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June 3, 2014

Milos Raonic


7‑5, 7‑6, 6‑4

THE MODERATOR:テつ Questions in English, please.

Q.テつ Obviously a tough match.テつ Like in Rome, you were pretty close to him.テつ What were the things that worked well for you and what made the difference?
MILOS RAONIC:テつ I think where he stood out today was compared to Rome was he was playing a lot closer to the baseline, taking away ‑‑he was not letting me dictate as much as I was able to in Rome.
He was opening up a little bit more with his backhand down the line, where I felt I put more pressure on him in Rome where he wasn't able to use that as much.
I think that's where I was struggling, so to get on top of him in that sense.テつ My serve kept it close for most of those moments.

Q.テつ Do you have any little regrets in the first two sets?
MILOS RAONIC:テつ No.テつ I just made ‑‑ I think the decisions I tried to do were fine.テつ I just didn't execute them.テつ I wouldn't call it regrets.

Q.テつ How would you compare the level compared to Simon and your other matches here at Roland Garros so far?
MILOS RAONIC:テつ Similar.テつ He didn't allow me to do what I would have liked to do; whereas the other ones I gave myself more possibilities just because of not only the level of myself, but also the difference of level in opponents.

Q.テつ A lot of people associate clay‑court tennis with little Spanish or Argentine guys running around for six hours and getting the ball back.テつ You have had good results on this.テつ Isner has had good recent results on it compared to grass.テつ What is it about clay that you guys have figured out to make your games compatible and thrive on this surface, do you think?
MILOS RAONIC:テつ You have more time.テつ I think you just have to understand the mentality of it.
There is really‑‑ if you look at it, who has been successful here outside of really the big four the last few years, Soderling twice, obviously having a big win over Rafa, and then the following year over Roger.
So Tomas has made semis.テつ It fits for big‑hitting guys, which most people sometimes associate it to one guy that's going to run around 20 meters behind the baseline and get a lot of balls back, which is not necessarily the right way to play on clay.

Q.テつ Is that something you have always known about clay?テつ Is this something you sort of figured out?
MILOS RAONIC:テつ I figured it out.テつ A lot of people have told me that consistently, but I didn't always necessarily buy into it.テつ Over time, I have.

Q.テつ Was there one moment of clarity?
MILOS RAONIC:テつ Just the progress I was making.テつ I have seen a lot of different things ‑ yes, results also ‑ but progress I would make in practice.
That sort of gave me a lot of more comfort, and then results follow and confidence as well.

Q.テつ Going forward on clay ‑ obviously not this year, but next year ‑ what do you still have left to do to close the gap on this surface particularly?
MILOS RAONIC:テつ Just get better, I think.テつ I think I understand what I need to do.テつ I just have to keep getting better.
I felt like compared to the first week, then compared to Estoril, Madrid, I always got better each week I played.テつ That's why the best results have come in the last two weeks.

Q.テつ The first point of the third set when you sort of got jammed by a ball and he got by you and you missed it, you were on the baseline, left‑hand corner, were you just trying to get around it?テつ It kind of surprised you or took a funny bounce?
MILOS RAONIC:テつ I tried getting around it.テつ Didn't get around quickly enough.テつ I thought he wouldn't have gone as aggressively with a backhand.

Q.テつ The game plan today, was it any different than the last time you played him?
MILOS RAONIC:テつ Just a little bit different on sort of coming forward, how to approach.テつ I felt sometimes in certain points, especially in the match in Rome, I was a little bit predictable.テつ That's why he was getting more and more passings by me as the match went on.

Q.テつ There is an old Canadian guy predicting you're going to win Halle.テつ What do you think about that?
MILOS RAONIC:テつ There is a lot more tennis to be played.

Q.テつ No, but if you keep up this level ‑ forget about what the surface is ‑ obviously you like your chances once you get to the grass.
MILOS RAONIC:テつ Yeah.テつ I feel like I'm doing a lot of things better; whereas probably in previous years I would go from on clay playing much further back, and then having sort of quickly turn it around.テつ Maybe that's why I have struggled on grass.
Now I feel like I try to play as close to the baseline as possible relatively, and I think that will sort of make that transition to grass more comfortable.テつ It's going to take me time, but I don't think anybody plays really brilliant tennis the first week of grass especially.

Q.テつ What is your process to deal with the losses?テつ Do you switch easily?テつ Do you dwell on it?テつ Do you watch the video of the match right after?
MILOS RAONIC:テつ I'm not in a good mood.テつ That's simply it.テつ More than what pleases me of winning is what pisses me off about losing.
So each one has I guess its own process.テつ Sometimes it takes‑‑ I can realize it quickly.テつ Sometimes it takes me a little bit longer.
I sort of always try to step back and not have horse blinds on and just look at it one way and try to look at a big picture and see that I'm getting better and that I'm not just ‑‑that it's not just a loss for nothing.

Q.テつ What do you take out of this tournament, these two weeks for you?テつ What did you learn about yourself and your game?
MILOS RAONIC:テつ Well, there is one part about my game, but there is also things that I have done that have allowed me to go further in a slam than I have before.テつ There is a lot I can learn from the match today.
What do I learn about it?テつ I will tell you when I'm not as in a bad mood and I look at it a little bit more clearly (smiling).

Q.テつ Converse of guys like you and Isner doing better on clay is that the big guys haven't done as well on grass as they did in like the '90s when guys who were big servers tend to dominate there and a lot more aces.テつ What has made it tough for you guys on grass in this era as far as you can tell?テつ Even for you individually.
MILOS RAONIC:テつ I think one thing going into that part of the year that right now I have that I didn't maybe have in the last years is that comfort of playing closer, playing more aggressive, and actually being able to get ahead in points.
Whereas before sometimes what I would do is, yes, I can serve and I can take care of my serve and hold, but then I'd be way too passive in the back.
And when you can't really move that well properly, nobody can, especially the first week on the grass until it sort of gets chewed up a little bit.テつ You sort of just get ‑‑every ball you sort of go to each side.テつ You get half a step behind, half a step behind, and eventually you're out of the points.
I think that's one thing specifically for me‑ and maybe it's related to him, as well‑ but one thing I have done a lot this year is I'm playing constantly closer.テつ It's going to allow me not only with my serve, but also in return games to have the possibility to get ahead in points.
I think on grass when you get ahead it's a little bit easier to stay ahead just because the movement is so difficult.テつ You just have to sort of change a few little tendencies, wrong footing and so forth, what you do.
But it's not really ‑‑tennis is tennis, especially nowadays.テつ It's more and more becoming a unified speed you find all around the world.

Q.テつ Do you think you had the misfortune of bad luck today to play the guy who's playing the best clay‑court tennis in the world at the moment?
MILOS RAONIC:テつ No, it's a draw.テつ That sort of gets picked out of a hat, and I had to play him.テつ I didn't provide the level of tennis that I needed to to to get myself a better opportunity to win.

Q.テつ Do you think he's the best clay‑court tennis player in the world at the moment?
MILOS RAONIC:テつ Time will tell.テつ I think ‑‑yes, he won, but I think three different guys have won The Masters Series on clay this year.テつ I think there is so much, so much variety.
You can say some guys are not necessarily playing the way they have before or aren't as dominant on it, but a lot of things will be put aside depending on who's able to win here.

Q.テつ For your plans, are you taking a few days' break or you're going already to train on grass and then Halle and then Wimbledon?
MILOS RAONIC:テつ I don't know.テつ I haven't really spoken to anybody.テつ I have been in a bad mood so I have kept to myself (smiling).

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