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January 24, 2020

Milos Raonic

Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

M. RAONIC/S. Tsitsipas

7-5, 6-4, 7-6

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. When is the last time you played that well?
MILOS RAONIC: It's been a while, for sure. I think the end of last year I played a good match against Dominic. I created so many opportunities for myself, but I didn't have the chance to prepare like I did here.

I think I have had a sense that tennis could come together if I could put the work in behind it, and I think all those pieces today came together. I was very happy with the outcome on court.

Q. You said you tried during the offseason to get your body and injuries rehabbed well. Is that playing out now?
MILOS RAONIC: I hope so. I have only played four matches this year, so I'm not getting anywhere ahead of myself.

I took time. It was hard for me to skip Davis Cup, but I had to, you know, spend time, because I was ailing a back issue throughout pretty much the whole year, I had to take time where I didn't serve for about a month. But it allowed me to focus on other things and put other things together and get stronger, get fitter.

I think it was on good display today.

Q. What was the experience of playing Tsitsipas like compared to what you may have seen on TV or video or what you might have thought of his game?
MILOS RAONIC: It's tough, you know. He's got a quick hand. He can dictate the court and do things while he can create a lot of shots when you don't expect somebody to create a shot, to sort of keep himself in there.

I knew for me today it was going to be important that I play well but I play consistently well throughout the match. I wasn't having any fluctuations.

I think that was how I was going to create my opportunities, and it worked out well.

Q. Your volleying, and especially your overhead, they were almost impeccable. You couldn't have done much better than those two, could you?
MILOS RAONIC: Yeah, I don't know. I guess I would have to watch the match. I don't think I remember necessarily clearly. A lot of the things I was doing I felt good about. I thought I returned well. There was a bunch of games I would get myself into but I wouldn't make it count.

Even in the third set I felt like there was an opportunity at one point maybe at 15-40 where I had an easy forehand. Like, I felt like I had a clear game plan, and my game allowed me to execute well and to prepare well and do the things well. It all came together nicely.

Q. You mentioned that you only played about four matches this year so far. How much confidence does it give you, knowing that you've gone deep in this tournament before?
MILOS RAONIC: It helps. I have always somehow figured out how to put it together here, especially if I have had the freedom to train well. I think I have only had really one year that was very disappointing here, but I came in that year only starting to play a week before the tournament tennis.

I think when I have had the freedom to really focus on my body, not go from tournament to tournament, focus on training and doing my things well, and allowing myself to get confidence through that work, I have always managed to put things to a pretty presentable level I can be happy with. And then, you know, from there on you've got to go out on court, fight, and it worked out well.

Q. Since you started coming down here, they've changed the balls, maybe changed the surface, Rebound Ace, I can't remember when they did that. It's not just the conditions here from that year when you were out against Andrej Martin in the quallies and ended up making fourth round to now. That's nine years. Are there any other aspects of playing down here, except maybe being fresh at the beginning of the season, that you can point to as to why it just seems to suit you so well?
MILOS RAONIC: You know, I'm not the kind of guy that goes and is happy to play three tournaments in a row and I need to find a way to win the first three matches to get my confidence. For me, I think it's really about doing the work and having the freedom to do it.

I try not to play more than two consecutive tournaments for a reason and all these kinds of things, because those training blocks are important to me. I think I can't stress enough how important those weeks that I was able to have this offseason are for me, and, you know, to not be always stopping and starting. And so far I have been very fortunate to have that kind of freedom to train.

And I think here it tends to be warmer, speeds it up a little bit. It can be humid but most of the time it's not too humid, so that also allows the ball to move quicker through the court.

I'm just mentally fresh because I haven't carried a lot of things with me like I might through other parts of the year. Like the US Open where I think I should have done better, considering how those courts play. I think it's more my situation that I bring into the tournament than anything else.

Q. Your game obviously frustrates a lot of opponents. How aware tonight were you of him getting frustrated, especially in the first and second sets?
MILOS RAONIC: You know, I know I'm not necessarily easy to play, especially if I serve well, if I do my things well, if I can find a way to move forward. There is not many guys necessarily that play the way I do, and I can find an efficiency in it. So I'm aware of that.

I wasn't really caught up in what was going on with him. But I could imagine that, you know, not having any opportunities on the return games, it can be frustrating, especially him who, you know, first match he played really well, got through quite easy. Didn't get to play a second match.

But, you know, I just tried to keep him off-balance, and I know that's sort of my recipe for success if I can sort of keep the guy feeling uncomfortable.

Q. Is there anything you did different this offseason compared to previous offseasons?
MILOS RAONIC: I think it's been -- I switched around the people that are with me, so the methods have been a little bit different in that sense. So tennis coaches stayed the same. Everybody else sort of rotated around what I was doing in the gym.

And also how I was rehabbing and these kind of things. I spent two weeks in Boston to help focus on a few things there with a group of guys, and then I spent four weeks training down in the Caribbean.

Q. Do you think you have been able to play with a bit more freedom considering your seeding isn't as high as it has been in previous years at the majors?
MILOS RAONIC: Maybe after, you know, after I sort of find my way in a match. The thing is I was really hoping to do much better in the first week of the tournament, and normally I come in here playing more than one match.

And there was that kind of anxiousness, because I wasn't sure how things were going to come out and when the things were going to come together for me.

So it has since allowed me a bit more freedom, but obviously I knew I was going to have a much tougher draw because of it, and earlier on, as well.

So I'm happy that somehow due to a few pullouts that I did squeeze into a seeding last minute, so that gave me a little bit more freedom in the first two rounds, but, you know, it's come together. It's hard to really pinpoint on exactly what.

Q. Can you talk about the next match?
MILOS RAONIC: Yeah, Marin, it's going to be tough. He's won two very good matches, last two and even the first one he won comfortably against a guy who played finals, who I lost to in the first tournament of the year.

So I'm going to have to focus on my things. I think we're both going to be trying to move the other guy around, be the one dictating. It's going to be important for me to get ahead early in the points, take care of my serve, and be the aggressor.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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