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August 29, 2020

Milos Raonic

New York, New York, USA

Press Conference


1-6, 6-3, 6-4

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Congrats on the run this week. What did Novak do differently from the second set on that allowed him to turn things around?

MILOS RAONIC: Yeah, I think, you know, he does what Novak does. He puts in a few more balls. He makes things a little more difficult. First few moments there I was stepping up, but there was a few lapses that I had, and he made the most of it.

Q. Now 23-0 this season, how impressive is that? I mean, this is obviously a weird year, long gap when there weren't matches, but to have this kind of a stretch, 18-0 to start the season and then pick up?

MILOS RAONIC: Yeah, you know, he's had obviously I think a better start 2011, but there is not much more he could ask.

A lot of the matches he was, from what I can recall, winning quite comfortably and a few of them has come down to sort of the wire. He's stepped up in those situations. It just shows why he's deservedly No. 1 in the world.

Q. Congratulations on a good week, even though the ending was not what you had hoped for. What's your mindset after something like that? You have obviously played him so many times and had the same outcome. Is it disappointment? More research needed? What exactly is the thought?

MILOS RAONIC: Yeah, you know, obviously this time compared to the -- like, I don't really look back, like, three times ago when we played or two to five times. I look back to the last one. Did I do a better job than when I played him in Australia?

And I think there are a lot of things I did do better. There are certain things I wish I would have done differently, but I guess that's the duty of the US Open being in, what, two days? I'm going to be able to forget this pretty quickly.

Q. Silver lining?


Q. Can we get into the situation that was discussed after your last press conference and the developments in the proposed players association? Are you still feeling the same way you did, that you will support it despite the sort of opposing viewpoints that have been expressed by Nadal and Federer?

MILOS RAONIC: Yeah, I don't necessarily know what they exactly are. I haven't been necessarily reached out to.

Q. You have been busy.

MILOS RAONIC: Yeah, the one thing I do know is from my understanding, I think that will be discussed a little bit later today, this is not a contractual obligation that's going to be happening today. This is going to be people willing to, you know, step up and say, Hey, we are eager to look into this. Because I think a few people, I think a bunch of people have been doing -- have been just maybe feeling let down a little bit. I think it is something we should explore. Then I think we should go from there.

But, no, this isn't, like, a retaliation today completely. This is just players trying to come together.

I don't know. There has been some letters sent around, that I'm aware of. I haven't really read through them. I think just to scare off a few people from going to this thing today?

Q. I think so, yes.

MILOS RAONIC: I don't know. I think each player should have the opportunity to hear one another out without emotions being sort of tapped into. Just give everybody the facts and leave it at that.

Q. What do you hope that the end game or the end result of however this all shakes out in the end, you know, where do you think you personally or the collective could be further ahead than you are now?

MILOS RAONIC: Yeah, I think, you know, the issue for me with I believe all the change that happen in tennis is the average tennis player's career is probably -- and I'm talking about a good top player -- is going to be about, what, eight to 12 years? And I think the way I see it, is for real meaningful change to happen, if players have a certain belief, it doesn't happen in that.

So there is going to have to be a few people that step up that are sort of self-sacrificing to do it for the next generation. It's not that you step up and you all unify and get something going and tomorrow you're going to see results. It doesn't work that way.

I think that's the one thing that has to be the most understood. I think that's the one thing that keeps people off is, What am I going to see from this? When am I going to personally? You probably won't. I'm understanding that I won't in my career.

You know, there has been some progress and stuff, but, you know, a lot of it has been thanks to three, mostly three players, you know, like the storylines that I can follow. It's really not hard to write about and get attention for Rafa and Roger's 50-something meeting. It's not hard to write about Novak and Rafa or Roger and Rafa. It's not hard. So it's going to catch eyeballs and stuff. And things will improve that way.

But I think there are some things that players feel frustration with that I hope can make progress on. But I think everybody has to understand it's not going to be in three, five years. I think you're going to have to see how things function.

I think the one thing is we need a lot more transparency. The players can see, Hey, are we being fairly treated or are we not? I think the transparency is missing on a lot of fronts.

Q. Congratulations on your run this week. Certainly this has been a week of messages bigger than tennis. It seems that you have been very willing to be a new voice for tennis, both through your virtual press conferences this week and also during the trophy presentation this afternoon. I'm just curious to find out why now? Is this something that you have been wanting to have an opportunity to become a voice to be heard?

MILOS RAONIC: I'm not looking to become a voice for tennis. I have my opinions. I have my beliefs. I think that's all, I'm really stepping out when I do share these things.

There are certain things that disturb me, that bother me. And if I feel that there is a right platform, obviously in the right respect, there is -- like, I don't do stuff without thinking twice. So there is a lot of things I will consider. If I feel like there is something I can add to a situation, I will participate as a representative of just Milos Raonic, nobody else.

Like, I'm not speaking on behalf of anybody. I'm not looking to speak on behalf of any other tennis players or anybody on tour or anybody related to tennis in the sense of it could be workers helping or whatever. I'm just speaking on my own behalf.

