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August 9, 2010

Milos Raonic


V. HANESCU/M. Raonic
6-4, 6-4

THE MODERATOR: Milos Raonic, Canada's second-ranked Canadian following his singles match today. Milos, go ahead.
MILOS RAONIC: Thank you for everybody for coming out. Today was actually not a bad day. I can't be disappointed. This level I haven't played many matches at, even though I did well last year.
I should have just taken a bit more care of my serve and maybe the outcome would be a bit different. I had my chances on my service games. He plays well. He's a solid top 50 player. He's been there for a while now.
I knew I needed to play my best to come out successful today. I did play well. I felt I just came up a bit short. It's a few things I need to work on, and it was not so much I felt a lack of ability on the tennis court. I felt it was more experience and playing a lot of matches at this level and how to deal with the situation.

Q. This is your second go-around now with the Rogers Cup. What's it like playing in pretty much your backyard?
MILOS RAONIC: No, that's a fun feeling, for sure, supportive crowd. Sometimes you can get down, but especially when you're at home they're always going to pick you up.
It helps make that a lot easier, you know, that people are coming out. Especially at this level, it's so nice to see a lot of people come out. Still playing a lot at the Challenger level, not always a lot of people come out. So here the atmosphere is fun. The energy is more enjoyable within the tournament, the players, obviously, and the people that come out, everything just feels like a good situation and somewhere where I want to be more often.

Q. How did you find Victor's level of play compared to the guys that you see week in and week out on the Challenger tour? Is there quite a lot that separates him from those types of players?
MILOS RAONIC: I wouldn't say there's too much. I think it's just work and consistency. You felt with him that he never -- you were hoping you get up Love-30 on his serve and maybe he would make a tight mistake, but he won't do that. He won't give you the free points.
He makes you have to keep your level of tennis high. If you drop, he's gonna take advantage of that. Sometimes what you don't see is you can get away with those kind of sloppy mistakes and sloppy few points at the Challenger level. Here it's just more disciplined, and there's not really a big level difference in shot ability, but how consistently they can come up with the shots, I think the difference is there, and how consistently -- I knew the guy is gonna come out and play well every day. You put him out here a hundred days, he's always gonna play well. He's not going to give away matches.
Sometimes you can get lucky at a Challenger match. People do give away a match here or there, but here you're gonna have to earn it.

Q. Getting back to the fact you're so close to home, literally, I guess, Thornhill, a lot closer here than where you would have played last year, but do you find you were maybe pressing a little bit too much to try and put on a good show and obviously to try to win when you're this close to home?
MILOS RAONIC: Those thoughts do cross your mind, but it's something -- you can't control that. You can't control what people think of your match or of your tennis or how you play. You just step out on the court. You give it your best. You just control the things you can within yourself.
When you start thinking about that stuff, that's not gonna get you anywhere. You can't tell people, Please think I'm a good tennis player. Please don't think my backhand is weak. Don't tell it to your friend.
No, you can't tell them that. Just go out there and give it your best. Do what you know how to do. When you start getting out of your head and outside of yourself, it's just -- problems come from that and your level will drop.

Q. You're only 19 years old. I'm wondering how you're feeling right now where you are in your development, and after playing the match against Hanescu today, how close do you think you are to that level?
MILOS RAONIC: Oh, I don't think I'm that far. I think it's a few good weeks, and I get my ranking up, and I can play at these matches more often. And the level is gonna come gradually, that the level I have stays on a more consistent basis.
I just feel there's a few things I need to improve, more so from my strategical play, not so much from technical.
My strategical and my mental game I feel I have to improve. And obviously I think even to get past, to a higher level, I have to improve my physical, my fitness and my ability to stay out there for longer.

Q. When you talk about the strategical, is that with the long rallies? It seemed like whenever you got into a rally that went maybe longer than four shots, seemed like he had you pretty locked in there.
MILOS RAONIC: Yeah, he had me locked in. And the strategical more I mean is knowing -- I was missing a lot of second-serve returns. He was going for it at my body, knowing, okay, I'm not making him play at all, even though if I do put in a few good ones, stepping back, making him play a few points and then working my way back in, standing closer and then putting more pressure on him again, just knowing when it's just good enough to put in a ball because you can sense the guy's a bit tight and you know he's not going to go for so much and knowing like when you stay aggressive and when to go for it.

Q. How long do you think it will be before we see a Canadian always in these events at a competitive level, maybe even with the possibility of winning it?
MILOS RAONIC: Um, I don't think we're actually too far -- we have many players on the right track, and I think what has to happen is it just -- a lot have gotten to this level. Just getting to the next level and obviously now the support system has been amazing with coaching from around the world and national centers, even for younger kids to develop quicker.
For me, right now, for my personal benefit and improvement, it has been very good to have Fred around to help me, because he has been at this level and he has gone through this. Some may have said, Oh, he wasn't a coach before, but Fred made it up on his own, and he learned the game firsthand, and there's been a lot of things he's been able to help me.
I think if I just stick with my level and stick with my progress and keep working on it, don't get too far ahead of myself thinking, oh, this is just gonna come to me easy, just get out there every day like I have this week, like I will next week before US Open quallies and so on, I think I am able to reach that level, and I don't think it's really far-fetched to even think about or even to talk about it.

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