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September 1, 2020

Milos Raonic

New York, New York, USA

Press Conference

M. RAONIC/L. Mayer

6-3, 6-2, 6-3

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. In a nutshell your whole rivalry with Vasek, through the juniors and now in the pros?

MILOS RAONIC: I can't remember the first time we played. Maybe as early as under-14. I don't know if we played under 12. I don't know if we have 12s in Nationals at that point. Maybe 14s.

I think he won pretty of all them through our junior career, then I won pretty much all of them except the last one through our professional careers.

Yeah, it's going to be a fun match.

Q. What kind of added element is there when you're playing a fellow Canadian, a guy you've known for a long time?

MILOS RAONIC: Yeah, there's a little bit more tension, a little bit more emotion, that kind of thing. I think we're also both pretty well equipped to put that aside and really focus on the tennis.

Q. Is there a different mentality to last week now that it's actually the US Open?

MILOS RAONIC: Not really. I would say I think for me the most important thing was to leave last week behind quickly in two days and understand and not expect like last week automatically carries over, but that I start fresh. Hopefully with the experience and the matches from last week, I can find my game a little bit quicker.

I think I started off pretty well today.

Q. Considering the makeup of this year's tournament, do you find this to be a good opportunity for you and your fellow Canadians?

MILOS RAONIC: Yeah, I think the opportunity sort of comes from the players that took the appropriate time and the appropriate measures to most maximize the training for the last five months, however long it's been.

I know Felix was training. I know all the Canadians have been training. Denis, as well. Me and Denis were both in The Bahamas towards the last part of it. I think those are the ones that are going to have, let's say, the greatest privilege or opportunity.

At the end of the day you still got to show up and play well, play matches, try to find a way to win.

Q. What is easiest and hardest thing about not having a big crowd atmosphere? What effect does the absence of Federer and Nadal have on you and the tournament?

MILOS RAONIC: I think the easiest thing about not having a crowd atmosphere is that it's a little bit more similar to training. When we practice, we practice in front of pretty much nobody. Maybe some people stop by, watch over. I'd say most of our practices tend to be done let's say behind closed doors.

The hardest thing is when you do need a little bit of a pick-me-up, I'm sure there's been players that have been down two sets to love, they need that energy to feed off of, it's just not there. All you're hearing around you is crickets. You have to sort of dig in deep, try to find that within yourself.

I don't think it really does have an effect. It's unfortunate they're not here. I think it's always great for tennis when they're around. I think each one of us as players is really just focused on who's the next person ahead of us.

Yeah, it's weird at a Grand Slam not having them, but there's many tournaments throughout the year that we play without the two of them there.

Q. I think I read somewhere about Rome, the French Open, you're planning on playing them this year.

MILOS RAONIC: Yeah, obviously it would be a good issue to have if I was to play a lot of matches here, then I have to reconsider. My goal initially is to play pretty much every week. My goal is originally to play Madrid, Rome, then French Open. Now with there being a week off in between, I don't know if I would play the 500 that week before the French Open, but I would play Rome and the French Open.

Q. It doesn't seem like we've heard much about Roland Garros, the bubble and stuff like that. What have you heard about the French Open?

MILOS RAONIC: The only thing that is of some concern to me is that it's going to be 20,000 fans. I think that's what I was hearing, that they've sold tickets. I don't think they've given out the seats or anything, but something about 20,000 fans a day.

Unless they plan on completely shifting around the organization of the venue, it's hard to get to your practices, get to your matches without crossing 10s if not hundreds of people on the ground. That to me is the biggest concern, especially seeing with the spikes that are going on throughout France right now. It's hard to see that sort of getting nullified in four weeks' time or however long it is before the French Open starts.

Q. Has the change in venue atmosphere due to COVID played an impacted on your day-to-day inside the venue leading up to your matches? Are you finding a difference in the venue to be a tough adjustment?

MILOS RAONIC: There's little differences. There's always some perks that have come. I believe all the seeds have received one of those spectator suites that look over Arthur Ashe as their own personal locker rooms. It's nice to have that kind of privacy. I've been taking this very seriously.

Other than the days where I have a match, I warm up in the morning, I go quickly to the main locker room, I shower. That's probably the only 10 minutes I ever spend there where there will be higher concentration of players. The rest of my time is really spent in that suite that was given out to me.

Has it been a tough adjustment? I would say no just because we haven't done anything really in terms of tournament play. It's what, five, six months now. We're coming sort of from no expectation into a completely new rhythm. For me at least it hasn't been.

Q. Have you been mentoring the new young Canadians that are on the tour now? Who did you use as a mentor?

MILOS RAONIC: We have discussions and stuff. I don't know if I'd necessarily say that it's falling under a mentorship in any way. I think we're all open to dialogue, whichever way it may go. I might ask them stuff, they might ask me. I'd say more so that relationship with Felix than anybody else. That's really about it.

When I came out on tour, I guess for me, just like everybody else, tennis is a sport where it's an individual competition, you're out there alone. You really try to figure out a lot of things on your own.

There were some players that have had more discussions than others with me, that have said more things that have been more meaningful to me. It's not strictly by nation. I think people reach across. We don't see the tennis world as one of having borders. I think you see sort of everybody interacting with others.

Obviously heritage and language, which languages an individual can speak, which languages they're comfortable speaking, might differ to which sort of people you gravitate to more.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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