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August 10, 2013

Milos Raonic


M. RAONIC/V. Pospisil
6‑4, 1‑6, 7‑6

THE MODERATOR:テつ Milos will be the newest member of the top 10 next week in the Emirates ATP rankings.テつ First Canadian to reach the final at this tournament since Robert Bテδゥdard in 1958, who won the tournament.テつ And Milos is the first Canadian to reach the final of an ATP Masters 1000.

Q.テつ Of all of those things just outlined, which means the most to you?テつ Do they all mean something special?
MILOS RAONIC:テつ No, they're all very special.テつ I think the top 10 one stands out definitely more just because it's a goal that I set out this year.テつ To be able to do it here in Montrテδゥal is pretty amazing.
It's not even just for myself, top 10, just the fact of the match today and everything.テつ Now I understand we have two Canadians that are beyond what the record was from before for highest‑ranked Canadian.テつ I think that's just significant on its own.
For me it's a very special day to at least get to a goal I set for myself earlier this year, which looked a little bit difficult after how I played recently.テつ But to do it here in Montrテδゥal, it's a relief and it's a happy feeling.

Q.テつ Vasek was just in here and he basically said he was emotionally spent after the whole week, but especially the match you just had.テつ How emotionally are you after such a grueling match?
MILOS RAONIC:テつ I would say I'm a little bit excited, but I don't think spent in any other way.テつ I'm so looking forward to that opportunity tomorrow.テつ This week's not over, by any means.
There's a lot of excitement for that chance I have for myself tomorrow.

Q.テつ Tomorrow is the final.テつ Who would you prefer to play with, Rafa or Djokovic, and why?
MILOS RAONIC:テつ There's really no preference there.テつ I think I have no say in it.テつ Whatever I say now will not make a difference.テつ I think it would be a waste of energy to sort of be cheering one way or another.

Q.テつ Can you play out match point, what you remember, what you saw.
MILOS RAONIC:テつ Yeah.テつ I think we both started off pretty tight, that match point.テつ He hit a good forehand.テつ I sort of just dug out a ball.テつ I guessed one way.
I thought it would be hard, especially with how tight both of us were, to make that volley down the line, to go close to the line.テつ I guessed and I put my racquet on it.テつ I thought it would get by him.テつ I was surprised he got it back, to put his racquet on the volley.テつ I was a little bit relieved it went in the net.

Q.テつ Can you go through like if you're playing Djokovic what the match is to be like, then Nadal?
MILOS RAONIC:テつ Both of them, I think I have to try to play as much as I can on my terms.テつ I've got to be aggressive.テつ Both of them are superb when they get you moving and both of them defend really well.テつ I have to take the match to them.
I won't be able to create any opportunities for myself.テつ Both of them, I'm going to have to serve well, take care of my serve.テつ That's always of highest importance.
Sort of try to make the situations under my terms as much as possible, trying to go forward, trying to push them, trying to sort of create the opportunities for myself through aggressive tennis rather than waiting for them to make errors or anything of that sort.

Q.テつ Does your new coach have something to do with your success here?
MILOS RAONIC:テつ He does, for sure.テつ We just started working.テつ I think one big thing, he sat me down and he took a lot of sort of frustration out of me with the whole process.テつ I've been saying since the start of this week, it's about developing and getting better.
I didn't think this would happen this week, especially the way I was playing leading into this event.テつ But if it was to give myself that opportunity, I was prepared for it.テつ We prepared well physically and on court.テつ For it to come together here is very amazing.
But a lot of this also goes to work from the beginning of this year that Galo has done with me through the last two and a half years, and even the coaches before that.
Today I was asked who are the people I was thinking about in that situation.テつ One person that I missed is my physio, Juan Ozon.テつ I had hip surgery two years ago this time.テつ I didn't get to play here two years ago.テつ He was with me every single day for four months, eight to ten hours a day of work.テつ He keeps me going a lot of times.テつ It's a great for me to have him on my team for just over two years now.

