August 26, 2020
New York, New York, USA
M. RAONIC/F. Krajinovic
4-6, 7-6, 7-5
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. One of the longest matches of the day, I think. Was it ever in any doubt for you that you would be able to come back from a set down and pull out a win and remain in the tournament?
MILOS RAONIC: There was a lot of doubt. He was serving for it in the second, match points in the third. You know, I was creating some opportunities early in both sets. I wasn't making the most of it. He would step up.
There was definitely doubt. I just kept plugging away, knowing that guys haven't played for a while. I just wanted to do things well, and I got a little fortunate that it turned around for me.
Q. Was there something that you were particularly proud of tonight in winning and advancing to play Tsitsipas tomorrow?
MILOS RAONIC: Yeah, for me, it's big, you know. I haven't turned matches around like that many times, and I thought he was playing extremely well. I thought we both were playing well. He was neutralizing a lot of things I was doing well. That worked for me a little bit better the last few days.
Obviously today conditions were quite different with it being cold, and obviously being a night match the ball didn't take much rotation, as well. Bounces were a little bit flatter, so I had to adjust things.
Yeah, I did get lucky and there is a lot to be proud of. I will reflect on it a little bit later.
Q. With the conditions being quite different in the evening and being cooler and all that, what did you feel was working less well for you at the beginning? Did you feel your service less effective? What was the big difference from the previous matches?
MILOS RAONIC: Yeah, the serve was a little bit less effective, especially the second serve when I tried to get it up on him. I'd go for the second serve, but most of the time it's into the body, I need that to bounce up a bit for me. A few times he was able to take good cracks at it.
And then just sometimes I felt like I'd hit the first ball really well, and he was moving extremely well, and, you know, rarely could I stretch him to the point where he was slicing a lot of times. He was able to get his feet behind it, get two hands behind it, so the next ball wasn't as advantageous for me as I would have liked.
Q. Physically, after some long matches, especially this one, are you holding up as well as you expected? Better?
MILOS RAONIC: Much better. You know, I don't have anything that's bugging me, so I'm happy with that.
Q. Your girlfriend had some funny remarks about comments you received on Instagram with the photo of you and Schwartzman that I think Fognini was making comments about, your conditioning. What did you make of those remarks and about your conditioning now? Obviously you're holding up well through this tournament.
MILOS RAONIC: It was an unflattering picture. We were training down in the Bahamas. It was very humid. Clothes sticks to you. Like my mom would tell me, maybe my posture isn't as good as it needs to be sometimes. It was a little bit of a slouch. Things can look a lot worse than they really are.
She took it very personally. I didn't care much for it, and she felt it was necessary for her to make a remark. I saw it caught a bit more tailwind than I thought it deserved.
Q. As someone who is both shorter and heavier than you, the horizontal stripes...
MILOS RAONIC: I wasn't wearing horizontal stripes in that photo.
Q. You were. I remember thinking that when I saw the picture. I don't know how much you followed what's been going in on in the world of sports today in terms of the Bucks? Did you see the Osaka stuff?
MILOS RAONIC: I have not.
Q. Naomi Osaka announced during your match she's not playing tomorrow. And there is some talk about how much more disruption there could be to the tournament or if the tournament could pause or do something out of deference for what's going on in the sports world. This is the first you're hearing. Curious what you would make of that and of this pretty sharp spike in athlete protests in terms of stopping games that we're seeing today.
MILOS RAONIC: It's a tough time for everybody. For this to happen in a very visual and disturbing way twice within -- and obviously it's happened many times over, but I think it really garnered a lot of attention, which it deserved many times earlier, as well, but due to many people being at home and not busy and about in their own days, per se, but I think, you know, having a sign somewhere of support, banners at a tournament or wearing a shirt in a warmup in a NBA game, it can only do so much.
I think real disruption and, you know, I think that's what makes change. I think a lot of real disruption is caused by affecting people in a monetary way, and that can force some kind of change.
So I'm hoping with what the NBA does, and I'm hoping that we, at least on the men's tour as well as the women's, we band together and we show our support, because there is many people that are not being treated fairly are being disrespected, having to live in fear, a lot of things that I have never had to experience, you know.
It's very unfortunate, very sad. I'm hoping that there is a change, and I'm hoping that the actions that do take course over the next days, weeks, months, years -- this isn't going to change in a day, really, to create a change, a systematic change that creates an equal opportunity for everybody, especially in the free world.
