Milos Raonic US Open Interview | 1st Round | Tuesday, August 28, 2012
Q. Just another day at the office?
MILOS RAONIC: I wish. (Smiling). No, just happy with the outcome and that I managed to sort of make the most of that moment and just find a way to win. Everything else I've gotta hope gets better in the next round.
Q. Few little battles with yourself today?
MILOS RAONIC: Yeah, I just felt like a lot of basic stuff I wasn't doing. I don't think I struggled with my serve that much a long, long time. A lot of double faults, and it wasn't just one double fault per game. It was when I double‑faulted I double‑faulted consistently a couple times in a row, so that made my job a lot more difficult and it gave him a little bit more freedom at the same time.
Q. You have had some tough losses, long losses at the slams this year, so it must have been good to get a five‑setter?
MILOS RAONIC: Yeah, no, it was good, especially coming down from a break in the second set. It was not looking even in my own eyes at that point like the best situation, but just made the most of it.
Q. Were you surprised there were stages in the match when he really returned your serve well? Was he returning that well?
MILOS RAONIC: He was returning well, but I gave him the opportunity to return well. Last time I played him I served consistently well throughout the match, so I just instilled a little bit of fear and doubt on his return game. Whereas today I had way too many lapses, so after a while he sort of was seeing the light and saying, Okay, if I just stick with him I'll sort of have a few cracks at his serve.
Q. Do you feel like you've played offensively enough today? Was he kind of dictating a lot of the points where it was close to the baseline?
MILOS RAONIC: He was dictating. I felt like he was going for quite a bit and was not missing. The thing is, most of the time my initial way of creating pressure on my opponents is with the serve, serving and holding quite comfortably, and then they hesitate a little more on their service games and that gives me a little bit more freedom. So he was holding easier than I was. He was having more freedom to swing on his serve games and my service game. So it's sort of like a double‑edged sword. It was hurting me today that I wasn't serving well.
Q. Have you had to adjust your career expectations as players have started peaking later in their careers.
MILOS RAONIC: I haven't really thought about it too much. I understand it's sport and stuff happens and you don't have control over too many things. You don't know when you're going to play well, when things are going to really come together for you. So I haven't really thought too much about it. It's been more so the thought of like today making sure I get through a moment like today and trying to be better for my next round.
Q. The end of the second set sort of is almost shocking to me. You were going along in the first, seemed to be in control of the second, and then, boom, you lost your serve. I think you made a sign that you were disappointed. It happened all very quickly. From a fairly one‑sided match it went to...
MILOS RAONIC: At one point he had two really good returns, and especially from the deuce on. I had two double faults, so I made the game a lot closer. Just like the games of the second set, first game I think I had three double faults. It was just not really characteristic mistakes I was making. It was just letting him stay around. At that point, I felt like ‑‑ normally it's when I'm quite good at sort of ‑ especially with my serve ‑ sort of keeping the pressure on my opponents, and I wasn't doing that today.
Q. You have lost again some very close matches this summer where it looked like you had chances to win to Isner and Del Potro, Wawrinka. What is it you need to close out those matches?
MILOS RAONIC: It hasn't really necessarily come at the end of matches. I think it's more so opportunities I miss earlier, and then you play a little bit tighter at the end of the matches. Even if I miss opportunities, I think I just need to stick more to what I know how to do. At the same time, I need to, I think, improve at sort of reading the game a little bit better and taking those opportunities and converting them earlier in the matches. I feel at that stage it will sort of all just come together. It's all step by step and sort of just get the pieces to come together.
Q. So you pinpointed your return as the shot where that would make the biggest difference. How do you go about working on a shot like that?
MILOS RAONIC: It hasn't been necessarily specifically the return. I think it's been more so converting from being ‑‑ doesn't matter who you return against other than maybe one or two, maybe even just one player, Novak ‑‑ everybody else after the serve is mostly in a defensive position, at best neutral. Nobody really gets in the offensive off the return of serve. It's more so the shots after being able to convert quicker and sort of get ahead in the point where I'm dictating rather than sort of depending on him more so to hit a short ball or me to get an opening sort of to be able to create a little bit more with the return of serve. But at the same time, with the first second ball after the return being ‑‑ sort of just seeing my opportunities a little bit better and sort of capitalizing on that.
Q. What do you admire and respect most about Roger Federer as you consider his game all through his career and now that he's back to No. 1?
MILOS RAONIC: I think the most ‑‑ well, one thing is the way he plays. I think he's one of the most enjoyable players to watch. There's just such an ease to it. I think at the same time, that's why he has been able to come back to No. 1. That's why he has been able to stay healthy. There's a fluidity and an ease that everything he does looks very athletic and none of it really looks forced. I think it's helped his longevity as well; at the same time, it's helped him stay healthy and not really have any big problems. I think also a big thing is him you will find a lot of times where he's not playing well and he finds a way to win. Then he just gets better and better throughout the tournament. I think that's a big thing between him, Rafa especially, and as well as Novak the last period of time.
Q. He went off a little bit in the fourth and maybe gave you the opening, but are you aware you have that effect on guys with your serve? Even though they're ahead, they still know you're there and if they slip at all they're in big trouble?
MILOS RAONIC: Yeah, it's a big advantage. I knew as soon as I got that sort of ‑‑ I wasn't even thinking about the second break in the fourth set. I was thinking more so if I get that first one back and I start just cleaning up a little bit, mistakes I'm making on my serve, I'll have a good chance coming down to a tiebreak. So it was nice to get a second break, but at the same time, I could sort of feel he was getting a little bit impatient and he was getting a little bit tired. The shots he was going for earlier his legs just just weren't behind as much and he was starting to make a few mistakes he wasn't making earlier.
Q. How fast are the courts playing?
MILOS RAONIC: Courts are playing pretty quick. They're quite different. I don't think there is really that many courts that are the exact same. I haven't practiced on too many, but I notice that the practice courts are quite a bit slower than the first few days I was practicing on Grandstand. I know Court 17 is a bit quicker than the court I was playing on because I practiced there the last couple days. The courts haven't all been the same, but they're playing like a comfortable speed. Not too different from the last few weeks.
Q. In some ways is this your home continent Grand Slam, or do you just put that with Toronto and Montreal as the home country Grand Slam but when you come in here do you feel like it's North America, it's the US Open, and this one is big to me?
MILOS RAONIC: Yeah, in a way, because it is so close and I do have friends and family come out more so than I do at the other events. But it's a comfortable event for me. I enjoy the city here. I enjoy the tournament. But at the same time, I think there's not really any more pressure than per se Wimbledon just because it's one event that I really look up to a little bit more than the other ones. I would really like to do well in.
Q. Does it seem like it was just two years ago you lost to Carsten?
MILOS RAONIC: It seems a little bit longer. I tried to forget that as much as I could.
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