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June 20, 2011

Milos Raonic


M. RAONIC/M. Gicquel
6-3, 7-6, 6-3

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. What was your first impression? Obviously pretty good if you won.
MILOS RAONIC: Yeah, it was good. I think I played well. I think it's tough always, especially being at a completely new tournament, and also being at this stage and people talking it up, how I should be doing well.
It's not that easy just doing well right away. There's a lot work that's put into it, and I'm happy that it's paying off and I'm getting on the right track.

Q. Do you feel the pressure because of that? Do you feel people are talking you up too fast, too soon?
MILOS RAONIC: No, I don't think it's more so that. I think I it's just something on the side. But I know that I want to achieve a lot bigger things, and I'm going to put the pressure on myself right way from the beginning.
I think to be able to start solid this week -- because I played okay in Halle and I had a lot of doubles matches, a chance to keep getting better, and then every day it's just getting better and better.
I was fortunate enough to be able to practice with a few of the top guys, and that also helps. I've just been trying to soak up as much and trying to learn as much and not so much think about the stuff I can't control and just focus on what I need to do to find a way to win.

Q. How did you like grass?
MILOS RAONIC: I'm liking it a lot. I think it's been a great experience so far. I think it's something that -- a certain part of the season and the year that I look very much forward to every year. I think it's been fun.
I think here there's a lot of tradition, and I grew up watching Sampras win here so many times. I think from that it has also has a pretty big meaning to me. I think it's a pretty special tournament. The tournament's been around for 125 years, and I think that's something pretty special enough. The best players find a way to win here.

Q. People are focusing on your serve. Can you just talk us through your career? Was that a natural shot for you, or was it something you worked particularly hard on?
MILOS RAONIC: No, there was a lot work that went into it for sure, but it was always a strength of mine - even through juniors and later, now. It's always been something that's always been a strength, but I've also made sure that even now I keep working on it.
There are a lot of things I want to improve on, and there's a lot of room for improvement, I believe. There are a lot of things I think I need to do to get it better.
I'm also working a lot on other parts of my game. I think playing on the clay as much as I did, it taught me a lot more about not just serving and expecting the first shot, but more how to play and how to find my game. I think that's going to help me here, and I think that'll also help me on the hard courts through the rest of the year.
It's going to be a critical part of my career to keep getting better and better. I think it's going to be definitely something that gives me a positive effect coming into this tournament.

Q. Great shot to have in your armory on grass.
MILOS RAONIC: Definitely. Today I served well, and I'm very happy with that. But I've served well and I've been working a lot on it. I've been trying to focus on it and just stay calm and keep it as fluid as possible and not think too much about it and just try to play.

Q. Were you thrown off at all by the change of opponent?
MILOS RAONIC: No. To tell you the truth, I know Fognini was hurt at French Open. This morning I heard pretty early them say, Marc Gicquel to the referee's office. So it just crossed my mind that I could be playing him. Obviously I don't want to say anything to anybody because there is still a chance that I'm playing Fognini. I didn't want to think about it much.
But then it ended up being that way. I think I am happy with how I dealt with it, because it's the first time it's happened to me. So it being something completely new, I'm happy how I dealt with it.
I think all in all, they played quite different, the two players, and it was quite difficult today because he plays quite low to the ground. It was hard for me to really sniff out my chances to be more aggressive and come in.
But I think all in all, I found a way. I didn't know much about him, so I had to sort of feel it out through the match. But I'm happy with how I responded to it.

Q. Do you have to change what you were going to do from the start?
MILOS RAONIC: Not so much. I just knew I had to expect to be -- to stay a bit lower to the ground. It was just mostly my movement. Because normally when I try to play, I try to play mostly on my own terms and try to dictate as much as possible and play at my speed.
Obviously you have to adjust a certain amount, but I tried to be -- to force the guy into my game plan and not try to get sort of sucked into playing how they want me to play.

Q. Did you find out early in the morning before you went to warmup?
MILOS RAONIC: No, no. I found out 45 minutes before I had to go on court. I think quarter past 11:00.