Q. With Osaka pulling out, is that an example you'd ever consider following if there is some sort of movement among the players to not hold this tournament tomorrow, to not play matches tomorrow?
MILOS RAONIC: Yeah, I would support it. There were parts of me that did think about it today before my match, but the way tennis is structured, it's a walkover and another person continues, right? It's not going to be something --
Q. But the match doesn't happen.
MILOS RAONIC: The match doesn't happen. I don't think I was picked up today by ESPN. How far that would go, no disrespect to Tennis Channel, but compared to ESPN, how many eyeballs are, the difference on those two.
It was something that was considered. But I think to really make a difference, it has to be a banding together of athletes. You know, it would be the same in the NBA if -- right now I'm 30 in the world. Many people aren't going to care what I do. But it would be the same thing if a fifth guy on a team stepped out for a game, like Kyrie sitting out, I think it makes a difference and it makes a point, but clearly is not getting the job done.
I think the NBA has been right and they should be as proud as you can be. Obviously it's sad you have to do something like this, to make a systematic change, but I think they should be very courageous and proud to a limitation of what they are doing at this moment.
Q. Just along that line of thought, would you consider talking to Tsitsipas about possibly doing a joint move? I know New Balance is a wonderful sponsor, but would you consider putting a patch on in future play?
MILOS RAONIC: The patch is an easy thing, but I think, you know, just like you're seeing Black Lives Matter shirts, it's not what's going to make the biggest difference. I'd be glad to wear a patch, but I think bigger change need to happen. And I think a bigger demonstration needs to happen and a bigger disturbance needs to happen.
I would consider not necessarily directly with Stefanos. I think our whole group of players having the discussion of, hey, where do we stand about this? Where are we at with what we can do to do our part as much as we can?
You know, a lot of us are from different parts of the world, but, you know, we come here to the U.S. to play every year. I think probably close to a third of our tournaments might be here? A third of the big ones are here. We should do the right thing to support this inequality and unfair, unjust behavior.
Q. There is a new sign up, if I have it right, on Ashe Stadium from Arthur Ashe saying, essentially, Start with what you have, start with what you can do, and that at least is a first step. Do you also feel that even small steps sends a message and ultimately there must be, you know, a deeper change but...
MILOS RAONIC: Yeah, I think small steps do if you follow up. And I think it's not about just taking one small step and being, like, hey, I have done my part. It's about taking a small step and looking to take the next small step. I think that's where the issue is.
And a lot of people opting out in the NBA, for example, I think that was our first small step. Wearing the shirt, speaking out about it. And I think this is their next step.
I think we, as players, as the ATP and the WTA Tour, need to look at what is our next step, you know. I don't look too much at sponsor boards, I'm trying to focus during a match, but during practices I have seen the Black Lives Matter on the side of the court, on Grandstand. That's one court. I don't know if it's necessarily on the other courts. But I'm sure once we are playing on bigger ones that have that electronic board that can switch, it will be on more during the US Open.
But that's one small step. There is still the next step and the next step. Just like you would build up a tennis career, you have to build up the movement of small, progressive steps trying to be better each day and make a bigger difference each day.
Q. Are you familiar with Alice Marble's letter asking what was then the USTA for Althea Gibson to be able to play in the National Championships in America, and also that Arthur Ashe went from the US Open and then right down to the White House to protest Haitian policies and was arrested in front of the White House?
MILOS RAONIC: No, I'm not aware of -- this is the first time I'm hearing about it.
Q. I didn't want to put you on the spot. Sorry.
MILOS RAONIC: No, not at all.
Q. Knowing this now, is this something -- it's too soon to be asking this, but would you talk to the other three guys left in the tournament, do something, coordinating? You said it takes coordination, not just one sitout.
MILOS RAONIC: I think it's not about the three guys that are left in this tournament. I think it's about everybody being on the same page. If three guys, four guys step up tomorrow, but everything continues as normal on Monday when the US Open starts, you know, have we taken that next small step after not playing the first day? That's the thing.
It's not just about doing one small thing and saying, hey, I did my part. It's about continuously pursuing what you feel is just and right. And I think it has to be a conversation with our whole group and our whole representative players and, yeah, coaches. And ATP staff should be involved in this, as well. It's not just about players.
You saw it started from the players in the NBA, but then I think they called it pretty quickly shortly after the -- I think the first I heard about it was the Raptors weren't going to play. That was the first I heard.
And then I tried to turn on, before my match, I was up and tried to turn it on, and there is no basketball. I don't really check my phone, and that's when I saw why there was no basketball at 4:00.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports