Milos Raonic talks to the media after the 7-6(3), 6-4, 7-5 win against Albert Ramos-Vinolas
Q. I thought he played pretty well today. What does that say about how you played?
MILOS RAONIC: No, I did a lot of things well today. I was efficient on my serve, created a bunch of opportunities. I started getting better and better there. Maybe at the beginning I wasn't controlling the situation enough. But as the match went on, I felt like I was dictating more so from the baseline. He was coming up with some good serves in the important moments.
Q. You missed a couple of volleys in the first set, but then hit a couple of beauties in the tiebreak. Did that give you confidence?
MILOS RAONIC: Yeah, I think I just hesitated a little bit. It was sort of reflective of letting him dictate a little bit too much. I needed to go after more. I was maybe even just looking up a little bit to see which way he was going instead of just focusing on the shot.
Q. What have you learned last year when you reached the final that you can use right now to go far in the tournament?
MILOS RAONIC: Nothing new, but I think it's more just how to execute the things. I think all the clichés prove true: taking it one match at a time, all these kind of things, staying very much in the moment, not getting too far ahead of yourself.
I think rather than just saying and having the idea of what I need to do, I can execute it much better.
Q. You missed quite a bit because of a hamstring. Do you do anything in particular to get back into fitness? Was it just time? Did you try different therapies?
MILOS RAONIC: Yeah, that's part of my sort of regiment [sic] change. Before I was spending quite a bit more time in the gym than I was on court. Now it's sort of the other way around.
The philosophy is, if you need some cardio, go out, play, run a bit more on the court. If you need to get strength, go to the weight room.
Before, I was doing a lot of stuff to sort of mimic tennis practice in the gym. Now I just try to be a bit more specific on court.
Q. A couple of players said earlier that the speed of the courts here were slower than at Roland Garros. Since then a few players said they are slower in terms of grass, but not necessarily slower than Roland Garros. What is your opinion?
MILOS RAONIC: I think it's very weather influenced. I think the court is harder probably because it's a bit more dried out. I remember last year there was a lot of rain the week before this tournament, two weeks before, and even that practice week it was hard to always get practice sessions in.
I think what that does is it softens up the grass a little bit. The ball stays lower. Automatically people think when it's lower, it skids through the court a little bit because the grass is not sort of as frail. That's where it sort of slows down. The surface just becomes a bit harder so it comes up a bit more. I think that's what people are referring to.
Q. In any craft or profession, including tennis, so much of success depends on refining your skills. What motivates you most to do that?
MILOS RAONIC: I think it's about the fact that I believe there's a significant part of my game, in every aspect, that I can improve. So as long as there's some improvement I'm looking for, I think that's what I strive for.
To me, the hardest thing would be to accept that moment where it's about my abilities regressing, that I can't really improve any more. That would be harder for me to find motivation in that.
Q. Early this week John McEnroe suggested on television that this could be your year. Do you think that? Do you feel that way?
MILOS RAONIC: I just am taking it one step at a time. Could it be? Could it not be? That's beyond me to say. I'm just trying to control what I can within my game, trying to do my things well, trying to execute well, trying to win as many matches as possible.
Whatever that may present me with in a few days or in a week's time, I think it will just be a testament to the way I put out my attention and sort of the hard work I put in.
Q. Can you talk about your progression in this tournament, how you think your game has sharpened up through these three matches. You came in without a lot of match play recently.
MILOS RAONIC: I think just mentally I sharpened up a lot. Both those first two matches, I always played quite well in the important moments when I'd get down a breakpoint or this kind of thing.
I think what I'm doing now a bit better is I'm sharp from the first point on my service games, but also the return games. I'm in a lot more return games. I think I'm there, I'm present. I'm giving myself the best chance to win each point rather than sort of one good game here, a few bad games here. I feel like I'm sort of sticking around a bit more and putting in a more consistent display.
Also that just gives me confidence and helps me execute my shots better.
Q. I think I saw it right, the 138, that was a second serve ace you hit?
MILOS RAONIC: Yeah.
Q. Have you hit a faster second serve ever before?
MILOS RAONIC: Yeah. But, you know, I was holding pretty comfortably so I had a little bit of freedom to experiment there.
Q. You had a fair number of long rallies with him today. When you're rallying with a guy like him on grass, possibly Sascha Zverev in the next round, is that a particular challenge to show these guys you can be just as good as they are from the baseline?
MILOS RAONIC: I don't think it's about showing anything. Obviously there was somewhere that was the situation I was put in. He was playing deep. I really didn't have those opportunities to step up or work my way forward. Some of them there was situations presented that I could have been more aggressive on that I wish I had been.
I think I've always, over the last few years, been there from the baseline aspect. It's not like I'm rushing to the net because I can't take care of my own from the back. But I think it does send a positive message, at least on my behalf, across the net when I can be there, been winning a good amount of those important points. I think it just sort of takes away the perspective of I'll always do quite well in the short points; that I can be there for the long ones, too, helps.
Q. Middle Monday is unique to Wimbledon where the surviving men and women are all in action, and the fans get to see both. What is that day like for you?
