Milos Raonic speaks to the media following his 4-6, 6-1, 7-6(4), 6-3 win over Kei Nishikori
Q. Who were you rooting for at the end of the second set of Kyrgios and Nadal, the older guy or the younger guy?
MILOS RAONIC: I wasn't rooting. I was just watching.
Q. What did you observe?
MILOS RAONIC: Some habits. Seeing what they do. I played Kyrgios recently; I haven't played Rafa for a while. So just looking and trying to see what the tendencies are.
Q. Your last match was the best you'd ever served. Was this better than that, the last three sets?
MILOS RAONIC: Yeah. I've been serving in general well this tournament, and even throughout the clay court season. But obviously here it sort of gets exemplified a little bit more. It's a little bit more on display.
That's helping me, taking a lot of pressure off me and putting more so on my opponents.
Q. Speaking of your serve, Kei just said he couldn't read your serve at all. You are very intelligent player. Maybe that's why he couldn't read your serve. Can you talk about mixing up different kinds of shots. Talk about what is the key of making that many aces.
MILOS RAONIC: Well, the most important thing is when you decide to go somewhere that you hit the spot and you hit it, for me, pretty big. So it's important to be able to hit your spots close to the lines and sort of keep it out of reach.
Another important thing is from the same position pretty much, same toss, to be able to serve wherever you want. And also, to have the confidence in all the serves, that when the important moments do come up, you don't sort of go to a habit, you can always keep changing it.
Q. I think there were seven breakpoints in that first game. I think we'd only seen you face one breakpoint. Tell us a little bit about what it's like to try and regroup after each one, sort of how you felt after losing the first game in the first set.
MILOS RAONIC: Well, each one, doesn't matter if it's triple breakpoint or if it's a single breakpoint, you just treat it as one at the time.
For me, the most important thing is I focus on what do I need to do with my serve pretty much. And then after that, I always have sort of the game plan try to take a forehand no matter where it goes.
I just stick to a routine. It's pretty basic in my mind probably because I've done it so much. I don't really have to think too much about it.
But after that, it's the first game. The next game I had another close game. But then after I started finding a rhythm, so I sort of calmed down pretty quickly. I wasn't able to create any chances on his serve.
Knowing it's three-out-of-five, the way I was able to hold at the end of the first set, it gave me a little bit of peace of mind if I could sort of keep going that way.
Q. You're the first Canadian to reach the quarters here for 102 years. Do you feel you're a part of history, on the verge of a breakthrough in a major? Will you be joining a Canada Day celebration anywhere tonight?
MILOS RAONIC: To the second one, no, just because I have to play tomorrow. It's a quick turnaround.
To that first question, it is what it is. Unfortunately, to this point there hasn't been as much Canadian success, especially on the singles side in the men's.
So all the things sort of come and go and you appreciate them, but you don't give them too much value because it's ambitions that are beyond doing what no Canadian has done before. It's about really trying to become the best player in the world.
Q. Earlier in the week you talked about how you watched the big four and how you learned from them. What did you learn from Nadal on court and off court also?
MILOS RAONIC: You see his habits, his tendencies. You see on court and off court, through training, the professionalism, the discipline that comes with it. You see how he goes through his stuff very diligently, but at the same time he exerts himself physically throughout tournaments.
He doesn't really, outside of matches, exert himself mentally or psychologically. So he's always fresh mentally for matches.
And then just the way he deals in the middle of matches. He can smell opportunities. He knows when he needs to pick it up.
When I played him in Miami, in that third set until 3-All, he made a few mistakes in the beginning of the third set, but you could see he was trying to find his range to be a bit more aggressive.
He sort of found it and was able to get past me towards the end of that third set.
Just those sort of habits you pick up. You know when you need to step up. You know what kind of things you're looking for. You just try to incorporate as much as you can into your own game.
Q. Should we be surprised that you're not serve and volleying that much? You almost do it more on clay courts. You're not coming to the net all that much. Is it a specific plan that you have to work points from the baseline, or does it depend on the situation?
MILOS RAONIC: It depends on the situation. I know with Kei, he's very quick. If you don't get behind a good approach or if you don't do enough with that first volley, you can be in trouble. He can sort of dig it out from both sides.
Previous matches, Lukasz didn't put that many returns in, so I found a rhythm there. It's whatever way I find the rhythm. Today at the end of the match I needed to do it because he was standing a little further back. To make him see something else, to not make him get comfortable. I wasn't putting first serves in.
But I think on clay, the guys have the tendency of - maybe their first instinct is to return from further back. This way you just take time away from them.