Q.テつ What were your expectations before this week started and how do you feel today?
MILOS RAONIC:テつ I feel very good.テつ A lot of things have changed around.テつ With how I'd been playing, I was happy to get through that first match.テつ Since then, I was sort of taking it match by match, trying to make the most of each situation.
I didn't really think too much of this week.テつ I just wanted to make sure I stayed aggressive and gave myself an opportunity to do well on my goals, as far as development goals, really than results.

Q.テつ How intense were you in the second set?テつ You served at 116.テつ How tough was it to control your nerves at the end of the game?
MILOS RAONIC:テつ Yeah, that was all nerves (smiling).テつ I don't think I've served 116 on a second serve, I think I passed that benchmark probably when I was 15.テつ I know more so in miles.テつ Would that be 60 something?

Q.テつ 75.
MILOS RAONIC:テつ Yeah, so I've passed that benchmark.テつ It was weird for me to be experiencing something like that saying, What am I doing?テつ I was asking myself.

Q.テつ Can you talk about the effect of the break you had between the second and third set.テつ Did that help you mentally to regroup?
MILOS RAONIC:テつ Yeah, I did.テつ I obviously took a bathroom break.テつ Went to the bathroom.テつ I stayed pretty emotionless on the court because that's how I sort of keep a clear head.テつ I'm sort of able to find the solutions and play my best tennis.
I had so much bottled up inside of me that it was stopping me from playing my best tennis in that situation.テつ I sort of yelled at myself, got a lot of emotions out, told myself if this is going to happen any other way, it's going to be me going out there and pushing as much as I can.
The first game, I started serving 20 K an hour harder.テつ I told myself, I got to leave it all out there, not give myself the opportunity to look back and say, I wish I had done that.

Q.テつ Was it a primal scream?
MILOS RAONIC:テつ No.テつ There was more frustration within myself.テつ There was somebody in the bathroom beside me so I didn't want to scare them.

Q.テつ Looking at the way Djokovic and Nadal are playing right now, low number of unforced errors.テつ What can you do to minimize those errors between now and tomorrow?
MILOS RAONIC:テつ It's really about giving myself the opportunity to be aggressive.テつ I think those guys aren't going to make the errors.テつ Got to sort of force it out of them.
The good thing is, when you play both those guys, they play better and better with the more rhythm they get.テつ So keeping points shorter is definitely a good thing just so they feel a little bit uncomfortable or not always as steady.
So I think if errors do happen tomorrow, unforced errors, it's fine as long as the intention is right.テつ If the intention is right and things sort of start clicking, I'll have my opportunities.

Q.テつ The longest members of your team have been your parents, who have been sitting there front row.テつ What did you get to share with them when you finally realized you were top 10, going to your first final?
MILOS RAONIC:テつ A hug and a kiss, that's about it.テつ I haven't really spoken to them.テつ They both came up to me while I was recovering right after the match.
What they've done for me, not just myself, but my brother and sister, is very inspiring.テつ It's one reason why I started a foundation.テつ It's one of the main reasons.テつ It was not only to sort of take away limitations from kids to reach their ambitions, but for their parents to help their kids reach their ambitions.
When I was hurt, it sort of gave me a big chance to see that so much was coming from my parents.テつ Because my whole rise came and happened so quickly, I never really had a chance to reflect until I was sitting there in pain, like bored for 12 hours a day.
With that whole situation, I think my parents are probably going through it a little bit more, and are probably more emotionally spent than me.テつ On the outside, they don't have any control of the match.
I'm not even close to where I am right now if it wasn't for them, for every opportunity they gave me.テつ Spent three years here.テつ I think every single weekend that I could not fly home to see them, if I was training on a Saturday morning, I wouldn't go for one afternoon home, they would drive up here, stay, the whole thing, drive Saturday morning six hours, drive home on Sunday.
It's all those things that are combined like that that make my life easier so it can be all about tennis, and that's all thanks to my parents.

Q.テつ Many French players don't like to play you because they say you are a big server.テつ What can you answer?
MILOS RAONIC:テつ Did they say that or did you say that (laughter)?

Q.テつ You can trust me, they say that.
MILOS RAONIC:テつ As long as they don't like to play me, that's fine.テつ That's better for me.
But I'm obviously working on other aspects, creating opportunities for myself.テつ I know my best tennis is going to be when I'm psychologically holding my serve well.テつ It's just going to cause more pressure on their service games.テつ That isn't just for the French players.テつ I think that's for everybody.
My serve helps me on both sides of the court, returning and serving.テつ So I'll take that.テつ As many players say they don't like to play me, that's better than players saying they like to play me.

Q.テつ Looking back, growing up, were you a Nadal guy or Djokovic guy and why?
MILOS RAONIC:テつ I looked up to them and I tried to learn from them, but I was always a Sampras guy.テつ Even with Roger, who was doing better at an earlier age, I wanted to play him.テつ I knew I'd never have the opportunity to play Sampras in a competitive match.テつ I looked up to them and I studied them, but I was never idolizing them too much.
You go out tomorrow, you respect everything they've done, but you sort of try to diminish that and start from 0‑0 when that match starts.テつ There's somebody on the other side of the court trying to take away from you what you want.

Q.テつ Vasek is a top‑40 player right now, very few points to defend the rest of the season.テつ Can Raonic/Pospisil be a rivalry down the road in men's tennis?
MILOS RAONIC:テつ Yeah, it definitely can.テつ I think there's going to be many more times where it happens.
But today it happened on the biggest stage for us so far in both our careers, the semis of a Masters.
I think for it to really be a big‑time rivalry, it always has to be on big stages.テつ Like you say Rafa and Novak, Rafa and Federer.テつ It's always in the finals or semis of the big events.
So I think we both have a long ways to go to sort of have that consistently at the bigger moments of big tournaments.

Q.テつ You're going to be playing for Davis Cup in Belgrade.テつ What are your expectations for that?
MILOS RAONIC:テつ That's a lot of excitement.テつ I really look forward to that.テつ It's a great opportunity for us, the Canadian Davis Cup team.テつ We got to go out there and try to sort of put it all out like we did today, like we've done this week.
It's been a spectacular showing from many, many Canadians this week, and that's a great thing to see.

Q.テつ How did you feel about the crowd being so behind Vasek Pospisil today?
MILOS RAONIC:テつ I didn't really think too much of it.テつ I completely understand why they would want to be that way because everything he's done this week has been so spectacular.テつ He's had such great moments this week.
He's made it through a lot of tough situations in a very exciting way.テつ That's very special.テつ But it's really great.テつ There was many moments when they were helping me, too.
I think it was more so decided by the score, what the situation was, rather than who it was for.テつ It was an exciting situation to be part of.テつ I'm very happy with the atmosphere, the crowd, the kind of support I was getting.テつ As well for him, it's great to see.テつ I'm sure he can put himself in these situations many more times.テつ It's good for him to have that kind of support.

Q.テつ You've played Rafa three times.テつ Can you go through what it's like to play him?
MILOS RAONIC:テつ It's very difficult.テつ Last time he gave me a whoopin'テつ in Barcelona.テつ It's a very different surface, on clay.テつ At home for him, it's tough.テつ I don't think he's lost at that tournament for a long time.
The other two times I played him, 2010, I was like 200 in the world.テつ I held my own to a certain extent.テつ He was a much, much better player than I was.
I think 2011 when I played him at the same tournament, the situation was the same.テつ It was my first tournament, other than Davis Cup, back from hip surgery.テつ He was far beyond me in terms of level.
I think it's a different situation this time around.

Q.テつ Do you feel any additional pressure playing here with all eyes on you or do you just treat it like any other ATP 1000 event throughout the season?
MILOS RAONIC:テつ There is, but I don't think it's really from outside.テつ It's for myself wanting to do well here.テつ Me pushing myself, not only 'cause of all the struggles I've been having to this point, but it's a tournament where you want to shine and you want to put your best forward.
It's an atmosphere I've played.テつ Despite how many times I haven't played great this year, I played really well in both Davis Cup ties.テつ It's an environment I'm very excited and happy to play in front of.
So that's definitely a positive thing.テつ And even through difficult situations, the low confidence because of how I've been playing, the crowd really helps you in those tough situations.テつ Makes it a bit easier.テつ Everything is easy when you're playing well.テつ It's the tough situations that the crowd has pulled me through, and it's great to have that.

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