Milos Raonic talks to the media after the 7-6(5), 6-2, 7-6(4) win against Jan-Lennard Struff
Q. Good start. How did you feel today?
MILOS RAONIC: Yeah, I did a lot of things well. I have to be happy with just progressing through. Obviously I would have wished to have had more matches on grass leading into this tournament.
I'm happy with the way I dealt with things. I didn't make the most of the tournaments. Beginning of the first set felt like a déjà vu of two weeks ago. I really stepped up and did a better job for the rest of the match.
Q. How did you spend your time between Queen's and Wimbledon in terms of warmups? What's the difference between last year feeling-wise?
MILOS RAONIC: Spent a lot more time training. Sort of got to the point where I was spending a lot of days practicing. I was just getting more and more eager for this tournament to start because there were a lot of days in a row.
Q. With the lack of grass play, between injuries, maybe some early ousters, you haven't had a lot of matches, period. Describe how that impacted especially perhaps in the first set today.
MILOS RAONIC: Yeah, just I haven't been putting myself in that position, obviously. Also on grass, the margins for concentration that you can really let slip up 'cause the opportunities are further apart. It's a bit more demanding.
So just not having that constant back-to-back match play, going through those situations many times over, I think that's where it sort of showed.
I'm happy with how that got better. I just have to pay a little bit more attention, be more aware of it, have more discipline. It doesn't come as easy.
Q. What can you take from this match going forwards in terms of the things you were trying to achieve, like getting back some of the rhythm that you lacked?
MILOS RAONIC: Yeah, I did a lot of good things today, especially from I think the attitude side. I was out there. I was pretty imposing. I did those things well, which are important, especially across two weeks here hopefully.
In the tough moments, that makes the things a little bit easier. Just to have that right attitude, then the rest of the game will follow.
Q. Obviously your lack of matches has been different to last year. Also kind of a return to form of people like Djokovic, Federer and Nadal. Do you think it will be a lot harder to reach the final, given those guys' improvements? Where is your level at in comparison?
MILOS RAONIC: I don't necessarily think so. I think it's the same thing. It comes down to a few important points here and there in the key matches. But obviously there's a lot of tennis to play before you get to any of those points. It's really about being efficient and playing good tennis.
If you play good tennis, you'll have your opportunities. Then it's about having the courage to really step up and take 'em. I think it's really about, for me at least, focusing on myself, trying to play as much the matches on my terms, trying to dictate and control. That's where I tend to have the most possibility for success.
Q. Were you surprised with the level of Jan's performance, having to go to tiebreaks? Does that bode well for the second round, knowing you've done that today?
MILOS RAONIC: Well, I wasn't surprised by his performance. I saw a few of his matches he played over the last few weeks on grass. He played two tough matches. He had match points, I believe, in Stuttgart on Pouille, who eventually won the tournament. So he's played well over the last few weeks. Even this year I believe it's been his best year so far. He's definitely been feeling confident.
For me, obviously compared to how the last two tiebreaks I played two weeks ago went, it was important to have that discipline, to be strict with myself in those tiebreakers, step up, obviously be more successful this time around.
Q. Coming here as the finalist from a year ago, do you think you have been afforded the proper respect you have earned by now? Do you think you're not getting that respect?
MILOS RAONIC: I guess I haven't given it thought, nor do I think it really matters. I go out there just trying to win. I'm not too worried on other people's perception.
Q. You've been through injuries in your career, you always bounce back. Genie right now is struggling with injury. How difficult is it for her to bounce back, come back strong this summer, after the ankle injury she's suffered?
MILOS RAONIC: I'm not really aware of what she's going through right now physically. But for me, the anecdote, sort of the recipe was always just put your head down, work hard, come back when you're 100%. If you put in the work, it makes the whole process a little bit easier when it comes to important matches.
Q. In terms of the crowd from last year, how do they feel? Do they feel different for your first match last year? Do you feel they've warmed to you?
MILOS RAONIC: Yeah, it was a great feeling out there on Court 1. Last year obviously it was much later on that I had a chance to play there in the tournament. All these kind of things.
It makes it more enjoyable, makes it more fun to have that energy to feed off of. It sort of gives you an exciting experience going out there and having something not only to use for yourself but something to use. Because tennis is such a mental sport, it can help you in a lot of ways through very difficult and trying moments.
Q. Would you say this is the slam you're most connected to?
MILOS RAONIC: I think so because I've had the best success here. But it's also a different kind of energies here compared to New York, for example, is a different kind of energy. So it has its different tastes.
But I enjoy it here a lot just because of the tradition that's stuck around in this tournament, that tradition that's always been highly sought after. The All England Club have continued, I think it's a special vibe here.
Q. What was the most lasting impact that you had from your coaching experience with McEnroe?
MILOS RAONIC: I think the mental side of things always brought a lot of attention. So today it was something that I wanted to make sure that I did a lot better, considering that I haven't necessarily always been playing my best over the last few weeks. So it was important that at least I put my mind into it, and hopefully the body follows.
Q. On your current coach, you said before Queen's that you felt you'd really understand what it's like having him on your team playing more matches together. You experienced a loss and a win now. What changes has he made? How has it been working together?
MILOS RAONIC: It's been good. It's been positive. He's helped me out on a lot of things, especially from how other players perceive different changes of rhythm that I may be able to enforce throughout a match. So things that I can do to help benefit myself throughout a match, not only looking at it from the perspective of how do I feel, but also paying attention to the aspect of how does my opponent feel in these situations, trying to feed off that, as well.
Q. Can you say a few words on your next opponent.
MILOS RAONIC: Youzhny, I've played him a bunch of times. Lost to him the last time we played. I have to be very disciplined with myself. Even that match I lost to him, I had a few match points. I think I was up a set, 5-1 in the tiebreak, even 6-1 in the tiebreak in the second set. Internal discipline for myself to be able to impose and dictate with my game is going to be the most important thing for me.
Q. The headband, new statement?
MILOS RAONIC: I think it took like a week off, no? Hasn't been gone that long. I've had it over the last few weeks.
Q. Is it a permanent Wimbledon fashion statement?
MILOS RAONIC: You know what, I'm going to have to keep you guessing, Tom. You'll actually have to watch my matches this way to know if it's stuck around (smiling).
Q. Not going to see the sleeve any more either?
MILOS RAONIC: I had it in my bag, but I didn't bring it out today.
Q. That's a big scoop. I thought it was long gone.
MILOS RAONIC: (Smiling).