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July 8, 2016

Milos Raonic

London, England

M. RAONIC/R. Federer
6‑3, 6‑7, 4‑6, 7‑5, 6‑3

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. How would you describe the emotions that you felt when you won this match and saw Roger Federer walking off in defeat as you walked off in victory?
MILOS RAONIC: I was very self‑centered at that point. I wasn't really thinking about Roger. I was very focused on myself, proud of the way I was able to pull through that match.
You know, it quickly also shifted to, Okay, let's get the things in order, let's get myself ready to play the final here.

Q. This is your first victory against Roger in a Grand Slam. What does it mean to you?
MILOS RAONIC: Yeah, it's definitely a great feeling, from many different aspects. Obviously what happened here two years ago, I was very disappointed with. Today I sort of persevered. I was sort of plugging away. I was struggling through many parts of the match. He gave me a little opening towards the end of the fourth. I made the most of it. Then I sort of tried to run away with it.
I did a lot of things well. The attitude kept me in the match. I think that's what made the biggest difference. I was quite vocal, but I was always positive. I was always looking for a solution.

Q. Talk about what this is going to mean for tennis in Canada. A lot of people will be watching on Sunday. What do you say to them and players back home?
MILOS RAONIC: It's a pretty special feeling for myself. But I think it's a pretty special recognition to the state of Canadian tennis. It's not just me. I'm not sure how Denis did today, but I know he saved himself in the second set. Before I went on court, I was watching that match.
There's many people doing well on this stage, the junior stages. There's a lot to look forward to. There's a lot of prospect. There's a lot of hope. There's a lot of positive future in Canadian tennis.
It's great to sort of be at the center and front of that come Sunday. I'm glad that I've sort of been leading this charge, the first one to break through and really put these things together.
But I'm by no means done.

Q. How do you describe why or explain why you won compared to the match of two years ago? What's the different Milos Raonic today compared to two years ago?
MILOS RAONIC: Two years ago I bottled up all the difficulties I had on court and never got it out. Today I found a way to keep plugging away, keep myself in the match, then sort of turn it around. I was quite more vocal and a lot more positive on court.

Q. Can you go back to the fourth set. You looked really in trouble in this set. How did it turn? Was there a point where you felt it was going to get better on your serve or your return?
MILOS RAONIC: That game, I believe he had 40‑Love at 5‑6, or at least 40‑15. Even earlier in that game, I hit a few good returns, especially on second serves, which I was struggling with. Then he sort of gifted me two points, gave me a look. Then I kept sort of plugging away. I didn't take the first chance or the second, I believe I took the third. I sort of just kept trying to do the right things for me.
A few of the times I was missing, but at least I was hitting the ball with a little bit more purpose at that point. I think it just sort of put the pressure on him and let me sort of get a little bit of the antsiness out. Then I was able to play well from there on out.

Q. How much of the myth of Roger Federer is on the other side of the net and not just another player you might be playing?
MILOS RAONIC: Yeah, it's something you got to try to put aside very quickly. He has the most decorated achievements and successes in tennis, more than anybody by a good amount at this point.
You're playing who Roger is today, not who he's been the past few years. So you try to focus in on that and what you need to do, try not to spend too much time and attention thinking about him. Especially for myself, I got to always worry about myself first.

Q. Has John McEnroe been a big help in making you more vocal on court, because he was the world's best at that?
MILOS RAONIC: That's for sure.
I think it's something that we've all been working together at. I think he's definitely put an emphasis on it. A lot of times I felt in matches that I need to sort of calm myself down to let things from getting out of control, I feel like when I get positive. I can get negative quickly as well.
He sort of implemented it in the sense of from how he's seen me play. There's no, Too calm for you, you tend to be too calm, try to get energy out of you, try to get it out of you on court and leave it all out there, try to get the most out of yourself.

Q. Has he made you a bit angry?
MILOS RAONIC: I haven't been angry. I've been quite positive. I think it's more of a positive attitude. Keep plugging away, things will figure itself out.

Q. What was it like having your parents looking on today, and the role they played from first introducing you to the sport to where you are today?
MILOS RAONIC: They've been the most significant role. I think the thing I'm most grateful about is they've always, since day one, is they've told me they don't know anything about tennis. They've put me in the hands of people from a young age that they believed could help me and sort of stayed away from it.
They have always driven me to tennis, they've picked me up from practice, all these kind of things. They tried to be the best they can. But even to this day, they have not given me a piece of advice when it comes to my game.

Q. They never played themselves?
MILOS RAONIC: No. I can probably maybe remember one weekend where they played on the local courts that I watched. Other than that, I doubt it.