MILOS RAONIC: I don't think it's really any different. You're waiting for matches to finish if you're not the first one on, or you're up there at 11:30 or 1:00, whatever it may be. I don't think really it's any different.
I think you have the exact same amount of men's and women's singles matches as you do today or yesterday. You're going to have eight matches on each side. Obviously the fact that it's the fourth round, maybe the entertainment of the matches is higher, there's more at stake.
But I think that's something for the fans and the spectators to appreciate. For the players I think it's just another step in the process.
Q. Sascha Zverev, was Rome the last time you played him?
MILOS RAONIC: Yeah.
Q. How would you feel about playing him on the grass?
MILOS RAONIC: I'd like the opportunity. He's made good strides over the last few years, especially over the last 16 months, with his game. I definitely would like to play him on grass.
Q. Is there anything about playing a guy that tall, do you lose any kind of an advantage when the guy is actually an inch taller than you?
MILOS RAONIC: Not really. I think I have one of the best serves, even though I might not be the tallest guy out there.
Q. I was reading the stats today. The 14th time in 26 Grand Slams that you have reached the second week. Talk about how difficult that is each time to just reach that step.
MILOS RAONIC: Yeah, it takes persistence. I've been quite fortunate that ever since I qualified for Australia in 2011, I've always been a seed in every slam that I've entered in on my ranking. That's obviously a help, because that protects you from seeds in the first two rounds. It allows me always to get my game together. That helps.
But it's the first week, when you're just sort of trying to figure the things out, trying to get by, regardless of how difficult the situation is, then you hope your game comes together and you can really start playing your best tennis come the second week.
Q. A question about your serving and volleying. I think I have you as 35 for 43 in the tournament, same percentage as your serve-and-volley points, you're winning the same as you are with your regular first serve points. How do you decide how much you're going to employ that game tactic? Do you adapt to the situations in the match or plan ahead?
MILOS RAONIC: I think you adapt. Also I think it's about keeping the other guy off balance. It's not about doing it all the time. Then the guy has the idea maybe just try to get the return low. But if you stay back, that ends up being an easy forehand most of the time.
I think it's about keeping the guy off balance, but then also about the tendencies of the guy's return stance positioning. Are they a guy that hits over the ball? Are they a guy that tries to chip returns in? See how much time you have to come forward. Does he like to float returns?
I think it's unique in every single situation.
Then also you have to see if you're hitting your spots. Sometimes you serve and volley off slower serves on purpose so you have more time to get closer. Sometimes you do it off harder serves. It's about always having the other guy think.
Q. So many people are focused on a fall from the big four to open a door for the next group. When you're thinking about moving up or through that door, what to you is the key to getting there as opposed to something from them? How much do you think about getting over that threshold through that door?
MILOS RAONIC: Yeah, I think it's the pursuit of excellence each and every day. I think that's what those four guys have done better than everybody, ever in tennis. Despite how it could have been very discouraging for Novak being behind Roger and Rafa for so many years, then Andy the same thing, being behind a bunch. They just pursued excellence each and every day.
That's what I try to do. Hopefully that results in me being better and better, my level keeps improving, and that I keep playing important matches, learning from those important matches. These guys have an unmatched amount of experience in difficult moments. So when the moments arise that I have those opportunities, not only is it important that I try to execute and make the most of those moments, but it's also important that if that's not the case that I reflect and I learn a lot from those situations, trying to sort of close that gap on the experience aspect of things.
I'm not here waiting for anybody to play badly or not be who they once were. I'm just trying to be the best I can. Hopefully that can lead to bigger things each and every day.
Q. Do you think of it as a door or threshold, something like that?
MILOS RAONIC: You know, confidence-wise when you see somebody that might not be at their most chiseled state, when you see some kind of fragile aspect, it gives you belief.
But I don't think it's about a door or not. These guys, you've seen many open doors and they've shut them. You have to take it in your hands if you want to make a difference against these guys that have been around for so long.
Q. Sometimes when you get these high floaters in the air, a lot of players use the swing volley. You seem to just keep the wrist firm and block the volley back. Old school type of volleying. Do you have a preference?
MILOS RAONIC: I think it depends. I think here on this surface, every time you hit over the ball, the ball comes up a bit more also for the other guy. If you have the time that you can really take a full swipe at it, probably it's better. If you don't, it's probably better to stick it. The ball will stay low. It's not easy for other guys to change directions or to move.
I think it's just each and every point is unique in its own way and you try to make the best decision you can.
Q. What are you eating? What is it doing for you? What are you eating when you're out there?
MILOS RAONIC: Dates.
Q. What are you planning to do on the middle Sunday?
MILOS RAONIC: Just like I did every other day: a light practice and really focus on recovery, do as much homework as I can on whoever it is I play.
Q. Change of shoes after the second set.
MILOS RAONIC: Just, you know, that you have the little pimples on the bottom of the shoes. New shoes probably have fresher pimples.
Q. If it went four sets?
MILOS RAONIC: I would do the exact same thing.
Q. Go through three shoes if you're playing a five-set match?
MILOS RAONIC: Quite possibly.