Q. Do you remember the last time you were here playing you were on Court 14 playing doubles with Popisil. Do you remember that, and did you think it would take three years for you to get back to that court?
MILOS RAONIC: I didn't think about that until now. Yeah, I don't know. I guess I lost that time. I think we lost that doubles, so I guess it was good to even out the record on that court. I didn't really think about it. I didn't know when this time was going to come that I'm playing at these tournaments, and I'm really fortunate how quick the progress has been this year.
It's amazing to be coming here for the first time and to be seeded. It's a great opportunity and a great thing. I think it also gives me a little bit more of a chance to feel out the grass because it is something new to me, especially against the top players, having to play at such a high intensity all the time.
But it also gives me a chance to sink in my teeth a bit more into the tournament to sort of figure out more and more throughout the matches and use them as much as possible as a learning experience.
So how everything has happened this year and the fact that I'm here and playing well, I think it's all been positive.

Q. Is it hard not to get caught up in the whole thing, you know, the whole being here? You were here before as a junior. But do you get distracted by all the things that are going on, and even playing on that court, all the people walking by, and the noise of the two show courts?
MILOS RAONIC: Yeah, it's definitely something I haven't really done too many times this year. I was fortunate enough that I have been -- especially in the 250s I've been one of the higher-ranked guys and I was always playing on closed courts. You don't really get too much noise.
Today it didn't really bother me. But if you do stop and you try to listen, you can notice a lot of things. You just try to forget all this stuff. I remember in the warmup there was some guy doing construction. I don't know where, but there was some guy drilling something into something.
So that was the only thing that really popped up. But I tried to stay within the court and not look around too much.

Q. There's been a lot talk about you and Rafa meeting in the third round. Give us an idea of what that would mean for you to play him here.
MILOS RAONIC: It would mean a lot. First of all, it's a third round of a Grand Slam, so that's a plus. It means I would have to -- but I still have to play, and the guys are I think still on court right now. It might be over. But I think both of the guys can play very well on grass.
But if it does get to that, I think it's a good opportunity, and I think it's something to look forward to. Yet again, I can't look forward to it until I'm done with my next match.

Q. If you do play Muller, I think he's also a big server and there may not be a whole lot rallies. What do you go in there doing in terms of trying to get a chance to break?
MILOS RAONIC: You have to focus a lot on the serve. When somebody serves like that, it puts a lot more pressure on your serve because you know if they get ahead...
I think today I had glimpses of returning really well throughout the match. It's something I've been doing a lot better. Doubles two weeks ago helped me work on that a lot. I've actually been returning really well on the grass here.
And I was a little disappointed with how much I was going in and out with it today, but it's something I'm going to work on a lot. The main thing is just going to be to make him play as many points as possible, and when the opportunities come, try to take them.
Can't control how many aces he hits, how many lines he hits. That's going to be up to him. Outside of that, I'll try to figure out a way.

Q. You talked about Sampras. Did you watch most of his finals?
MILOS RAONIC: Not most. I remember watching against Rafter, the one in 2000 the most times. This one because I was nine by then. The other matches I was a little too young. That one I watched numerous times.
I remember a lot of the match. But it wasn't even just that. I could tell you stats about him. I think he holds the record here for holding 88 games straight. Stuff like that about him.
I really admired him and what he did, and he did it so well here.

Q. Did you feel like the second set almost got away from you today? He had a breakpoint on that. Did his game pick up a bit in the second set?
MILOS RAONIC: Yeah, I think compared to how I started the first set, I was returning really well and I was staying really low to the ground and I was doing a lot, putting a lot of pressure on him. I think the little slip-up might have sort of affected that.
But then that game at 4-5 where he had the set point, really he went for two return winners that he got, and the other one he hit deep that I missed. There wasn't too much I could do about it. I was fortunate that on that break point I got my first serve in and hit a good serve.
I was happy with how I dealt with it. I couldn't really control what he did, because I don't feel like I made too many mistakes at that point. I feel like the only thing I could have focused more on was a bit more the return games.

