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August 11, 2009

Milos Raonic


4-6, 7-6, 6-4

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Would you say that was one of the biggest matches of your career?
MILOS RAONIC: Um, yeah, for sure. I'm proud of that match. Little disappointed. I had my chance there, but you know what? He's No. 11 in the world, top 5 plenty weeks, months and years. I can't really complain. I must have played well. I did play well.
Whatever I have bad to say about my game really wasn't that bad, so it was good. It was a good day. I'm happy. I had maybe a few tight mistakes, a little tired there at the end. Those are always things I can improve on.

Q. Did the crowd help you at all?
MILOS RAONIC: No, they're amazing. I guess today was the first day that there was big crowd for the opponent, too. I was really proud of how the Montreal crowd helped me. They really put passion into it. It obviously helps the player and I gave it my best. I just -- I came up short for the fans.

Q. Do you feel like this is the first day of your professional life almost in a way, your first ATP main draw?

Q. First real day?
MILOS RAONIC: First real day, yeah, with the big boys, for sure, with the big boys. (laughter.)
You know, I have to get my way up here, so I'll be spending some time playing some Futures, Challengers, hopefully I'll be here sooner rather than later and playing these week in and week out, not just Montreal or Toronto.

Q. I saw the end of the Challenger match that you played here earlier this year. You qualified, got into the main draw and then you went on to win the tournament?

Q. Right here, yeah.
MILOS RAONIC: That was a Futures.

Q. Futures?
MILOS RAONIC: Yeah. So, yeah, these courts have been good to me. I think I'm 7 and 1 till today, including today. To lose one match on these courts in a year, I'm doing good for myself, so I'm happy with that.
Also, it's not like I was just playing anybody. They were all good matches. I felt I played well, and I felt I beat guys -- I felt I proved myself. I felt I put myself up there, was given the chance, and I felt I proved that I belong there.

Q. What do you think was the difference at the end?
MILOS RAONIC: At the end? Experience. He's probably done this against -- a young guy like me? I don't know, a thousand times.
How many times have I played a top 15 player, Australian Open finalist? It was for sure experience. He just knew how to deal with it, and I congratulate him and good luck in the next match. That's all I can say, really.
I can't take anything away from him. He beat me. I felt I didn't beat myself. That's what I was the happiest with. I made him beat me, and I proved to myself and everybody that I'm there. It's good.

Q. Did you feel like he was trying to rush you at all, playing with your head a little bit? He was up from the chair so fast, hitting second serves when the ball kid was still running on the court. Did you notice that? You certainly looked like you were taking your time.
MILOS RAONIC: One thing I know about the chair is the guy told us it's on TV and don't get up before time. I listened to that.
The rest -- I don't know. I watched him a few times. He's quite quick with his serve, doesn't take too much time. So I didn't feel like it was a big deal, but obviously -- he tried a bit, but I felt I did a good job at holding onto my own and being there.

Q. What went through your mind at 6-5 in the tiebreak?
MILOS RAONIC: Nothing. I was blank at that point. I was trying to make him play. It's a 6-5 point. He's match point down. He's tight. Came up with a big serve before I could do anything. So just nothing went through.
Before I could even think about the point and make him construct the point, he hit a big serve, so I was -- that was quickly gone.

Q. Big night for Canadian tennis. Niemeyer was out playing Federer, took him to a tiebreak in the first set, ending his career and sort of a takeoff of yours, passing-of-the-torch moment. Can you talk a bit about whether he's been an inspiration and mentor to you? He was saying he's spoken to you somewhat when you guys were playing or practicing together.
MILOS RAONIC: I've known Freddy since 2006. I've known him closely since 2006 around February, and I've actually met him at the Futures circuit throughout Canada. That's when I started really getting along with him, and he sort of took me under his wing, helped me out many times. Since I'm here full-time in Montreal training, he comes by and helps me out a lot.
You know what? Today he proved maybe he should still be playing, so it's his choice. I think he's very happy right now with where he is, and I'm very happy with how I'm doing right now and how much he's helped me, and I really -- I think he should stay within the tennis world because he can help us out in Tennis Canada. Worldwide he can help out anybody and everybody.

Q. His serve was a big factor today, too. I think Federer said he was having trouble finding his rhythm against it. Do you look up to him because you're such a big server yourself?
MILOS RAONIC: As far as serving, the only person I sort of ever really looked up to was Pete Sampras who was my idol. But no, Freddy is a good mentor. He's helped me out on the mental side a lot.
Actually, the third Futures I ever played I actually played him in I think -- I showed him I could serve big, and that's why I stayed close with him in that one match. So he's helped me out with many different things from how to play people, what I need to do in what situations mentally, physically, how much more I need to be prepared, how much more I have to train, what I need to do to be prepared, so he's been really good.

Q. What were your aspirations coming into this tournament when you were qualifying? What did you think it would be like?
MILOS RAONIC: I was struggling a little bit before the tournament, so I was just looking forward to playing a good match. So a couple of good matches, and it was a good week overall.
No, but it's been a good, good week, good experience; amazing motivation, inspiration. It shows me -- puts a lot of dedication, getting to see this, what the level is at, knowing you're not that far from it. Fine, numbers are numbers, rankings are rankings, but it really is a kick in the butt to get up there.

Q. You said you were struggling in training before?
MILOS RAONIC: No, training tournaments, because I broke my hand around April, and I was out for 11 weeks. I came back, started with the clay court season which isn't my best, so I was struggling mentally.
I wasn't playing my best. I was giving up matches that I shouldn't give up. And so really to have a tough struggle the first day, get through was amazing. To be able to repeat it the second day against Llodra was also amazing, and today even against a guy 11 in the world right now who's semis I think of French Open this year, semis last week of Washington, it's really inspiring, motivating. It's just gonna give me a lot to put into the end of the year, and now I guess my expectations are up and we'll see how it goes.

End of FastScripts

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