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Milos Raonic first round

Tuesday 24 June 2014

Canada's Milos Raonic speaks the media following his 6-2, 6-4, 6-4 victory over Australial's Matthew Ebden.

Q.  How shocking is it that you played better than in Halle?

MILOS RAONIC:  Not at all.  There was not much worse I could have played.

Q.  So how did you play today?

MILOS RAONIC:  I played quite good considering first match.

I was solid in the moments I needed to be.  I served well.  I just put more pressure on him.  I was able to return quite well and do the things I wanted when I got control of the point.

Q.  Do you feel this is getting towards the way you should play on grass?

MILOS RAONIC:  Yeah.  I'm figuring out more.  I still got to get a little bit better on second serve returns.  Other than that, I felt like I was doing things well.

Q.  You've been tipped by some of the British press to go quite far in this tournament, semifinals.  What do you make of that?  Do you pay any attention to it?  Is it encouraging?  A pain?

MILOS RAONIC:  No, it's all positive.  But at the end of the day, just because somebody says it's going to happen doesn't mean it's going to happen.

There's a lot of tough moments to go through.  Just got to be prepared to face them as best as you can.

I'm looking forward to the challenges.  I know I can play better.  My goal is to play better and better if I'm able to play more and more matches, keep winning.

Q.  That's a really nice court, isn't it?  Seems the right dimensions in every way.

A.  It's a good atmosphere.  It's quite similar to actually Court 17, new Court 17 in New York.  The atmosphere is good.

It got filled up pretty nice, so the general feeling on that court was pretty positive.

Q.  The grass was sort of like the courts you practiced on?

MILOS RAONIC:  The main courts here are actually a little bit slower than the courts at Aorangi.  Other than that, there's not a single bad bounce really that you can expect.

It's good.  It's a nice court.  The only thing is in the middle of that court, if you go a little bit too far back, there's sort of a metal floor.

So that can be a little bit worrisome if you get caught too far back.  On grass, you're in trouble anyway if you get caught that far back.

Q.  There's a metal door?

MILOS RAONIC:  I don't know if it's a metal door or something.  Close to the wall.  There's still grass around it, but there's a flap, a trap door that goes somewhere, to something.

Q.  How do you find the experience of Wimbledon generally?  People always talk about it being a place they want to play at.

MILOS RAONIC:  There's a certain prestige I think.  I think you see nice grass courts, knowing how much time it actually takes to get grass courts of that quality.  You're here the week before.  Everything is getting freshly painted.

The rules, maybe because it's more strict makes it feel a little bit more prestigious.  There is a special aura about this tournament.  Everybody wants to do well here.

It's tough to do well here because the grass season is so short.  Nobody really grows up strictly on grass.

But everybody wants to be able to do well here.

Q.  Personally you enjoy the opportunities that come with that?

MILOS RAONIC:  Yeah, I do.  Obviously I don't enjoy my results that I've had so far here, but that prospect of doing much better, knowing that this year I'm in much better shape than I was last year, psychologically and as a tennis player, it's exciting.

I know I want to do much better than I have.

Q.  Psychologically is there anything specific that's helped you make that progress then?

MILOS RAONIC:  Just understanding what I need to do, and in tough moments knowing what sort of base I need to go back to to be able to get a certain level out of myself that can help get me through tough situations and tough matches.

Q.  How would you describe the difference in your mental state between last year and this year?

MILOS RAONIC:  Quite different.  Last year was struggling between a coaching change and did not play well pretty much three weeks in a row on clay coming into here.  After that as well on the grass I didn't feel like I played well.

I was just struggling with my tennis, but then I was also struggling with all the outside things of trying to figure out where and how everything should be in place.

Q.  Walking the grounds, people hear my accent; they assume I'm American.  When I say Canadian, they talk about what an exciting time it is in Canadian tennis.  Are you getting any sense of that excitement from people?

MILOS RAONIC:  Yeah, I think there's a lot more talk about it.  When you do media and press questions, it comes up quite a bit more.

Just from people in general, you see a more consistent pouring out of Canadians coming out.  Sometimes you'll see a person that's not a Canadian come out to a match with a Canadian flag with support for like a Roger or something with a Swiss flag.

It's nice to see that kind of shift.  I don't know, I wasn't on the tour many years ago, but I heard it wasn't anything like that.  It's nice to be a part of that.

Q.  I don't know the score now, but if it was Jack Sock, how would you feel about playing him?

MILOS RAONIC:  I've played him a few times, so I understand what I need to do.  I've always had a tough time with him, even when I've been able to win.

I know that I can sort of find the solutions.  I feel like I'm playing good, and I feel like I will play better in my next match.

I look forward to whatever that kind of challenge is.

Q.  Obviously the LTA in England, Michael Downey is the new chief executive.  Do you think he'll be able to help?  There's a lot of talk about the massive gap between Andy Murray and everybody else.  Do you think Michael can help British tennis?

MILOS RAONIC:  Yeah, Michael is very good at his job.  He's very good at understanding what he needs to do.

I think where he's probably the best at is he understands firstly he's a businessman.  The thing that he makes sure is he puts the right people in place to take care of the tennis aspect.

From what I've heard so far, he has done that.   After that, only time will tell.

Doesn't matter how good of a system you have, you still have to have in the kids, in the people.  Doesn't matter what you build around them, the players have to win the points on the court.

So you can't teach that or not, so that's not even a - I would say, whatever Michael does or whatever Bob may do, that's not even 20% of the job.

The players have to learn.  The kids have to learn.  The kids have to be very, very hungry.

It's tough.  You got many people in the world playing tennis.  Andy is one of probably three that's the big group of four.  It's hard to squeeze in that.

I think it's sort of normal to have a gap from him on to the rest, but maybe not that big.

Q.  I was going to ask about Bob as well.  People are excited about his arrival.  From your experience of him, people talk about him being very driven, helping people.  Do you see him the way people talk about him, being able to help people build that mindset?

MILOS RAONIC:  He is.  He's very good at his job.  The format is different than what he's used to because he's used to being the one that actually runs, let's say, the show and is directly there with the player.

So from what I understand, the format will be different because he'll be overlooking other coaches.  People are going to have to absorb his method.  That's not only going to be on Bob to teach it, but on their coaches that are in the system being ready to work under his structure and under his plans.

Because from what he's shown with many players, his method works.

Q.  You changed your mindset between last year and this year.  I wonder if you changed anything else about your Wimbledon experience.  Stay at a different place?  Go about your preparation here differently?

MILOS RAONIC:  No.  I probably played more on the courts this year than I have last year.  Just because of my seeding here, I'm able to get more court time, and I understand that it's very necessary to be able to adapt to this.

But have I prepared anything differently?  No.  I just go in I think understanding a little bit better that on grass concentration lapses can be very, very crucial in deciding results.  Things can slip quite quickly.  Expecting also not to play my best tennis and just fight.

 


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