Q. A lot of high-profile players have complained about the scheduling because of the rain delays, having to play consecutive days. Does that give you encouragement? Do you want to take that momentum forward knowing they're unsettled?
MILOS RAONIC: To tell you the truth, it doesn't really mean anything. Everybody, when they step on the court, they're going to fight. They're not going to hold a grudge against the scheduling or whatever. They know they have to play that match in that moment. It is what it is.
You just have to make the most out of the situation. Everybody's really going through it. Really the only way you avoid that issue is if you're a top 1, 2, 3, or 4 seed this week that's been on Centre Court and you know you're going to play the day you're expected to play.
Everybody else, 200 however many players, singles, doubles combined, everybody's got that issue. Everybody makes it disappear mentally as soon as the match starts.
Q. It's Canada Day. Could you talk about the pluses of your Canadian experiences as a family and how it's helped you as an ATP player? Except for Air Canada losing your luggage, what is the downside?
MILOS RAONIC: Have they lost my luggage?
Q. When you came to San Jose.
MILOS RAONIC: That's true. Usually I hold grudges about that kind of stuff, so I'm surprised I forgot.
Yeah, so where my family came from, the situation we were in sort of gave us no option. My parents, both well-educated, had an equal opportunity to really start thinking of opportunity to us, the three kids, myself, my brother, and my sister.
They both got jobs on the exact same day. Pretty much the first day they applied. So all of those things are very fortunate. I don't know if that would have been possible in a lot of different places in the world.
My parents speak good English now, but I don't think they did back then. I don't remember. I was three years old, to tell you the truth. We had the opportunity to go from living in a tiny apartment with my grandmother there to help take care of mostly me and help with my brother and sister, to having a comfortable middle class life in a nice suburb of Toronto.
All those things built towards my brother and sister having what they have, the education they have, but also towards me being here. Canada is a big part of that. Canada gave my parents the possibility to give us that possibility.
I never really understood it until I grew up and was much older and then traveled. You see what kind of things people go through to find their opportunities.
I'm able to have a much deeper appreciation for that now. It helps me out a lot on tour. You have a lot of different cultures that you face, Toronto, Montréal, Vancouver, anywhere really. It just makes the fact of travel that much easier.
Since you know how to deal with so many people and so many cultures, a lot of the difficulties that might be of travel for, let's say, Europeans coming to the U.S. or the Americans coming over to Europe, it makes it that much easier. You don't give it too much thought.
I don't mind being wherever in the world I may be for however many weeks. My main objective is the tennis and that all is secondary. I think that helps me out a lot, the support I've gotten from a young age from Tennis Canada since I was 16 to the kind of support I get now form the general public, from sponsors, Canadian sponsors, all these kinds of things, I'm very grateful for. It's given us a lot of possibilities, and it still does continue to.
My parents both are very happily retired. They're able to enjoy their grandkids. They're able to enjoy traveling with me to tournaments.
I don't think there is that kind of personal freedom in many places around the world that you can find there, as long as you work for it. If you're ready to work for it, that opportunity will be there. You just got to go out and take it.
Q. Certainly if Nadal wins the match, you'll probably be on Centre or 1. How much will you appreciate getting onto a big show court?
MILOS RAONIC: Yeah, it will be nice. The lines won't change. The court won't change. The balls will be the same. You just forget all those kinds of things. There will be another time really to appreciate it. It's an opportunity I want to take.
Q. What if it's Centre Court?
MILOS RAONIC: Take a glance, enjoy it, appreciate it, forget it.
Q. You just said previously you lost to Kei two times. This time did you change your tactics or approach in today's match?
MILOS RAONIC: Yeah, a little bit, but not really too much. Definitely from when I played him in Tokyo ??? I believe that was in 2012 in the final ??? I think we were both much less the players that we are to this day, the level of both of us.
But compared to Madrid, I don't feel like I did too much. In Madrid I gave myself the possibility, as well. I was up 5-2, serving for that - 5-3 serving for that first set. There were a lot of little things that went one way or the other. I came out with an approach. I just had to execute better.
But I felt in Madrid I had the right game plan. It was just about, Does it come? Does it happen that day or not?
Q. What is the key for you tomorrow if you play Nadal, and same question if you play Kyrgios?
MILOS RAONIC: Serving well. I've been able to do that so far. It's what's going to put the pressure on my opponent. It's what's going to give me a bit of freedom on the return games.
After that, the most important thing is going to be the attitude, the mental approach. I want to do much better than I did in Paris. I feel like I'm ready to do so.