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August 29, 2016
New York, NY, USA
M. RAONIC/D. Brown
7-5, 6-3, 6-4
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. A little uneven the first set. Didn't seem to have timing on your serve.
MILOS RAONIC: Had trouble with my serve even throughout the match. It got better and better, but definitely something I'm going to put some time into tomorrow.
I know it's something that I can get back on track pretty quickly, but definitely was not where I would have liked it to be to start the match.
Made good progress throughout.
Q. Overall a pretty easy way to start. Would that be the way to put this match?
MILOS RAONIC: I was efficient at the end of the day. Three sets; not too much time on court. I would have wished to play better, but it's not the goal to be playing my best tennis in the first round. It's about getting through and giving myself a chance to get better in the next round.
Hopefully my level continues to improve.
Q. Can you clarify the situation for us with John and you now. He was sort of going back and forth in his comments.
MILOS RAONIC: Yeah, well, John, throughout these weeks, will not be helping me. We'll see where it goes after that.
Q. Do you have an idea of what you want already after?
MILOS RAONIC: I believe it was just too many things going on throughout this period of time. He felt like that was the right decision.
At the end of the day, it's a decision we're both okay with. We spoke about it, were up front, and there's no ill feelings over it.
Q. Is it hard to be on the other side of a net from a guy who is kind of a Harlem Globetrotter?
MILOS RAONIC: I don't know if that's necessarily a fair way to call him.
It is from the aspect you don't know what you're going to expect. The match is going to go through many different stages and you just have to sort of stay on top of it.
I did that well for certain bits; then I didn't. The thing I always did was I rebounded quite well, so I'm happy with that.
It's a first round. It's about getting through. It's about getting yourself to go through this tournament.
Q. You practiced with John McEnroe here.
MILOS RAONIC: Yes.
Q. Did you get advice from him?
MILOS RAONIC: For today?
Q. Last week practice.
MILOS RAONIC: Yeah, we spent some time. We were working on certain things. Then Carlos arrived later in the week then, after Ricardo departed. Yeah, we worked on a lot of things two weeks before Cincinnati, as well.
There's certain things I'm trying to bring awareness to in my game. I'm trying to improve what I feel I need to do better. We've had some good matches to reflect on over the last little while.
Hopefully I can implement those things I'm working on.
Q. For so long other players have been trying to get to where the big four are. How would you describe right now the status of the big four?
MILOS RAONIC: Well, I think it's a little bit spread out. You have Roger, who was always there, that is unfortunately unable to be playing at this moment, who is sitting out for a little while.
You have Andy and Novak who have pretty much led the charge of those big four. Have been leading it at least throughout this year.
Rafa is still one of the most dangerous players on tour.
You've got to navigate your way through. You've got to be trying to play your best. Hopefully you face these guys later in tournaments and you can bring your best tennis.
Q. What is the message to guys such as yourself about where those guys are now, because it has been so hard to break into where they've been?
MILOS RAONIC: Well, I've just personally looked at it from the chance of I'm trying to get better every single day. I compare myself to those four guys, what I need to do to compete against them, to win against them. 'Cause you can't avoid these guys, especially not in the big tournaments. Even the smaller ones as well. If they're there, they're consistently playing well.
I've always had that outlook of what I can do better and how I can go about it. I guess there's a little bit more opening now than there used to be, but you still have Andy and Novak holding a pretty good lockdown on the big tournaments.
They played all the finals this year, at least one of them, and two of them were against each other.
Q. How much have you worked to develop that slice backhand as a defensive shot? The one-hander. Do you feel it's become more important in the men's game to have that in your arsenal?
MILOS RAONIC: I believe you have to defend well; you have to move well; you have certain guys that do it different ways.
Novak doesn't defend too much with a slice. He'll actually slide out and try to get two hands on it and play pretty flat down the middle of the court. He doesn't give you much.
You have other guys that have made great careers for themselves defending with the slice.
I think for each player it's their own difference. Obviously for me it's important as a guy with a big reach. It helps me out. Also buys me some time if I'm out of position to get back in a situation that I have a better opportunity.
Q. Your stretch at Wimbledon was a very important run in your career. What would be the one or two takeaways from that experience?
MILOS RAONIC: I think the most positive side of it was the way I was able to fight through two probably of the most identifying matches, coming down [sic] from two sets to love down, coming back in that situation, and sort of being able to turn that around against Roger late in that semifinal, as well. Those I think are steps that I can try to implement more and more.