You know, I had an opportunity. I was asked about it after my match with Filip, and I think today, you know, there was no other way, no other place to look. You know, it's a final at the end of the day, and I wanted to share my two cents on it.

Q. I just wanted to follow up on that, you voicing your support for Naomi's statement this week and other issues. I think some felt like maybe you were an unlikely voice to step up. I just wanted to talk about how you saw Naomi's courage, et cetera, in this particular moment?

MILOS RAONIC: Yeah, you know, Naomi has a lot that she can relate to in this situation. I don't know what her past experiences are, if she's had any standout moments that, you know, make her feel closer to this thing. But her being a black woman on her own, she will understand that way better than I will.

This isn't about me being able to relate to this it, because that's far from what I can do. This is about me seeing something, being bothered by something, and just feeling like there is something I have to say about it, especially when I'm asked directly on that topic.

Q. I remember exactly a year ago at the US Open I saw Vasek Pospisil talk to Sloane Stephens and how they told us they wanted to fight for money and things like that. Vasek is the host of Tennis United, the show, and suddenly the association is not mentioning the women at all. Do you find that surprising? Why do you think the women are not part of this?

MILOS RAONIC: I don't know what the reason is. But I think, you know, just like with I think what the last thing was, as well, I think that Vasek, which I believe is the right approach, is the people closest to him, his direct colleagues, he's, like, Are we together first? And then you reach out.

I think that's who he has the closest relationship with. I don't know if he's on any direct conversations, if the WTA is voicing any displeasures or any things that bothers them, but he definitely is on the chats that are on the ATP side. And I think that's a big part of it.

Q. Do you think it's a good idea as a collective to have players from both tours be parts of that?

MILOS RAONIC: Yes, I think that they should. I think at the end of the day, tennis is a sport. It's inclusive to everybody. If you can hit a ball and you can do it at a pretty high level, everybody has an opportunity in this sport. Like everything is by merit. You can either through your skill and through your ranking be a part of an event or not.

So I think we would want their support and we hope they would support us in that. But I'm not the one that's working on the day-to-day stuff. A few times I was asked if I wanted to be on the players council and stuff, and it's something that I don't necessarily have a particular strong day-to-day interest in. I just want to support something that I feel is right and something that I have been maybe disturbed by.

Q. You have just played a week of tennis. There is a Grand Slam coming up. Then there will be a Masters 1000 and another slam in the following four weeks. As someone who has had his fair share of injuries, is it something that concerns you, this concentration of big tournaments in such a short period of time?

MILOS RAONIC: It is, but I think with, let's say, a relaxation of some of the rules with participation in a Masters Series, the ATP understands how condensed everything is. It's not something I'm worried about. I'm going to make in every instance the best decision for me, and there is going to be a lot of factors that come into that.

I hope that I have a lot of matches coming up in the US Open. It's something that it is an issue I have where I'm asking myself, Is it the right thing to be rushing to Rome to be playing right now? It would be a pretty good problem to have.

Q. Do you believe that some players may feel the pressure to play all the events because of the fact that there hasn't been any revenue in the past six months? Do you think it's something that the tour may actually have to look at because there may be too many people that got injured?

MILOS RAONIC: Yeah. The injury thing I can't speak on, but, you know, if you're going from tournament to tournament, and you're thinking, Okay, I've got to chase some money, you're probably not winning many matches in those tournaments. If you're winning a lot of tournaments, if you do well in the US Open, I don't think you're thinking of, Hey I need to go pick up a first-round paycheck in Rome. I think those two things will balance itself out.

I think it's also, like, you know, with this whole new ranking format, as well, I don't think anybody is more motivated to try to show up to every single tournament than I am because I didn't play any last year so. I didn't play Cincinnati, I didn't play US Open, I didn't play Rome, I didn't play French Open, Hamburg, St. Petersburg, all those things. Only thing I played that's in the schedule is Vienna and Paris indoors.

Q. I would like to really know if you feel fitter and stronger. Second thing, don't you think that Federer, Nadal were a little bit instinctive in answering with their letter towards Djokovic and Pospisil trying to do? Like if they thought they are to immediately they had to immediately react because someone was, I don't know, threatening the old system?

MILOS RAONIC: I can't speak on their emotions, you know. Those two players for different reasons are not here at this moment, and it's by no means a negative. I'm sure they are hearing things that are coming from this side, from let's say the bubble and so forth. But I think those two guys have pretty good judgment, you know. They haven't taken many wrong steps definitely during the time of their professional career. I think they both thought through and made the decision that they believe is best.

On the first thing, yeah, I do feel like I have -- I know I have put in a lot of work in the last five, six months, whatever it's been, since March 11. I'm happy that I'm able to see the benefits of that quickly. You know, I knew I could play well, but I didn't know when things were going to come together for me. And I was ready to be patient with it, but I'm glad that first go at it has been pretty positive for me.

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