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Milos Raonic quarter-final

Wednesday 2 July 2014

Milos Raonic speaks to the media following his 6-7(4), 6-2, 6-4, 7-6(4) victory against Nick Kyrgios.

Q. How does it feel, big boy?

MILOS RAONIC: Why does Tom get to ask the first question (smiling)?

It feels good. That's all I'll give you.

No, it's a good feeling. It was a very difficult match today. A lot of not knowing what to expect because I knew I played him three weeks ago, but it was very different circumstances this time around.

I'm happy with the result I was able to get out of it.

Q. Earlier in the tournament we discussed the big four, what you learned from the various guys. What is your sense of change that is taking place right now with you guys approaching what they're doing?

MILOS RAONIC: It's a thing I guess that you can't really out run time in one way. New guys got to come up and they've got to step up. We've been doing better and better, especially throughout this year. I think it's been more on display and it's stood out more.

It's good to be a part of it. It's nice to see that sort of human side to those four guys when you have to step up to face them. Have a belief more so than ever that it's yours for the taking if you play well.

Q. Is there a notable change in the locker room with regards to the attitude? Is there more belief amongst the players outside the top four?

MILOS RAONIC: There is. But you don't really see it in the locker room. I think you see it when guys step out on court. It's not like one player is going to another player and saying, You should believe more now. It's not a topic that comes around.

I think you see it more in people's play and people's attitude when they step out on court. It's a big difference to where probably a lot of guys were maybe a year ago. It's an even bigger difference where guys were two, three, four, five years ago where there was a very tight stranglehold on who was winning those big tournaments.

Q. Today Genie was asked if she felt surprised and whether or not people should be surprised by the fact she was playing in her third semifinal this year. She said, No, absolutely not, because I've always believed I'd be playing here; I've worked for it. Would you answer that question similarly? Would you say you're not surprised by your ascension here because it's always been the goal?

MILOS RAONIC: Yeah, I think the only sort of thing that sort of for the last two Grand Slams that has taken me a little bit more so, if you can call it a surprise, is where I've been doing it. I would have thought maybe I could have done better on the hard court slams quicker and earlier.

Unfortunately this year I was hurt at the beginning of the year. I felt really good going into the Australian Open. But now the place and the position I've put myself in, I have I think zero points outside of everything that's not a Masters or a Grand Slam.

I've been consistently able to do well in all those aspects, and I've been giving myself the possibility to face those top guys more consistently.

I know each time I feel like I get closer and I understand more what I need to do to turn those results around.

Q. Back to the theme of the up-and-coming guys encroaching on the big four, how much effect does it have when you get results like Nick's yesterday and Grigor today?

MILOS RAONIC: It goes around. It resonates. I think the one result that stands out the most this year has to be, at least in my eyes and maybe other guys as well, is what Stan did at the beginning of the year.

It doesn't have to be from a young guy. I think it has to be from this group that's considered contenders but sort of haven't been able to break through. I think that one, beating Novak and Rafa in that same time, because you have to do it, I think that one was the biggest sigh of belief and relief for a lot of guys.

I felt it when I was watching it in Tokyo during Davis Cup. You sort of felt like, Okay, he did it. I feel like I compete well with this guy. Why can't I do it?

Q. You said it would be time to step up. I guess there would be no better time to do that against Roger in the semifinal. He's going for the eighth title. That's not going to be in your thoughts at all when you play?

MILOS RAONIC: No. I've played him I believe four times now. He's gotten the better of me all four times.

But I haven't played him I think in more than a year, a year and a bit, so I think I'm a different player.

I've got in close with him in the past and I've found a lot of those things I can sort of pull away that give me a lot of belief that I can do this.

So there's no point to talk about it. I've got to step up and do it.

Q. When you first came out on the circuit there was a fair amount of talk about your being the next great one or real potential. You've had some good wins, but there's been a lot of bumps in the road, injuries. Talk about what finally breaking through here means.

MILOS RAONIC: It's things I've had to face. You can face them after you break through or you can face them before. But it's bumps, moments of disbelief, moments of doubt, moments of the best feelings that you'll have, and you have to face them.

You can face them at No. 30 in the world, you can face them at No. 10 in the world, but those are challenges you're going to have to put up with if you want to achieve the pinnacle of this sport.

In 2011 I broke through and I did a lot of things quickly, but I cannot say I had the level or by any means the understanding of, Okay, I'm going to be the next great one in a year or whatever that saying might have been.

I was far from that. There was a lot of developing I needed to do. There was a lot of learning, understanding about myself, about other people, about situations, about tennis, about life outside of tennis. There's a lot you have to go through.

I've been able to go through that. I've been I feel every year getting better and better. I think this year I probably stepped it up a little bit more than I did maybe from 2011 to the 2013 season.

I have a lot more understanding and stuff, but I don't think that you can do that in one year just because I went from whatever it was, 150 to 37, in however many weeks. The next steps are much harder.

Q. And the greatest lesson that you've learned and the toughest moment of doubt that you had?

MILOS RAONIC: Hard work always pays off. You got to be patient. You got to wait. You don't know when, but hard work always pays off. Don't ever look for that shortcut.

Q. Roger will be basically in his home on Centre Court at Wimbledon. How easy is it going to be in your mind to play the 32-year-old man rather than the seven-time Wimbledon champion?

MILOS RAONIC: I'm going to step out there and I'm not playing the seven-time Wimbledon champion. I'm not playing a 32-year-old man. I'm not playing father of two sets of twins, which is a very low possibility I bet to do. I'm not playing the guy that's won whatever he's won, which I could probably list quite vividly.

