has some good feel to that.
But I can't control what people say.テつ I just try to sort of get in my own system, in my own bubble, and focus on things that I do have control over.

Q.テつ These four guys have been sort of represented as being really firm at the top.テつ Do you see them as a group still, sort of a ceiling you have to break through in order to make that next step, or is it all just every man for himself?
MILOS RAONIC:テつ I think it's every man for himself.テつ I think you have had probably in the last 18 months different storylines for all four guys.テつ I don't think it's been the same storyline like it was for many years before.
So it's an individual sport.テつ I don't think those guys are like, Hey, guys, let's make semifinals, all four of us, this week.
But it's going out there one at a time.テつ You don't have to be the best player in the tournament every day.テつ You just have to be better than the player on the other side of the net.

Q.テつ For a while Rafa was the top player that you liked playing the least.テつ What do you feel today?テつ Is there one player that you like less to play than others, or who do you feel more or less comfortable with?
MILOS RAONIC:テつ I don't think it's a comfort.テつ I think it's just Rafa is a player that is just so different from anybody else that just demands probably the biggest adjustment to.テつ Out of those Big 4 or 3, you know, he's the left‑handed player; he's the guy that's going to try to get the ball up on you; he's the one that will actually stand really far back on important moments, as well, you know.テつ He will do all those things.
So I think he is the most uncomfortable because he is the most different out of the pack.テつ But obviously all three, four guys just make life difficult for everybody just in their own way.

Q.テつ Wondering when he's standing pretty much behind the line judges to return your serve, do you ever think going underhand?
MILOS RAONIC:テつ No.テつ (Smiling.)テつ I think I respect my serve enough that overhand is the way I should go.

Q.テつ It would probably work though.
MILOS RAONIC:テつ Maybe it would, but it would be pretty ugly if it didn't.テつ (Smiling.)

Q.テつ Return of serve.テつ Sometimes he stood way back behind Indian Wells, and other times he moved right up on the baseline.テつ Were you aware he was changing it up on the return position on your serve?
MILOS RAONIC:テつ Yeah, you could tell, especially‑‑ I don't know if it was just because the shadow came over the court the ball starts bouncing less.
At that point, the temperature dropped.テつ That's when he was standing closer in; second set most of it he was standing pretty far back.
But he was changing it all the time.テつ I think it's the right thing to do against, I would say, a big server.テつ Especially if they get in a rhythm.テつ To make them think.テつ Even if it's not a big server, you do it pretty much against everybody.テつ There were a few second serve returns that I'd go back on.テつ There were some I would try to stay in on.テつ You try to give yourself a chance and put yourself in the best position to win.

Q.テつ Is Nadal the toughest player to play, to face physically?テつ That was a long match on a hot day.テつ Would he be the guy that you would not pick out of the top guys ahead of you to face with length of match and as hot as it was?
MILOS RAONIC:テつ No.テつ I think Novak disturbs me just as much.テつ Roger can get pretty exhausting because he plays quick in between points so you never really get a gasp.
I think they all have their ways.テつ They all know how to tire a person out or how to make life difficult.テつ They just go about it in different ways.
I think Rafa just really puts out physically and emotionally more expressions to everybody, the effort than the other guys, but I think they all just work just as hard and try just as hard in matches.

Q.テつ But the effect on you.
MILOS RAONIC:テつ No, but I think it's the same.テつ I think it can seem that way because of the way he expresses himself.

Q.テつ When you see players standing that far back against your serve, does it kind of give you confidence that they have to do that?テつ They have to stand behind and they have to, you know, wait and try and get your serve back?
MILOS RAONIC:テつ Yeah, it does.テつ It gives you sort of a comfort knowing that you're disturbing their rhythm.
But at the same time, it makes you just a little bit more conscious on what you need to do.テつ Obviously you approach those moments just a little bit different than you approach if somebody is standing in all the time.
You just try to sort of, as much as you can in sport, calculate what you need to do.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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