I'm sure I'll be facing similar scenarios many times where I've got to step up. I think that puts something in my pocket as far as understanding of how to get through those situations.
And then it was great to put myself in that situation, to have a chance to be one match away from winning a Grand Slam. But at the same time, the negative side of it was I wish I played with a little bit more intensity and stepped up a little bit better, which I would try if I could put myself back in the situation, which I believe I can.
Q. Was it nerves?
MILOS RAONIC: I thought I was doing it. That's the different aspect of it. Only when I re-watched the video I sort of put myself back and saw the whole picture. I was unable to do that. I know that everything I had I did put into that match, into that final, because I knew the importance of it.
But I think I could have expressed it more externally to get a little bit of pressure off myself and get a little energy out and convert it and use it in a better way.
Q. Writing for the players tribune, what was that like?
MILOS RAONIC: It was a fun process. It was a process in the sense of you get to say what you want to say. There was a lot of different theme lines that they wanted me to stick to. This one was the one I felt was more relevant on the timing that they were looking to put out the article.
I worked with two other guys really to get the meat of the work done, and then I put in my own words. So it came from my voice. I'm happy with how it looks. I haven't read it other than the last draft we went through and I feel comfortable with.
But I feel like I got to say what I wanted to say, and that was the most important thing.
Q. Is that a way to help you with what happened in the match, to write it?
MILOS RAONIC: Yeah, but I write everything down. So I've already dealt with it myself. I think this was I guess a more public accountability for it.
Q. Funky looking shoes you're wearing. How would you describe the color? Is it your choice?
MILOS RAONIC: The color's very pink and loud, but I like the outfit. Definitely I think it was a color they wanted to work with. I like the sort of disconnectedness. That that's sort of the focal point of the outfit. Then something more classic and more toned down for the rest of the outfit. I think it works nicely.
Q. When you say they, you mean New Balance?
MILOS RAONIC: Yes.
Q. Was the goal to have everybody wear the T-shirts in your box and your parents said no?
MILOS RAONIC: I don't know how many people were wearing them.
Q. Two. Is the one you're wearing, is that a little bit of brand building?
MILOS RAONIC: I'm just having some fun with it. Having some fun with it. The other one, I don't know what you'd call it with the badger, whatever my girlfriend made for fun. These were made by New Balance alongside with their designer, and they're actually pretty close. They communicate back and forth about it. I guess they've helped each other in a way.
Q. Could you talk about New York City as an art center.
MILOS RAONIC: Probably right now with the generation of artists coming up, and after the unfortunate events of 9/11, I think there have been a lot of very influential New York artists that have really grown up through the city and made a difference.
I think you have that sort of current of guys passing through. Then you have previous phenoms that have changed the world. A lot of it has been based and centered in New York, so I think this is one of the cities where you don't have to travel too far to see the different influences.
There's galleries on many different corners. Some small, private, to much bigger public things as well. There are many collectors throughout the city as well, so you can amuse yourself through that outlet pretty easily.
Q. Can you briefly give few names?
MILOS RAONIC: Dan Colen, Jeff Elrod, Rashid Johnson. There's many great artists that have, after that whole unfortunate event of 9/11, stepped up and I think done great things.
Q. (Question regarding records and the Open era.)
MILOS RAONIC: Which records?
Q. For example, Serena's slam count. She's tied with Steffi Graf in the Open era, but Margaret Court before still has more.
MILOS RAONIC: I think people compare it. I think Rod Laver's Grand Slams are compared. I think that was before the Open era, if I'm not mistaken. People still consider the fact that he completed a slam in a year as one of the greatest feats.
I think people like to have that discussion for argument's sake, but people still appreciate the great things that were done throughout any period of time in tennis.
Q. When would be the first time you played Ryan Harrison? How do you feel about playing him in the next round?
MILOS RAONIC: I can't remember the first time I played him. It would have to be a long time ago. Juniors. He was younger than me. Probably second to last year or last year of my junior career. I think the last time I played him was in San Jose.
I know the things he liked to do back then. Obviously times have changed on both sides of the court, mine and his. So I'll definitely do some research and maybe try to watch a little bit of that match he played yesterday, maybe have a few words with other players that have played him over a recent period of time.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports