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March 12, 2014

Milos Raonic


M. RAONIC/A. Murray
4‑6, 7‑5, 6‑3

THE MODERATOR:テつ Questions, please.

Q.テつ Is there a belief system changing in the locker room that players that are pushing like you are, Dolgopolov are starting to win those matches against the Murrays and the Nadals that maybe there weren't in the past?
MILOS RAONIC:テつ Yeah, there is.テつ I think sort of the moment that put the most light on it happened earlier this year with Stan beating Novak and Rafa in the Grand Slam stage, because I think it is the hardest in three out of five sets.
I think everybody sort of in that top 10 range, also a little bit outside trying to breakthrough, took a deep breath and said, Why can't that be me?

Q.テつ Is it actually a topic of discussion amongst you when you're in the locker room or player lounge areas, or is it more like a perception that you all feel that way?
MILOS RAONIC:テつ I don't know if it's a topic of discussion, but it's something that sort of gets around but never being said directly.
I don't know.テつ I guess the best way to feel it and to describe it was guys going into that match don't feel like they're facing somebody that's invincible.テつ They feel a little bit more vulnerability against those top guys, and they just have to exploit that.
They know that the window is still very small, but at least they see a window of opportunity.

Q.テつ So go just a little bit further.テつ What's the feeling when you know before where you're not going to come through against Roger or Rafa or Andy and now when you have a chance?テつ Can you describe what it's like within your mind?
MILOS RAONIC:テつ Well, for me, I don't think there is really many matches that I've come back from a break down in the deciding set or in the second set after being a set down.テつ That sort of happened today.
I think that's an aspect of it.テつ But I think it's also something that we have really focused on, the attitude, approach throughout matches with my coaches.
I think there is a lot of pieces to it, but I believe that the most common thought is you watch the match and you see somebody that you feel like you can compete with or maybe you feel like you can beat in a situation and they beat one of the top guys, and the feeling is, Why can't I do that?
I think that just sort of makes those important, crucial moments where the top guys really step up, it just gives you a higher percentage of opportunity in that moment.テつ It's a lot.テつ When you give somebody a little bit to grasp on to, they are going to try to take it all.
I think the guys outside that top 4 group are trying to claw away at and they're finding that little window.

Q.テつ Can you say there is a changing of the guard?
MILOS RAONIC:テつ No, because I think the other guys are still the best players on this world.

Q.テつ The Stan breakthrough, was that the impetus of that change, or is it about the other guys getting older as well?
MILOS RAONIC:テつ No, I think there is a lot of other factors on it.テつ I think the Stan breakthrough was the one that was really magnified the most.
I'm sure there was a lot of people that even with Rafa being down two sets‑‑ knowing how hard it is to beat Rafa in a three‑out‑of‑five‑set match, a lot of people were saying, okay, Rafa might get through this.テつ And then you see the guy ‑‑it's a big difference getting close and closing something out.
Stan had a tough time doing that twice last year against Novak and closed it out this year.テつ So I think that part was magnified the most.
I know from where I was at Davis Cup, a lot of people, when they saw that happening‑‑ I was flicking through channels and didn't know what half the things meant‑‑ and I was trying to sort of watch that moment and sort of really see what was going on.テつ You absorb it quite a bit.

Q.テつ How much better are you playing than you expected to play when the tournament started?
MILOS RAONIC:テつ Well, how much better I'm playing than I played in my first round is a big difference, as well.
I'm just happy with the way things are progressing.テつ I focused a lot more this event on my attitude and approach during the matches rather than what I'm necessarily playing and just sort of being very hard on myself on that aspect.
I have been doing well, and it's allowed me to play well.

Q.テつ When he broke you in the third set, very first point in the next game you came in and put away a backhand volley.テつ How important was that?テつ It then leads to...
MILOS RAONIC:テつ I think I was imposing myself through different aspects.テつ I think the game I even got broken I came in and put away a forehand volley to go up 15‑love, and then made a few errors that I would have liked to not have made.
But I just tried to impose myself and tried to take care and control of the center of the court as much as I could.テつ And with somebody like him that can find his way out of so many difficult situations and points, it's important sort of take that time away.

Q.テつ What do you think was the bigger factor in that third set?テつ Andy said he just played really poorly.テつ Do you think it was that or the way you remained focused and played your game?
MILOS RAONIC:テつ I think it's factors of both.テつ I think there was mistakes that he made that he wouldn't have liked to make.テつ But also, same happened from my side in the game I got broken.
And then I think his mistakes were critical that he made in that first break I got.テつ But then I felt like I sort of got going a bit more after that.テつ I sort of picked it up for the rest of the set.
But he did make some mistakes that maybe you can say he shouldn't have to give me that break back.

Q.テつ You didn't have the tape on your leg and your ankle as you had in the other matches.テつ Is that because you're feeling better?
MILOS RAONIC:テつ No, I have the tape.テつ It was just a little bit shorter.

Q.テつ You spoke today on the court about this being the 20th anniversary of your parents emigrating from Montenegro.テつ Can you speak to that immigrant experience and articulate what it means and how did you even know it was the 20th anniversary?テつ Did your parents speak of it?
MILOS RAONIC:テつ My sister reminded me yesterday.

Q.テつ Okay.
MILOS RAONIC:テつ My father actually missed my match because he was flying in to Toronto today, but it's been great.
A lot of things have been magnified on the difference it's made for me, because of the spotlight and everything, being an athlete and so forth.
But that move for our family has given as much to me as it has to my brother, my sister, and my parents:テつ great educations; great support system that my parents instilled in us was made possible through the Canadian system; my sister did her Master's there; my brother went to university there; they got great jobs; they are living very happy lives; my father is happily retired and getting a pension.
So he's happy with that.テつ Just everybody in the family is grateful and really appreciative of the move that was made.テつ It wasn't easy, but I'm thankful and grateful that I have parents that were willing to give up so much for the three of us.

Q.テつ What about Alex next?テつ You have a big serve and forehand; he has totally unorthodox game to face.
MILOS RAONIC:テつ Yeah, I think both of us is really about keeping one another out of rhythm.テつ For me, it's about keeping the points shorter.テつ For him, it's about throwing stuff you wouldn't expect.
I think the most important thing, obviously my serve.テつ And the beauty of that is nobody can affect me.テつ The ball is in my hand, and I serve it up and I toss it up when I want to.
Most important thing I think is going to be about controlling the center of the court, sort of stepping up, and when I do get ahead in the points, staying ahead.テつ And like I was today, closing out certain situations, keeping the pressure on him.テつ Obviously there's going to be certain parts of the match that I'm just going to have to play a little bit more and make him play.
But it's all very situational stuff.テつ I think dictating and imposing my game on him rather than him imposing on me is the most important thing.

Q.テつ In addition to obviously staying healthy and in addition to just improving your game, what would you consider a successful year for you?
MILOS RAONIC:テつ Making the year‑end Masters in London and then some.テつ Who knows what that "and then some" will be.

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