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August 28, 2020

Milos Raonic

New York, New York, USA

Press Conference

M. RAONIC/S. Tsitsipas

7-6, 6-3

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Is this the best you have ever hit your groundstrokes? Is it something you did during the time off that helped you in that situation? How do you like the courts?

MILOS RAONIC: Yeah, I'm playing well. I think I'm moving much better than I definitely have in recent years. Maybe it's been a long time, and I think that's putting me in better position so I'm able to be more effective and more aggressive earlier. I'm able to play more on my terms and quicker on in the points.

I just kept training during the time. You know, most of the time when we have stopped, you never really get more than four or five weeks. During this period of time I got six weeks three different times, so I just kept training and kept trying to use this as something to really make a difference in my game.

Q. Commentators were talking about how fast the court was. Is that an advantage for you?

MILOS RAONIC: It's fast on the outside. Obviously being moved to Louis today was, I'd say, a good amount slower. It would be like medium-quick court whereas the outdoor courts are quick, I would say.

Q. I remember your old coach Casey Curtis saying your backhand was fine when you just gripped it and ripped it. I was wondering if there was some of that going on now because you're hitting it so consistently well. And what does having confidence in that shot do to set up the rest of your game? Because people talk about your forehand all the time.

MILOS RAONIC: You know, at the end of the day, my backhand -- it can help me out, but it's not going to make the difference. I've got to be able to serve well and I've got to be able to dictate through the middle of the court, and every chance I have, try to make a difference in the point with my forehand.

Yeah, I think I'm just in better position most of the time when I'm hitting it. You know, again, like I have had repetition that I haven't had before. You know, there was no tournament to rush to after being hurt or something. I just had the, let's say, freedom to train and really focus on specific things, and I tried to make the most of it.

Q. It seems that behind the scenes there is a whole lot going on with the ATP politically at the moment, especially involving your Davis Cup teammate seems to be in the middle of it. Any comment you'd like to make on that?

MILOS RAONIC: Can I get more of a specific question?

Q. Well, there is talk about forming a players union, which is obviously...

MILOS RAONIC: I don't think the word is "union." I think it's more "association."

Q. Association, exactly, but it's been rumbling around but now everybody is together in the bubble.

MILOS RAONIC: Yeah, you know, players have had plenty of time to think and reflect and take a look at certain parts which they may not be happy with and discuss.

I don't know. A lot of us were kept in the dark by our leadership for six months. We were disappointed with many things. I voiced my opinion on many things, such as other sports, executives in other sports taking pay cuts to support us. As tennis players, we weren't making a dime for months and months.

Yeah, some played exhibitions, but most players, and most of those guys that are playing exhibitions are guys that are not too worried about making a buck.

It was the lower guys weren't making a dime. But our executives were staying home and didn't feel it necessary to take any pay cuts. I pushed for that on every single phone call we had. I asked that question.

I don't know. We have a former player leading us. I hope they step up and they work a bit more with the players like we would have expected from a former player coming in as a CEO.

Q. Do you think that it's time to start being active about this particular issue now, especially with COVID really...

MILOS RAONIC: There is no perfect time. I think that could have been a mistake before. If you're looking for a perfect time for anything, there is no perfect time, you know.

Is it the right time to be out on the streets with COVID going on and protesting to make a change? Probably not, but stuff needs to happen.

Q. You have a quick turnaround trip tomorrow, and your opponent is still to be determined as Roberto and Novak are still playing. Do you have a preference who you play tomorrow? Will you play any differently depending on who your opponent is?

MILOS RAONIC: My preferences don't really matter. They're going to decide between each other who I'm going to play tomorrow.

I don't think my preparation will change. I'm going to watch that match if I have time to watch it live, and if not, watch a video of it, watch some other previous matches of the guy I will be playing against this evening, and then really just focus on trying to do my things well and trying to get the best level for myself to give myself an opportunity to do well tomorrow.

Q. Can you comment at all about your thoughts going into next week with the US Open? Are you glad to have had a week of match preparation there in New York?

MILOS RAONIC: Yeah, having won a bunch of matches this week, I don't think there is a better way to be preparing, right? I definitely can't complain about anything that's going on in terms of my tennis right now.

Q. Anything to say about your first-round opponent, your first-round match?

MILOS RAONIC: I really haven't had a chance to reflect. I think we have played once, but I think that's, what, five years ago?

You know, there is plenty more for me to worry about before it gets to whichever day I'm going to play.

Q. You were talking about the COVID period and leadership. I did want to ask you about a very important event during the break, which was the Adria Tour, which was well intentioned but many issues came up, obviously. What were and are your thoughts about that?

MILOS RAONIC: I appreciate the question, Bill, but I don't really want to go -- I think I have gone down that bird hole previously. But I know the intentions were right. I know Novak is always trying to make a difference for the positive. He got a lot of flack for it.

Would I have done some things differently? Maybe, yes. But I don't have the standing to be able to organize that kind of an event, and I think he does.

I think he wholeheartedly was trying to do what was the best for the people in that region morally and emotionally after everybody was going through a tough period of time.

Q. On Vasek's association post, are you planning on signing up tomorrow?


Q. You expressed support for Osaka. Curious on your thoughts the last 48 hours or so.

MILOS RAONIC: Yeah, I think everything has been positive. You know, from what I understand -- obviously I came here quickly after my match, but I believe that basketball is resuming on Saturday. WNBA is resuming today or maybe tomorrow, I'm not sure.

Q. NHL is tomorrow, also. They come back Saturday.

MILOS RAONIC: Come back tomorrow. So I don't know. It feels like there needs to be something more behind it from athletes. So I hope that these athletes and athletes all around the world but definitely in the U.S., especially in these leagues that happen solely in the U.S. and Canada a little bit, mind you, I hope that there is some kind of plan of action to take it even further. I think maybe playing and having that platform, they can make the most of it.

Q. It seemed to come more organically from a bigger group of players in the NBA when the stoppage happened than in tennis where one player threw her hat out of the ring to stop. What do you think the support for the scheduling stoppage has been from the other guys left in the tournament, if you heard reactions to it either way?

MILOS RAONIC: Yeah, I haven't really heard much. You know, I think it's different. You know, the tennis world, everybody is coming from everywhere. Everybody might not be happy about what might be going on at their home or another place where we play a tournament.

Should the Australian Open have been stopped while the fires were going on? You know, I think you have a lot that can be said there, because a lot of people are going to be automatically emotionally connected to what's especially going on more so at their home.

So I think it's tough to exactly know, but I think all three organizations, ATP, WTA, USTA, stepped up and did the right thing. I just hope that's not the end of it.

Q. You say you plan on signing up for Vasek's thing. What's your guess on percentage, how many people will sign up for that?


Q. Majority? Majority top 100? Majority of what?

MILOS RAONIC: I haven't really broken it down, but I think majority would be -- you know, at the end of the day you have to look at who's here, right, who can step up and sign up for it.

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