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July 5, 2019

Milos Raonic

Wimbledon, London, England

M. RAONIC/R. Opelka

7-6, 6-2, 6-1

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. There is a rumor you didn't go out for a hit...
MILOS RAONIC: After, yeah, a little bit.

Q. You did?

Q. What was that all about?
MILOS RAONIC: Just the way we play. I'm not sure if I'll take tomorrow off. I just wanted to get some rhythm back, 10 minutes. Hit a few balls with Fabrice, that's it.

Q. Groundstrokes?
MILOS RAONIC: Yeah, groundstrokes and a few returns from a little bit closer, because I was standing pretty far back today against Reilly.

Q. So how would you grade your performance?
MILOS RAONIC: I thought it was good. I did the things I wanted to do. You know, when it was important, I played as well as I could have.

You know, all the breakpoints I had in the first set, he did his part in making sure I had really no chance other than one. Maybe I would have taken back that attempt of a lob and tried to go through him, but other than that I don't think I hesitated much or made many poor decisions out there.

Q. Variety makes it more fun, but when you play a match like that when there isn't a lot of rhythm, is it a challenge? How do you see it?
MILOS RAONIC: I think it's more patience. Obviously against players like that I have struggled historically. Like against John or Karlovic I have struggled in those kind of scenarios.

So it's about the guy who can find a way to dictate first and also can put in more returns. I tried to specifically pay attention to those things today, and try to make it work out as best as possible for me.

Q. He had some problems physically in the last part of his match. What's your sense of his serve and overall impact?
MILOS RAONIC: His serve is tough. He serves already a pretty high percentage. Most of the matches I have seen of him that I reviewed to prepare, he's always low 70s percent-wise. That makes it tough right away.

From what I saw against Stan, and even against me today until the later parts, you could see that when it's his moment to step up, he comes up with the big serves. He had a lot of those against Stan and he had a few of those against me in the first set.

It's tough, you know, you play him. You get no rhythm, he goes for his shots. He just has to have that experience of doing it a lot.

It's a hard game to buy into, because as a player, even if you give the other guy no rhythm, you don't feel that great yourself because you have no rhythm. You have just got to know that that's always going to, most of the time, at least, pay out in your own favor.

Q. If he stays healthy, that's a big question mark, but do you think he will have a big impact on the tour?
MILOS RAONIC: Yeah, I think he can do well and he can make anybody uncomfortable because he can take the racquet out of their hand.

So he obviously, for him, consistency is going to be the most important thing. And obviously health, being that big of a guy, and grass is a little bit easier on the body, but I'm sure he's going to play mostly hard court season throughout the year outside of the mandatory clay events.

And being the only sport that plays on concrete, being that big and that heavy, it's not the most generous thing. That's going to be important for him.

Q. What would you know about that?
MILOS RAONIC: Too much (smiling).

Q. He said afterwards he thought the court was very slow and that the grass is very slow overall as a surface, even compared to clay.
MILOS RAONIC: I didn't play on clay but I think it is quite slow. From the first years I have played here, and over the last couple of years, I think it's made that gradual decline in speed of the court. And I don't think it plays any faster than any of the other slams, that's for sure.

I think US Open is up there, and depending on the year and the heat in Australia, that's always up there. Those are definitely the two fastest.

I haven't played Paris in a long time, but with heat there, that can be quite quick. Here it's been very dry and relatively warm for what they get here and it's playing pretty slow.

Q. Is there any theory as to why? A lot of players have said that.
MILOS RAONIC: You know, I haven't played on the main courts but I think because they allow players to practice on the outside courts of the championship courts, they keep the grass a bit longer and it's softer, so obviously that's going to slow down a ball in its own right.

From the little I understand, it's a grass that's meant to grow sort of as an X shape so that it goes against the ball coming at it. It doesn't sort of bend that way. That's supposed to slow it down, as well.

I'm sure it's an intent, because as you see it, the tennis that's played on grass has changed significantly. And it's not because of athleticism or anything. It's because the grass has allowed for that. And you see that with the list of champions and all these kind.

You know, big servers can still have benefits on it, especially the first week when it's harder to move. Later it's tough because it gets pretty sticky on the baseline. It's no different than moving on a clay court.

You see guys that are comfortable sliding on the grass, as well, the more athletic guys. And then it just sort of plays like any other surface.

Q. How do you feel about Pella in the next round?
MILOS RAONIC: Yeah, I haven't played him. It's going to be tough. He played well here last year, beating Marin, obviously getting a good win today, and even in his last match over Seppi who has always played well on grass.

You know, it's going to be tough. He's been on tour for a long time, and I don't know if he's been to this stage of a Grand Slam. But he's, you know, to beat Kevin here, that's a job very well done.

Q. I want to know apart from tennis what is your biggest passion, what you really enjoy apart from tennis?
MILOS RAONIC: I don't know. I don't know if I have another passion that's equivalent to the one I have for tennis. But learning. I spend a lot of time reading, trying to learn about different things, whether that be in the world of art...

Q. World of art?
MILOS RAONIC: Art, yeah. Contemporary art, modern art, as well.

I think everything I try to sort of dabble in a little bit to learn and hopefully be able to find a second life for me after tennis.

Q. Knowing that, and your experience as a tennis player, what is your routine before a game, before a match? Have you got a specific routine?
MILOS RAONIC: It's been sort of the same thing for -- since I started, I like to warm up early, I like to have time to myself. I just keep quiet. I don't listen to any music, nothing. I keep quiet. I stay and I focus on my match.

Q. Nothing in particular in your suitcase as a lucky charm?
MILOS RAONIC: No. I used to have them. I don't anymore. I have sort of let a lot of things go. Nothing guaranteed me I was going to stay healthy or play well, so I gave up on that pretty fast.

Q. As a big server, somebody who depends on it, what do you think about the way they enforce the rule about playing to the server's rhythm? Do you think it's fair the way it's done? What's your sense of that?
MILOS RAONIC: I think with the shot clock there is a little bit less space for human interpretation of it, but there were certain moments in the match yesterday that it wasn't obviously being played that way, but...

Q. You mean the match with Kyrgios?
MILOS RAONIC: Yeah. There is certain, I think -- obviously it's hard if you play a Nick or a Gaël who is on the other side in about five seconds. I think that also is maybe an unrealistic expectation.

But, you know, pushing it to the 20 or 25, whatever it may be for that week -- there is moments for it, I think, after long points, but if it's a consistent thing, I think somebody should be given at least a heads-up that, hey, you can only keep this guy waiting for so long.

Q. Keep the server waiting, you mean?

Q. Because theoretically you don't have the right to do that, right? Shouldn't be able to hold up your hand and say, Don't serve?
MILOS RAONIC: I don't know. Somebody will come up with a way of maybe just serve before the guy is ready, you have to replay the point and letting the guy know, Hey I'm ready to play. Maybe that's the next thing we need to start doing. Who knows?

Q. Have you thought about it ever?
MILOS RAONIC: No, I have tried to stick to my basics of tennis, yes.

Q. How much interest in watching Felix and Humbert later on?
MILOS RAONIC: Yeah, I'm going to watch it. I have seen a bit, I'd say, most of his matches so far throughout this whole grass court season. I didn't get to watch much during the clay. But he's playing well. I think he's a good-amount favorite in that match, and I think he should do well.

Q. Two days off? Does that screw up the rhythm at all? Do you welcome it?
MILOS RAONIC: No, I like it. Sort of like a new tournament starts on Monday. You play in one event throughout this first week, take some time to rest, and you try to not -- you know, one thing, it's 72 hours before your next match, but you sort of treat it like a completely new event start Monday, maybe take a day off and just start up Sunday as if I would for another one-week event.

Q. At the beginning of the tournament, players like Tsitsipas or even Zverev were very down, you know, with the fact of losing. How have you understood and understand this process and cope with this process of losing by experience? Is it something very difficult for you to...
MILOS RAONIC: Let's be honest. As tennis players, even if you're Roger and if you're Rafa, we are all a bunch of losers many times throughout the year. You get over it.

You have a tournament that comes up pretty quickly after -- you know, at the best, if you're having a record season, you're still losing four times. The average probably top 10 players, if they play 18 tournaments, maybe they win two or three so they're losing 15 times a year.

You sort of cope with these things, try to get rid of them, but they hurt. I think because they hurt is why the players play so well, because you do everything you can in your power to avoid it. But as tennis players, you get used to it from a very young age of losing and losing quite a bit.

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