I'm playing a guy that is standing in my way of what I want to achieve, and I've got to focus on everything that's there, on the situation, how best to deal with it to give myself the best possibilities to achieve what I want.

Q. You've got an interesting coaching combination, two men from different generations, an Italian, then Ivan. Can you specify what does one bring to the people and the other, how they work together, their benefits?

MILOS RAONIC: Well, the biggest doubt I had first of all when I started with two coaches is dealing with two people not sure if there might be any kind of confusion because you're hearing things from two people.

But knowing how close Ivan and Ricardo were through their time, whatever, 15 or whatever years ago, I hear things, but I always hear one message. I hear it from two different guys, but it's always the same point.

We have the exact same goal. We spoke about exactly how and what I need to do to achieve that goal, how I need to play if I want to become what I strive to be. They both have very different ways.

I think Ivan, he's a lot more calm. Ricardo gets very excited in very positive ways about tennis, but Ivan is a lot more calm. He gives me a lot more understanding of just experiences that I might face, the feelings I might face; whereas Ricardo, he's very good not only from working Ivan, but working with a lot of players. He knows when to step in, what to say.

He can sense more from the player just because he's worked with so many different players, types of players, characters. He knows how to help you deal with the situations and how to not only coach the player but coach the personality.

They both focus on the same things, but they communicate it a little bit differently. Even when one of them is with me and the other guy is not, they talk multiple times a day, so I'm always getting constantly the same type of feedback.

Q. Are you still aware this could be a defining moment in your career?

MILOS RAONIC: Yeah, but it can be if I get the job done. I focus on what I need to do. Everything else is a ripple effect. Everything else is a reason. I have to create the cause for it by playing good tennis and giving myself the possibility to win.

Q. When you were exactly Nick Kyrgios' age you were ranked 380 and playing futures I think in Sherbrooke. Do you have a sense of what type of tournament this was for him and how you might have reacted at 19? Have the last four years gone quickly or slowly in your mind?

MILOS RAONIC: I don't know how I would have reacted to it at 19. I wasn't in the situation and I wasn't at that level that I could have put myself in the situation. But he's done very, very well. It's in a lot of ways inspirational for a lot of people to see.

I don't really understand what to expect from myself in that situation. The last four years a lot of things have changed, but I can remember everything vividly. Things pass by, tournaments go by, you face a lot of situations, but you have moments where I've been hurt and every day was the most boring day I faced in the last four years.

There's a lot of things I've faced. There's a lot of different speeds I've faced everything at. But everything has a value into putting me where I'm at right now.

Obviously I wish I wasn't hurt at that point, but everything had a value and a lesson behind it.

Q. You're a young guy, but this is a day a lot of people would never see, not only somebody making the semifinal but two of your making the semifinals. It's tough to put in historical context, but how do you feel about that?

MILOS RAONIC: I feel great. To see what Genie has been doing not just here but the last two Grand Slams is great. I've wanted the same things and more for myself always. Not just 'cause she did it, but since I've competed in my first slam obviously.

It wasn't always reality or it wasn't always reasonable, but I wanted those things. To be able to put myself in this situation means a lot.

I'm sure that the outbreak and the response back home is much more magnitude than anything else that's happened or that's resonated. I think not only her the last two slams, but us doing it at the same time here is bigger than anything we've done in Davis Cup, anything we've done at Fed Cup.

It has a bigger audience, a bigger meaning, a bigger recognition.

Q. How would you describe Roger's serve and your serve, then the other similarities and differences in your respective games?

MILOS RAONIC: Yeah, I think very highly of my serve. I think very highly of his. But I got to hope that my serve's better than his in that situation. I got to hope that my serve can get me through a lot of difficult situations in whatever sort of rises up.

Obviously, Roger has so many titles to his name, probably more than he has trophies. Magician, whatever you may call him, he's capable of doing so many things. He's quick. He can hurt you. He can do pretty much anything he wants with the ball.

I'm a little bit more predictable, but I go about my job and I get the job done. It's about trying to make him play on my terms rather than me playing on his.

If I can do that, I can create the possibilities for myself.

Q. How do you do that?

MILOS RAONIC: Serve well and take control of the point and dictate, control the center of the court. Not that I'm on my back foot or playing too much defensive tennis and trying to scramble back into points.

Q. Genie was talking about trying to enjoy the occasion even though she's got to focus on the semifinal. Do you have an image of how you'll be able to enjoy walking out onto Centre Court at Wimbledon in a semifinal without losing focus?

MILOS RAONIC: I don't know. I don't think so. I think not only stepping out on court, whatever, however many hours I have till my next match is going to be focused on what I need to do to give myself the best opportunity to win.

I think you'll never enjoy it completely, but always that thought will be in my mind, What do I need to do to win? Even stepping out, you can't erase that from your mind. I'm too competitive for that. I despise losing too much to be able to put that aside.

Q. When in this process of these years did you have the greatest doubt? Did you ever think you might not ever make it to the final weekend of a slam?

MILOS RAONIC: My process has changed quite a bit. I'm sure you'll probably see an interview from 2009, '10, whenever, that I would have said I would have been happy to be a consistent top 50 player.

If that were to happen to me now, knowing what I know, I would have been very disappointed with myself. So my process has really changed.

I wasn't the best junior. In three Grand Slam tries I won one match here as a junior. A lot of things have changed for me. I've created a lot of possibilities and opened a lot of doors for myself.

I didn't have a title by any chances, the next big prospect or anything. I worked for my things. Always had people around me that believed in me, coaches, my federation, my family and without that everything sort of come.

Now my ambition lies sort of to be the best. If you asked me that five years ago, six years ago, I don't think I could have given you that same answer.


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