Q. I was going to say, only 13 unforced errors. You have to feel good about how clean your game was.
MILOS RAONIC: Yeah, it's definitely something that was positive today. I think another thing -- other than just the return, another thing I did was I stayed intense the whole time. I didn't get caught up in anything. The intensity and the focus was there the whole time, and I wasn't giving away too many freebies on points.
And especially on the serve, even though I was holding pretty handily, I felt like every point I wasn't taking anything for granted. I was just trying to get the job done.

Q. Were you nervous? Where would you put the nerves at?
MILOS RAONIC: It wasn't too high today, but it more so starting out on the court. Just the start of the match, not knowing so much what to expect because I didn't know much about him. It was just that: the nerves of the unknown.
Other than that, everything was fine.

Q. It helped to start out with three aces.
MILOS RAONIC: Yeah, that always helps for sure.

Q. Do you still feel at the moment you can play very free, because, you know, expectations are probably not as high as possibly they might be if you carry on with the progress you've made?
MILOS RAONIC: I think even though people are saying I'm playing with nothing to lose and all that kind of stuff, I care a lot about it. I'm not going to go lose and just accept it and be like, I've done well this year. It's fine.
I'm not that kind of person. I expect a lot from myself and I want to achieve a lot and I don't want to put any limits on myself.
I think for my own aspect, I haven't really been playing that freelancing [sic] that people have been talking about a bit, like just swinging and being happy because I'm winning and not too disappointed if I'm losing.
I think I take every loss pretty hard, and I try to get better. I don't take the moments for granted. If I'm playing tomorrow or Wednesday, I'm not going to say to myself, I made second round here. I'm happy. Accept that. I'm not even satisfied with it.
I want to try to get better and I want to do better.

Q. If you do play Rafa in the third round, it won't be that you're going in there thinking, I'm just glad to be on Centre Court?
MILOS RAONIC: No, definitely not. I think I can do well. I think I can push myself and I think reach new limits match by match, day by day, and just keep trying to get better.
Obviously I want to win, but the most important thing at the end of the day is that I'm getting better. And if I'm just going out there swinging and just playing a free match, I don't think on the day after I would be a better player than on that day.

Q. You had the amazing run at the start of the year. When did the fatigue factor kick in?
MILOS RAONIC: Davis Cup was a tough time just because obviously when it's for the country you think about it more and put a little more pressure on yourself. I didn't know my limits, so I did play a pretty full schedule from playing back-to-back-to-back after Australia.
Fortunately, doing well, but after I took a few days off in Acapulco, when I got to Davis Cup I could sort of feel it hit me a bit. And then unfortunately I didn't play my best tennis in two Masters, and the same thing sort of happened when it got to the clay.
I took some time off, but I didn't know what to expect from the clay. I did quite well at the beginning and I felt like I was getting better. But, again, by the time the Masters got around the fatigue hit me again because I didn't know how far I was going to go.
So a lot of it has been a learning process for me to know better how to schedule for next year and many years after that.

Q. Because of that, are you looking to maybe adjust? You have a couple tournaments scheduled before the two Masters this summer, maybe Atlanta and D.C. Because of that, what you've learned, do you think you might adjust that a little bit?
MILOS RAONIC: Well, it's always up for talks. I haven't made any concrete decisions, but I've committed to those tournaments and I would like to play them.
But I'm obviously going to look at it from the aspect of wanting to do well, as well as I can. Some people say to me now, You should be playing the 250s because still every single one you play counts; whereas when you're top 30, you have a limit on two that count in your numbers.
But to me, I don't really look at it from that aspect. I think I have the level to do well at the bigger tournaments, so I think the schedule is going to be important.
But I still haven't made a concrete decision about it. It's going to be up for talks after this week, it's going to be up for talks after Davis Cup, and so forth.

Q. Who's telling you you should be playing 250s?
MILOS RAONIC: Everybody from top players to top coaches. Everybody. Every 250 I play, if I get semis or finals, which I've been able to do quite a few weeks, it still counts like a lot.
But for me, really where I want to be playing is the Masters, and I want to be doing well there. But I don't want to be putting another level of pressure on myself. I just want to try to get better and win as many matches as possible.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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