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July 1, 2019

Milos Raonic

Wimbledon, London, England

M. RAONIC/P. Gunneswaran

7-6, 6-4, 6-2

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Milos Raonic hair and sleeve, where did those go?
MILOS RAONIC: I guess I grew up.

Q. How close is that to the way you wanted to play today?
MILOS RAONIC: I still have a long ways to go just to put a few things together in my game. But, you know, I was efficient out there. It's always been tough for me the first-round matches here at Wimbledon. No matter how well I've been playing, they've always been pretty tight matches. Most of the time they actually have been in straight sets. But I've always had one or two tiebreaks.

So today I think I did a better job of sort of creating some distance, getting ahead, giving myself a little bit more freedom to swing.

Q. Can you talk a little about your opponent today. Did you know anything about him before the match? Had you ever seen him? Did he surprise you in any sort of way?
MILOS RAONIC: I knew as much as I could. There was about four matches of his that I could really get information on this year; his three matches in Indian Wells, one match in Miami actually, and one match in Australia. I got to see quite a bit of what he does. I got to see the stats on that, as well.

Obviously it's different when you don't hit any balls with him, that kind of thing, to really get a sense of how his ball bounces, especially considering that he's a lefty. Adds another dynamic to it for me.

I prepared as best as I could, worked my way into the match, got more comfortable as it went on.

Q. Felix said he was nervous, never won a Grand Slam match before, first Wimbledon and everything. How nervous would you be getting at this point after all the Wimbledons that you've played?
MILOS RAONIC: You still get nervous. I think it's a little bit different. I don't think the first few games you go out there it's really that much different. I think I still get quite nervous, especially for the first match of any Grand Slam.

I don't know where I was going to be at necessarily with my level. I didn't know where I was going to be at physically. I'm glad that both of those things turned out well.

Q. Where were you physically?
MILOS RAONIC: I felt good out there. I felt like I didn't have any hindrances. I was able to play freely, do the things I wanted to do.

Q. You've been going through a lot of treatment the last couple days?
MILOS RAONIC: Yeah. The first two grass court tournaments weren't good for me physically. This last week I was really trying to get things under control, was sort of touch and go here towards the end of the week. I managed to get things under control in time.

Q. Is it just massage? What would the whole treatment be for the back?
MILOS RAONIC: I had the procedure during Queen's, at the beginning of Queen's in my lower back. Then I started having troubles with my upper back throughout this week, where I had to do everything from acupuncture, massage, anything to sort of try to get it calmed down.

Luckily none of it is, let's say, serious that it can lead to something much worse. It's sort of just managing sort of the tightness, the pain, trying to get through with it as much as possible.

Q. What was the procedure? Was it the end of Queen's?
MILOS RAONIC: No, at the beginning of Queen's. I got lucky with the rain delays. On the Monday of Queen's as soon as I got there from Stuttgart, I had some cortisone injections for my lower back in the joints.

Q. There's talk it's the movers and the returners that win on grass these days. Do you think that's correct? Do you still feel like a player who plays like you has an advantage on this surface?
MILOS RAONIC: I still think a big server has an advantage here. Kevin was in the finals last year. Marin the year before that. Myself the year before that. So we've been there.

Yeah, you could say the movers, they win. But Roger's won here a lot. He moves incredibly well. But I think his serve and his forehand are really the standout aspect there.

You got other guys that have been winning are just guys that have been winning everything. I think this does a lot of good things for a person that plays aggressive and goes for it.

Q. Is it shocking to you that Tsitsipas and Zverev are out on the first day?
MILOS RAONIC: Yeah, more so the Tsitsipas one for me because he's played well on grass before. Sascha always has sort of struggled here. Vesely had some good wins here before with Dominic and a few other guys on Court 1. I thought that was a bit more of a dangerous matchup.

But Stefanos played Thomas here last year. I thought grass would suit him and his game a bit more than it has throughout this grass season.

Q. You've been in the position they're in now. What's it like when you're young and expected to do big things but feel you're not quite there yet?
MILOS RAONIC: It was quite different when I was young. I didn't come through as early as they did or as quickly. We weren't given as much attention because the top guys were significantly younger. People weren't sort of rushing to have somebody fill in their shoes. So it's quite different.

But, you know, you just have to go out there - I don't have the answers obviously - but you have to go out there and try to get it somehow. Nobody in this draw is really going to be out there handing anything out.

Q. For your age group, do you feel like you get less attention because there's so much on the older guys that are still there and the younger guys coming up?
MILOS RAONIC: I think nobody's been doing exceptionally well as we had in the past. The three guys I could really think of is myself, Kei, Grigor. Kei is consistently up there, but he constantly struggles with injuries. I've dropped off a little bit, but struggled quite often with injuries. Grigor had a good year, then he sort of hasn't been at his best the last little while.

I don't think we've deserved much attention.

Q. Do you feel like you're still on an upward trajectory with your career?
MILOS RAONIC: I hope so. I'm trying to get things back together, that's for sure.

Q. I'm not sure if it's Haase next round.

Q. You've played him a few times, Paris Indoors.
MILOS RAONIC: Only once that I can remember. I was supposed to possibly play him at the Davis Cup last year. I know he's played well here before. He's had his opportunities against Rafa in early rounds here.

I've got to just keep being the aggressor, trying to find a way to dictate and control, give myself an opportunity to create with my game. Hopefully it will pay off for me.

Q. Would you say he's a more traditional grass court player or still basically baseline?
MILOS RAONIC: He'll serve-volley every once in a while, but I don't think he's doing that often.

Q. The gold stripe on the New Balance top, pretty classy.
MILOS RAONIC: Thank you, Tom Tebbutt. I'll get you a jacket (smiling).

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