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January 6, 2017

Milos Raonic

Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

M. RAONIC/R. Nadal

4-6, 6-3, 6-4

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. You served a lot of aces tonight, played very aggressive, good game. How do you feel? Was that your top game against Rafa?
MILOS RAONIC: Yeah, I played very well. I did a lot of very good things. Obviously served well. I haven't seen the numbers now, but I believe that I was quite low on first-serve percentage in that first set. I think that improved after. I'm not exactly sure, but that's how it felt.

I started creating opportunities. Other than, I believe, the last two of his service games, every single service game in that third set I had Love-15 or Love-30. So I was creating stuff. I was dictating, which wasn't necessarily the case at the beginning.

So I'm glad I was able to sort of stick around long enough to see that work.

Q. A few break points in the fifth game of the second set. Did you feel the momentum change after that?
MILOS RAONIC: I don't think it was sort of at that moment really that the change was. I think it was sort of when I had my, let's say, back against the wall and I started being a bit more aggressive on the returns.

He was beating me quite consistently with that short serve on the ad side, and it was the first time I had 15-30. He went for that one, and I sort of went after that. I managed to catch him a little bit late.

So I think that was more so the changing point. Obviously that was critical to keeping myself in the match, still.

Q. (Question about coming to the net, being aggressive.)
MILOS RAONIC: Yeah, of course. He is always going to defend better than me, so I don't want to play him on those terms. I want to play him on the terms where I can put him in that position and I try to take away the possibility for him to put me there.

So coming forward, sometimes you come in on what you truly believe is a clear opportunity. Sometimes you have to create that opportunity. And out of 35 times, I would pretty much guarantee not all were opportunities to come in. Sometimes you have to step up and put that pressure.

Q. Obviously a strong men's draw here. What's it mean for you to beat someone as good as Nadal?
MILOS RAONIC: Yeah, it's a great tribute to a lot of things I did, and I think today the mentality behind the match was what sort of kept me around. It's something that I have put attention to over the last seven months or so. You know, some moments things weren't looking great. I wasn't efficient coming forward. I was missing some shots I shouldn't be. I was rushing.

But at least I kept myself there, and I was able to always recuperate the next point. That kept me around. That's what I have to be most proud of.

Q. During the points, you looked like you were taking yourself into a deep meditation. Can you just tell us what you're doing and how that's helping in your game?
MILOS RAONIC: Oh, it's just breathing, to be honest with you, and focusing on what I need to do in that moment. Not trying to -- my game is pretty simple. If the serve does come back, I'm normally looking for a forehand, so I just try to refocus on that.

Q. I know Abu Dhabi was what it was, but what did you feel went better for you tonight versus Rafa?
MILOS RAONIC: Oh, it's sort of the preparation, the situation, also. Abu Dhabi has a lot of privileges. Obviously I was in that situation like he was last year, going into Abu Dhabi not having played much, having a long time of training where you sort of step up and you start, you really are testing yourself and you go into the matches completely roaring.

Whereas, you know, that's when you really want to step up. He beat me out there on intensity. I knew that was going to have to be an objective of mine today to try and match him on that.

Q. Dimitrov next. Just talk about -- I guess I don't know your head-to-head. How do you feel about your matchup against Grigor?
MILOS RAONIC: It's a difficult matchup. He's capable of so much. He can do so many great things. It's really about keeping a level head throughout the match, keeping a flat line, and hoping that that averages out better than what he brings.

You know, I'm doing things well. I'm obviously playing significantly better today than I did in my first round, and hopefully I can continue to improve each and every match I play.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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