Q. What's your earliest memory you have of tennis?
MILOS RAONIC: I know I was signed up for sort of a March break spring bake camp [sic] when I was eight years old. I really don't remember that. I remember sort of the bubble the first time.
My earliest memories was when I tried out for this coach, Casey, in Toronto. I wasn't good enough to be in the program then. I was just short of nine years old. Me and my father started on the ball machine every morning at 6 in the morning and 9 at night, because that's when court fees were affordable enough for us. That's when they gave us a deal.
I remember that ball machine pretty well.

Q. Your dad just fed the machine?
MILOS RAONIC: I wouldn't stop for two hours. I wouldn't take any steps. I was very lazy. I would hit tennis balls from the standing position for two hours. He would walk around and keep filling up the machine so I wouldn't have to stop.

Q. Did it make any difference that McEnroe was in the commentary box? Does it matter to you that he's doing something else?
MILOS RAONIC: Yeah, it doesn't really make a difference by any means. I understood that when we started. That was one of the things that was really beneficial for the way we've gone about things.
I remember when I played Jack in the third round, he messaged me and said, Hey, they want me to call your match. Do you mind? If you need, I'll sort of request to call another match.
I said, I don't mind at all. Hopefully I will have to face the situation where you can't call any other match.
He's been a positive influence. I've dealt with that. That's the way it is. It's the terms we came to. From the beginning, we had a clear understanding.

Q. It looks like Andy might be on course for a fairly straightforward victory. Is there any concern in your mind having played a physical and emotional five‑setter you will be able to recover and Andy might have a bit of an advantage maybe?
MILOS RAONIC: No. Anyways, playing five sets, my matches tend to be quite quick. For me it's really about just keeping an internal focus on getting things done. I feel pretty good after. I know I'll feel much better in 48 hours or however long I have.
I think you disregard that very quickly. It's a slam final. A lot of adrenaline, all this kind of stuff takes over and you keep fighting through.

Q. How big a breakthrough moment is this for your career, to reach a slam final, trying to break into that top group of players?
MILOS RAONIC: Hopefully I make it count even more. I have a great opportunity on Sunday. That's what I'm definitely going to be looking forward to it.
There was a significant point for me coming back from two sets to love in the fourth round. Both Carlos and John took me aside and said, This can change your career at this point.
So hopefully it continues that way.

Q. When Roger stumbled there and fell, it looked like he might have actually hurt himself. You're standing at the net. What is going through your mind? Were you concerned he might have to withdraw at that point?
MILOS RAONIC: No. I was actually thinking, Where do I think the guy is going to serve the first serve? I was pretty quickly on the other side. Obviously, make sure he's okay. For that moment that I did stop, grab a drink, I was thinking, Which serve do I cover?

Q. You've gotten questions about McEnroe here, Paris even when you announced it. Just wondering if this at all bothers you that this guy has been on your team for a couple of weeks and might get credit for you winning Wimbledon, if that happens?
MILOS RAONIC: At the end of the day, I get to win Wimbledon. Who cares?

Q. In terms of the tactical approach you had today, you came to the net quite a lot, but maybe not as much as people expected. How was the balance for you?
MILOS RAONIC: I got down on myself because I wasn't coming forward enough. He was doing a great job, especially when I was serving hard into the body. He was hitting some solid, deep returns, not with much on it. It's hard from that point with one hand to hit it back.
I hesitated a few times. I think only later I really started letting go and moving forward like I should have. Definitely something that I will incorporate more further on.

Q. I know Carlos is a former No.1 player, Grand Slam winner, mentally very tough. He said after your match today he was very I am previous and printout that at the end of the fourth set you were very strong mentally. In this aspect, which influence has he had on your game, the mental part?
MILOS RAONIC: Yeah, he's been a great influence. He's helped me a lot with understanding how I need to go about things, what I need to get out of myself, whether that be through trial and error or through discussion.
Obviously that's been my biggest asset through this tournament and through the Queen's tournament, especially after I finished off in Paris a bit disappointed. It's been a great asset for me. It's what's helped me be as successful as I have over the last few weeks. It's definitely the biggest step forward I've made.

Q. You've certainly played Andy a number of times. You are familiar with each other's games. What is the biggest challenge of facing him, and facing him here in the Wimbledon final?
MILOS RAONIC: Well, obviously it's a challenge either way. He does a lot of things well. I think the biggest challenge for me, which I felt was the thing I want to happen the least, or repeat itself the least from Queen's, is I got sucked into his game. I didn't play on my terms.
That's going to be the most important thing for me.

Q. Take a minute and talk about how you worked on your career, aside from the coaching, but what other things have you worked on in terms of mental toughness?
MILOS RAONIC: I've tried to improve every single aspect from the way I eat, to the way I prepare before practices, before matches, in the off‑season, physically, mentally. I've engaged a lot of people when it's come to this. I travel with a pretty good‑sized group. Sometimes too many people where it can get tiring.
We did come here cutting it down quite a bit. But I have a lot of people that have a lot of input and sort of feedback for what I can do better at every single stage.
I've spared no expense in trying to really get the most out of myself.

Q. Diet‑wise, what is your approach now?
MILOS RAONIC: I just watch what I eat. I'm a lot more aware of what certain foods do for you, which foods are going to cause inflammation, which foods are going to be good for you, when you should eat, how you should eat, quantities, all these kind of things. I don't think I'm at the peak stage, but I've been optimally getting better and better.

Q. A lot of credit has been given to John McEnroe for supporting you, coaching you. But Ricardo Piatti has been for a longer time with you. Before Federer said that you didn't play much different against him as you played in Brisbane. You were already playing the way you played today. What is your feeling about it? What does Piatti bring? What does McEnroe bring that Piatti doesn't?
MILOS RAONIC: I think Ricardo has been phenomenal for me in giving me a foundation. From the foundation point, since I started working with him, has helped me improve significantly, technically, all these kind of things.
When you look at the three guys that I have around me when it comes to tennis strictly, Ricardo is the only coach from day one. Carlos is a former player. John is a former player that also does many other things. Ricardo adjusted to me from the beginning. I think that's the thing, because he's dealt with so many players, he knows how to adjust. With other guys, it's going to be how things are going to mesh and so forth.
Ricardo has given me a lot of base, foundation. He's the one I spend most weeks with probably when I'm away from tournaments because he's the guy that's completely okay with being on the court for six hours. He can do that for seven days a week just because that's what he's grown up loving to do.

Q. You mentioned that you struggled quite a bit before you were able to turn things around late in the fourth. Were there any elements of your performance that you weren't pleased with today?
MILOS RAONIC: I think I was a little bit too stubborn on the return. I was missing too many second‑serve returns. I was struggling finding the balance on being aggressive enough and getting enough second‑serve returns in. I made a lot of mistakes, especially off the forehand side.
That sort of changed after. I sort of gave myself a bit more time, started leaning into the ball a bit more, sort of letting it go. It took a few trial and errors, then I started feeling and becoming more and more comfortable with it.

Q. In Australia you were playing really good against Andy, then some unfortunate injury happened and maybe slowed you down. Could you recall a little bit about that match, maybe the disappointment of that match.
MILOS RAONIC: Well, the disappointment I've sort of put behind me. At least I've tried to. But I feel like I was playing some great tennis back then. I feel like I'm playing better tennis now.
I just want to keep sort of moving forward. I have a challenge ahead of me in two days. I think what happened then, obviously I'll look back, try to understand what I did well, what didn't go so well for me, and try to move forward.

Q. When you say you want to play Andy on your terms, do you mean in the way you play, the way you are on court?
MILOS RAONIC: I'm up there 7‑6, and I have a point for 4‑1, I believe, in a game I end up getting broken by a close miss. I wasn't disappointed with that point. That can happen. I was disappointed with how I dealt with things after that. I sort of went into my shell, didn't put myself out there enough. I think that's the thing I want to avoid the most.

Q. Will you watch that match again?
MILOS RAONIC: We've discussed it quite a bit. I don't know if I'd watch it again. But definitely recall some things. I can remember that match pretty well.

Q. When you said at Queen's that you hoped for a rematch in a few weeks, to what extent did you actually think at that point it was realistic you would get through to the final here?
MILOS RAONIC: I think I believed it more than I believed it probably at any other stage of entering a tournament.

Q. You really thought it would happen?
MILOS RAONIC: I felt I was doing a lot of things well. I was putting the pieces together. I was just hoping they would make some good music for me at that point. It's come together nicely. There's obviously been bumps throughout this week. I've overcome a lot of different things. Those things have made me stronger.
Now I have an even bigger tool set to sort of face that challenge on Sunday than I did a few Sundays ago.

Q. When you think of Andy Murray's career and style of play, what strikes you most about each?
MILOS RAONIC: Well, Andy is one of the premier workaholics, let's say. He's given himself a lot of opportunity through that. I think Andy, he tries to sort of get you doing a lot of different things. He'll try to throw you off, give you some slower balls, some harder balls, all these kinds of things. I guess my goal is to keep him away from that, play it on my terms, be aggressive, not hesitate.

Q. The crowd was on Roger's side today. If you face Andy on Sunday, they'll be very much on Andy's side. Are you happy to play the role of the villain?
MILOS RAONIC: I don't know if it's necessarily the villain. You face what you have to face. First and foremost, I got to face myself, then I got to face Andy. The rest, if I don't have control over, I try to make it as irrelevant to me as possible.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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