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June 19, 2018

Milos Raonic

London, England

M. RAONIC/Y. Bhambri

6-1, 3-1 [Ret.]

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Well done today. Maybe not the way you wanted that match to go, but it's been an encouraging start for you on the grass so far?
MILOS RAONIC: Yeah, I played well. Served well. Taken care of that. Given myself opportunities on the return games. Overall, it's been very positive.

Q. How are you feeling at this stage of the season?
MILOS RAONIC: I feel really good. I feel like I'm playing well, I'm doing things well. You know, the body's holding on, which is nice.

All these kind of things are important. So coming here on grass, that on its own is just some kind of comfort. The fact I'm playing well helps, as well. Overall it's very positive for me.

Q. You gave Federer a pretty good game in the final on Sunday. We spoke to Nick yesterday and he was saying he's just taken to the grass completely seamlessly, looks as unstoppable, as ever. How did you rate his performance?
MILOS RAONIC: I thought the most impressive thing was that he was sharp in the most important parts of the match. Obviously he's done that throughout his career better than anybody else, but to come back like that after not playing since Miami, even for myself there was a few matches earlier that wasn't really that sharp and I didn't stop for nearly as long. So I think that was the most impressive part.

Q. You're one of the few guys who has beaten him at Wimbledon in the past. How far off that level are you feeling, getting back to where you were in 2016?
MILOS RAONIC: I think I'm a better player than I was then. For me, I'm hitting the ball better. These kind of things is just a question of getting that match sharpness through playing more and more, because I haven't played that many matches not only the last few weeks but this year, end of last year, as well.

Q. Where do you think you're a better player?
MILOS RAONIC: I think I have improved my serve. I think I use my serve better than I did in 2016. I think I return consistently better. I think mentally I deal with situations a lot better.

I'm a lot more positive throughout the matches. I can just really be more disciplined with myself that even when I do have lapses through the match, I can get myself back on track quicker.

Q. You were just saying about your body holding up. Obviously it's well documented you have been through your fair share of injuries over the recent years. How difficult is it to keep that aspect out of your mind when you're on court on a surface like grass which could be the most dangerous because of its slipperiness and things like that?
MILOS RAONIC: I think for me it's probably the most comforting surface in that sense. I understand the slipping, but it is the softest surface, so just wear and tear is less. Points are shorter, as well. So I think just relative to this surface, I don't have that kind of concern.

For me, it's just every day sometimes when little things come up maybe you're just a little bit more critical of them because things have come up in the past, and you sort of get into that defensive mode a little bit. Not panic, but a few steps below that when you do start feeling kind of niggly things, you try to get on top of them before they get too far ahead of you. I think that's really the biggest difference.

One thing I have learned over this period of time is to accept the things as they come, try not to, you know, judge them too much or try to understand them too much, sort of accept them and try to take every decision from there on as professionally and as diligently as I can.

Q. From the physical aspect for yourself, what's more critical, the mental side or the physical side?
MILOS RAONIC: The mental side, I think, because I have learned it's -- you know, if you get stressed, if you are hard on yourself, all these kind of things, it just slows down the body's own ability to do its own work.

The body's pretty impressive. It can take care of a lot of things that go on. You just have to sort of sometimes get out of your own way.

Q. For you, would there be an optimum number of tournaments you would want to play a year, for your body, the way you want to play the game?
MILOS RAONIC: Yeah. There definitely is a number (smiling). I don't think it's far off from what I do. I think I do pretty close -- actually, I fall short of what the minimum is. I take a few of the ranking penalties.

I think I fall around 16, 17. In an ideal world, maybe I'd cut it down two or three more, but that's it.

Q. In terms of knowing when to come back and when not to, Andy is coming back 11 months later today, just from your own experience, how tough is that knowing when to stop being patient and start...
MILOS RAONIC: Well, you trust your body. You trust the people around you. I think the most important thing is you focus on things you can control. I think you disregard whatever points, ranking, all this kind of stuff that's out of your hands, and you just regard and sort of keep it as a very internal discussion with yourself. I think that gives you a lot of answers.

Q. Just tour-wide, you, Andy, Novak, Stan, top four seeds in Melbourne last year. You're all unseeded at this tournament. There have been a lot of...

Q. Do you sense how much change has happened? Does it feel like a lot of upheaval? How does that manifest?
MILOS RAONIC: To be honest with you, I think the rankings are just a number. At least for myself, I try to see it as, hey, if I can put the level that I know I'm capable of on a week-to-week basis, I think that number will take care of itself.

I don't really think of it as a badge or a representation of anything. I don't think it is for any of the four of us, including Nishikori, as well, who is I think rounding out the top 5 that year, I don't think it's any kind of representation in that term. I think there are guys that can play that just haven't been fortunate enough to be able to play.

Q. Do you think it's not a vastly different tour than it was 18 months ago?
MILOS RAONIC: No, I don't.

Q. When you were talking about comebacks and coming back at the right time, do you think you have made errors in judgment the times you have come back?
MILOS RAONIC: Definitely.

Q. How do you go about getting around that in the future?
MILOS RAONIC: Don't do the same stupid thing twice. It's not stupid if you make a mistake once. If you do it twice, then you're to blame.

Yeah, also part of it was I didn't know myself as well initially. Now I know myself much better. I know what each single type of nagging pain is a representation of. It's not really so much a question. I can sort of pinpoint, hey, if I'm feeling this, it's maybe something, okay, because I haven't played for a while, or, hey, I have this kind of sensation. Maybe it's something that is a little bit more alarming.

I think all these kind of things you have to listen to and you have to -- you just have to find that complete honesty with yourself and, you know, listening and hopefully you make the right decisions. You can never make them all the right way, but you hope you can.

Q. Being a former Wimbledon finalist, do you have high expectations for grass at this time of year?
MILOS RAONIC: Yeah, I feel I can play extremely well on this surface. I feel it comes a little bit more easy for me relative to clay, definitely. I feel very comfortable on hard courts, as well.

But I do enjoy this part of the season a lot. It's been successful for me in the past, and I feel like it's a kind of a success I can take even further.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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