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March 14, 2018

Milos Raonic

Indian Wells, California

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. When did you find out?
MILOS RAONIC: Five minutes ago.

Q. What was your reaction?
MILOS RAONIC: My guys came in. I was reading my book. Just told me, Let's go.

My first thought was maybe something happened in the match before me so I have to go warm up, and then they sort of explained it to me. Surprise.

Q. You will have an extra day off before Friday. Is that a little bit strange?
MILOS RAONIC: No. You know, I guess in ways -- you know, you try to take the positives out of it. I was able to warm up a little bit. You know, tomorrow probably it allows me a little bit more freedom to push a bit more in the practice and work on some specific things that I'd like to continue to do better from my last match and just really focus on playing against Sam.

Q. To paraphrase Serena Williams, from zero to Milos, at what level is your game right now?
MILOS RAONIC: I think my game is there. I imagine it's just sort of putting the pieces together. I think I'm hitting the ball well in these kind of things.

I think I'm 70%, 80% where I could be, so I'm pretty happy with how things are coming along. You know, I'm fighting well. That's all I can really ask of myself. I don't really know when the tennis things are going to click. It's been better this week, so hopefully that's the route it continues in.

Q. You would have gone on quite late tonight. Is it a little bit of a relief that you get to bed a little bit earlier and get more sleep?
MILOS RAONIC: You know, we have done it many times where we finish late. I think one time I finished 3:00-something in the morning in New York.

Obviously there is the benefit of an easier night's sleep tonight. And then obviously, without the whole adrenaline of a match, it's easier to fall asleep, as well. So it gives me more freedom and flexibility with my day tomorrow rather than depending on how late I would have finished tonight. I can choose to practice at a time more similar to the time I will play on Friday. So I think that's where the biggest positives come from.

Q. I'm sure there is negatives and positives about coaches. Not to talk about any negatives that Goran might have, but in the short time so far, what would you say the positives are? What's impressed you about him as a coach?
MILOS RAONIC: He's just kept it very simple. And I think probably the situation I was coming from, that's probably what I have needed the most in the sense of, you know, first I was questioning what do I need to do regarding my body. How can I train without putting it at risk? How much can I train? How much can I do and not do? After that, okay, why isn't the tennis clicking? What should I be doing more?

He just kept it really simple. Really, it's been about just hit the serve. When you decide on a shot, hit it. Don't half commit to anything. Don't think too much. Just play.

Q. Is there any advantage to the fact that he was an exceptional server, just like you are?
MILOS RAONIC: Yeah, I think, because most of the other times I have been hurt, I have always been at least able to work on my serve. Now, since I wasn't able to, I have had to spend more time on it.

And just little things that he would tell himself he sort of translated across to me, which are cues that have been positive and I have been trying to sort of incorporate and use some of them. I don't think all of them necessarily transfer to me just the way I serve compared to the way he did, but some of them have been definitely positive.

Q. Did you look ahead to your next opponent?

Q. Is it a relief that it's someone who kind of plays like you and is not someone who is going to do a lot of long rallies, is going to make you run a lot?
MILOS RAONIC: Well, I think it's -- you know, personally, I like the guy -- if you ask me who I like to play, I like to play the guys that like to get into rallies because then that gives me more chance to do what I want. But then at the same time, I haven't play Sam for a while now. I believe 2016 Wimbledon, or I might be missing something since then.

He's got a great serve and a lot of things he can do to take the racquet from you, so it's going to be about staying very disciplined with myself, which is something I needed to improve from my last matches, and being sharp out there throughout the whole duration of the match.

Q. You talked a lot about the need for -- not a lot, but about the need for change in the schedule because of the injuries and everything else that's happening. I don't know how much you have been following the situation with the team competitions and the changes they are talking about. Kermode is talking about this ATP World Team Cup actually happening despite the Davis Cup plan, it would happen in the first week of January, perhaps in Australia. Perhaps if this happens, Davis Cup could be at the end of the year and you have this team competition which is similar to start the year. What kind of situation is that from a player's perspective if it happens? How do you feel about it?
MILOS RAONIC: I don't think either take away from the other. I think Davis Cup will still continue to have its prestige and its worldwide recognition and also teams being able to host, especially countries that don't see tennis much throughout the year.

Q. The lower levels you mean, right?
MILOS RAONIC: No, not even just the lower levels. I think, you know, the receptions have always been great when we played in Canada even though we have a Masters Series.

Especially now with the state of Canadian tennis, I think there's more excitement than ever before. So if you can get an extra week or two for the fans, for the media, for the recognition of tennis, for the growth of tennis in Canada, that's a positive right there. So I think that's its own uniqueness.

In a way, the World Team Cup could sort of maybe make things a little bit easier as its own thing. Being at the beginning of the year, guys want to get matches, this kind of thing.

So I think since a lot of tournaments outside of the Grand Slams are just dictated by the ATP's own schedule, which is half from the tournaments, half from the players, say, you can have sort of -- you can put in a week that's maybe a little bit more player friendly.

So I think both will be very exciting. One needs to prove itself. The other one obviously has a historical recognition, and that's going to have to keep moving along to really, you know, stay up there and relevant at the same time. Because it's been hard over the last years, not just with injuries, but also with travel and everything, getting the players there all the time.

Q. Just to be clear, you support the new Davis Cup concept of one week at the end of the year for...
MILOS RAONIC: Oh, sorry. I wasn't aware of that. What's the new concept?

Q. Davis Cup is trying to take lots of money from Piqué's group and go to...
MILOS RAONIC: Oh, Asia. Yes.

Q. One week at the end of the year, end of November, and have 18 teams. One week of the year.
MILOS RAONIC: You know what? They will compete, but one's going to end up swallowing the other eventually. Because I don't think in any sport two team competitions, other than something as big as soccer, really survive.

Q. If you tried to have a competition the first week of the year when the players are just coming off the break, how much credibility can that event have and then the difficulty with the Australian Open just a week later?
MILOS RAONIC: Australian used to be in December. Do you take away the fact that players have won the Australian Open because it was in December? No. So I don't think the credibility goes away. I think it's the players' responsibility when they show up to an event to be ready.

Q. Even if it's the very first week of the year?
MILOS RAONIC: Doesn't matter what it is. If it's important to them, they need to be ready for it. Australian Open is third week of the year, but they find a way to be ready for it.

So I think it's the players' responsibility to show up, if it's a priority in their schedule, ready and fit to play. Doesn't matter which avenue they need to go about to be in that shape.

Q. You don't like the folksy kind of way it is now? Hopman Cup and Brisbane?
MILOS RAONIC: You know, the options are nice, but at the same time, there tends to be a moment in tennis, especially with how spread out the slams are, most tennis fans aren't -- the rabid tennis fans are following the whole calendar year. Most casual tennis viewers follow four tournaments plus some if it's convenient to their scheduling or to their demographic.

So, you know, to have another event that's concise and bring another week of great viewership for tennis fans I think is a positive thing whenever it may be throughout the year.

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