August 22, 2020
New York, New York, USA
M. RAONIC/S. Querrey
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. When was the last time you had a haircut?
MILOS RAONIC: Before Australia.
Q. Me too. Perfect. How much tennis did you actually play during the shutdown? Where were you? Did you have people to practice with? How did it go?
MILOS RAONIC: I started treating it like we did a preseason for six weeks of training, and I did three blocks of that.
I did one right after we got shut down on May 11 or 12, took 10 days off, started around the 24th. I mean March, sorry. I did six weeks, took two weeks off, another six weeks, took two weeks off, and another six weeks leading up to here.
At the beginning I was in Florida for most of it. I was trying to get down to the Bahamas, but due to their shutdown, I couldn't go back to Toronto. My parents are a little bit on the older side, so I didn't want to get close to them.
So I was in Florida for about the first 10, 12 weeks between West Florida and then East Florida just because of the different shutdown guidelines that were presented by each county. Then as soon as the Bahamas opened up, I went there the last seven or eight weeks.
I always had somebody to play. Especially in Florida, there was always somebody. It was the second round of the six weeks in Saddlebrook. They were pretty open. Pros could use the courts, the gym. Everything was almost functioning just with a little bit of precaution but not too far off normal.
The only thing is I'd rotate the same guys. When we were practicing, I wouldn't be more than three or four different guys that were in rotation.
Then the Bahamas, Denis, Peter, and Schwartzman were all down there and we did a little bit of rotation. Then I left a little bit earlier than they did, just to get up here to New York and take care of some personal things up in Toronto as well for a day and then came to New York.
Q. Peter Polansky?
MILOS RAONIC: Peter Polansky, yes.
Q. Is Monte-Carlo not in your life at this point, or in this...
MILOS RAONIC: Oh, it is. The only thing is I was going to go there at some point, but the only thing was first getting stuck in the U.S., I just didn't know what the restrictions were. I was waiting to see what was going to happen with the US swing and also with Rogers Cup. I didn't feel safe making an overseas flight twice.
I stuck to short, as much as you can say regional flights, rather than going intercontinental.
Q. But you didn't play any of the exhibitions or anything like that. Are you surprised that you were as crisp as you were?
MILOS RAONIC: You know, I probably have a little bit more experience than most guys of stopping and starting. I worked really hard. That's why we went by the six weeks. We know what the offseason does for me.
We tried to mimic that model, just copy and paste it many times over, because we didn't know when we were going to play. I have been playing really well the last few weeks, and today I'm happy with how I dealt with a lot of things, because there is a lot of things out of my control that you can't mimic in a practice.
Q. And the puppy?
MILOS RAONIC: Puppy is great. Best choice I ever made.
Q. Same coach, Mario?
MILOS RAONIC: Yeah. He's there with me and, well, the two physios that rotate that were with me at the beginning of the year, as well.
Q. So no roster changes?
MILOS RAONIC: Where are you going to test out during this time? I didn't get a haircut. I was really cautious. Like we had about six people in our group, like -- like I would have gotten a haircut. I just felt, especially because I was hoping to go see my parents for a day. I felt like it would have been a little bit negligent, so I had to make all those things put aside.
Q. Crazy times. We have had years of just doing the regular circuit from Down Under through the end of the year. What do you think you have learned about yourself during this shutdown, during this time off?
MILOS RAONIC: I have learned a few different things, but the thing I did was I stuck to the things I know well. I knew it would be a tough time. Obviously, as many of the tennis players, a lot of us have left home early. We have been in isolation. We are used to being in hotel rooms alone.
You can't always, when you're trying to work your way up the ranks, have a coach or somebody with you. I was thankful I was always surrounded by two people at least that were close to me. We were all quarantining, being safe together, let's say, and creating our own little bubble.
And then for me the most important thing was to have moments to train. I think when I would ever take time off, those days were a little bit more tiring than the days of tough training just because, you know, without being able to leave home and those -- it's hard to fill up your day with different things. I'm just too active of a person to be able to do a nonactive thing for days at a time.
So I'm happy with how everything went. It got me really motivated. I'm with where I am now and I hope I can keep it going.
Q. You were saying earlier you were cautious. Would it surprise you if you would check news and go on Twitter seeing other tennis players not being as cautious over the last five months? Coming to the bubble here, how confident were you that everyone would be as cautious as you are being?
MILOS RAONIC: I think regarding the other tennis players, my motivation was plain and simple. It's my parents. I'm not sure what the ages are of the other players' parents, those people that are closest to them. Both my parents, being over 65, and also having pre-existing conditions, for me -- and I haven't seen my father this year at all. I saw my mom for I think a day and a half after the Australian Open.
For me it was important that I got to see them, but I was also very motivated to stay smart and healthy because of them.
So I can't really comment too much on what other players are doing. I understand it can be tough, but I had a clear idea of why I was doing it.
Secondly, I can only control myself while I'm here in this bubble. I have elected to sort of follow the rules and follow them maybe to a little bit of an extreme. I'm not really spending any time with other players, not seeing anybody. The way they have sort of organized it for us that we have the suites available, which would normally be the sponsor suites, to ourselves if you're a seed, I pretty much stay in there.
I only go in the locker room for a quick ten-minute shower after practice and I leave. I have elected not to stay at the hotel. All these kind of things, again, for myself, for my girlfriend who also is a little bit more exposed, but also for my parents.
So I have just tried to do that. It's something that I'm going to continue to do. Not just here because it's a part of the program but French Open, Rome, whichever tournaments are coming up in the future. Whatever the conditions may be, it's something that I have committed to and I'm prepared to follow through with.
Q. On the private housing, you had to hire your own security; is that right?
MILOS RAONIC: Correct.
Q. How long did it take you to actually make a final decision about what you were going to do with going to New York? And how close to the actual event did it take you to make up your mind? And when was the last time you started a press conference with, "When was the last time you had your hair cut?
MILOS RAONIC: I guess I was expecting it, that last question. (Laughter.)
But I was hoping that the US Open would happen. I was hoping that the Rogers Cup would happen. When I got that initial July 13 layoff, day after the finals of the Wimbledon, the hardest thing was necessarily through the training process was training and really pushing yourself but not knowing what you're exactly training for or what is the outcome.
Week 1, Week 2, Week 3, you still have some energy, but when you're in your fourth, fifth week of training and doing two-a-days, sometimes three-a-days for six days a week, and you start getting tired, that was a little bit tough.
So for me, as soon as I knew those were going to happen, I was also in close contact with Michael Downey on what was going to happen with the Rogers Cup in Toronto, because I know the Montreal one, because of government ruling, was canceled a lot earlier for the women. I was trying to see and hoping there would be something to play.
I was signed up to participate in the World TeamTennis, as well. And then I just, you know, decided this was the first opportunity I have. That's where I wanted to participate, more so for me trying to play as much as I can on hard courts.
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