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December 31, 2017

Milos Raonic

Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

An interview with:


THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. How is your fitness?
MILOS RAONIC: It's good. I got down here early, quite early, more than two weeks ago. So I've had a chance to really get accustomed and put in a lot of good days of work here.

And I've also had some time, due to not being able to play, to really figure things out and hopefully find some answers to the big question of how to stay healthy.

Q. You obviously had a lot of injuries last year. Are you looking at training methods, about your schedule, all those sort of things to avoid that in the future?
MILOS RAONIC: Yeah. You know, it's about being there, healthy, to play as many matches and tournaments as possible as close to 100% as possible where I'm not really being hindered by anything serious.

Obviously, it's impossible to play tennis without any kind of nagging discomfort, but there's a difference between an injury and a discomfort.

Q. Overall, there's been a lot of question around a lot of top guys. How are you feeling in terms of sturdiness, I guess, of your health going forward?
MILOS RAONIC: I feel good. I feel like I'm taking all the right steps forward. Obviously, time can only tell if I have come up with the right approaches and the right methods, the things that are going work for me and these kind of things.

I won't know that for quite a long period of time, but I have confidence in things I'm doing and the approach I'm sort of taking on and, you know, the things I'm hoping to do differently that can give me that possibility to be out on court a lot more than I have been over the last 18 or so months.

Q. Any sort of major shift in what you do like yoga or something like that?
MILOS RAONIC: No, nothing. I think it's more just the time management. I think I have kept things pretty similar, but it's more about how I schedule my days and how many days I'll go before I take a day off and these kind of things.

Q. But is it particularly you need maybe a little bit more rest?
MILOS RAONIC: Well, no. I think it's more that to lower the intensity of the days that I'm training and to actually take less days off. So I'm doing more things throughout the year where my body is not really having many days where it completely stops. So it's continuously moving and doing something that could be productive to progress.

Q. Any change to your team or what is your setup?
MILOS RAONIC: Actually, yeah, so for now I'm just with Javier Piles at the moment, and he's helped me out on the coaching front. Pretty much everybody on my team is new at this moment.

Q. So who are those folks?
MILOS RAONIC: Avi, who is sort of managing the fitness side of things. And then physios, using guys here and there. That's still sort of up in the air.

Q. What would a good first month of the year be for you? Would it be just staying fit and getting lots of matches under your belt?
MILOS RAONIC: Yeah, lots of matches means you're winning and staying healthy. I think those are really the big questions I'm trying to really answer and see and take from, because I don't have a lot of data to survey from the last few months on the progress and the things I've been trying to do.

Q. But that more specifically than winning titles, getting to finals, that sort of thing?
MILOS RAONIC: I think if you win a lot of matches, you get closer to there. I think at this moment I'm just taking one step at a time and trying to deal with it as each challenge comes.

Q. You were one of many guys facing questions marks. Have you noticed a difference in the locker room, how many guys are sort of dealing with longer-term injuries and we're not sure actually who will be Melbourne and not. Does that affect the vibe around you personally?
MILOS RAONIC: No, I don't think so. I think everybody is -- to be a pretty good tennis player, you have to have an ego and you have to be very self-involved. And I think everybody is just trying to figure out their own day-to-day sort of process and progress regardless of who else may be there.

Obviously, it's harder to know at these smaller tournaments that are more spread out. You sort of can maybe feel that difference when it comes to Grand Slams where everybody sort of collects for those first five, six days of the tournament altogether. You sort of notice maybe what faces might be missing there.

Q. You've teamed up with Denis in the doubles. Talk about him.
MILOS RAONIC: Yeah, he's got a very bright future ahead of himself. He has a very explosive game. He can do a lot of different things. I've been able to watch him a little bit over the past few months. Since he broke through, I haven't been playing. And it's good to see and I think it will be fun to play doubles together.

Q. Are you doing anything week two of the Australian circuit or is that just a practice and rest week?
MILOS RAONIC: That would be the following week preceding this tournament. No, that's a practice week.

Q. Why do you think that sort of works well for you? You know, because, you know, not many of the top ten tend to play week two in Australia.
MILOS RAONIC: Well, there's also most guys have sponsorship obligations that week. That's when it falls. Because, obviously, for those four tournaments of the year that's when the most attention is on tennis and that's when sponsors want their activations. That's when they want to put their ambassador up front. That could be a part of it.

And I also think that all of a sudden you're in a two-week competition following that. Yes, it's one tournament, but it does feel like two in a row. So if you compete this first week, it can very quickly rise to feeling like you're playing four tournaments in a row, which I don't think many guys would like to do.

Q. On the injuries question, do you think it's just a coincidence that so many of the top guys have had problems the last few months or is it is there something going on like players are working too hard that the schedule is too demanding or do you think it's just a coincidence?
MILOS RAONIC: I don't think it's really a coincidence. I think there's always blocks of it that happen throughout tennis if you look at it. I think the top guys have been able to avoid it. I think maybe the guys -- the names that have fallen victim to it have sort of come along in the factor.

But if you look at it from just a purely numbers standpoint, you see the guys that play a lot the year before, a lot of matches, 65 plus, maybe even over 70 matches, those guys struggle the following year. And I think those are some of the indicators that can sort of deal with it.

I think also the guys you see and just the way guys' different techniques, different game-style approaches, obviously savor the body more than others, that put the others more through a heavy workload.

So there's a lot of factors. I don't think injuries are anything new. I don't think it's something that has come up over the last six months more than ever before. I think it's just -- is it a coincidence that the guys that finished top 5 in 2016, not a single one of them finished or played -- I wouldn't even consider what I did playing after the US Open. But I think pretty much everybody was done at Wimbledon of the top 5 from the year before. So I think that might be a coincidence.

Q. You were semifinals here last year, won it the year before, final the year before that. Do you feel as if you're close to being at that level of preparedness this week compared to last year?
MILOS RAONIC: I think am I prepared where I would like to be in the sense of how many matches I've played over the recent period of time compared to those times? No. Am I there physically and where my game level and the level that I can produce, yes.

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