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Milos Raonic Interview
Australian Open, January 20
Q. You were really calm, cool, played a good match.
MILOS RAONIC: Happy with how things went today. Again, I was able to take care of my serve, like my last match, and I was able to use my opportunities on his.
Just got a bit tight there towards the end, but pulled it back together the next game and played a good tiebreak. So I'm happy with that.
Q. Have you been told that that ball was on the line that you thought was on the line?
MILOS RAONIC: Yeah. I didn't ask too much, but people have been saying it to me.
But I was happy I got around that. I was ready no matter what the situation is to keep playing, if I had to, if things went south. But I feel like I played two good tiebreaks. I don't think I lost any points on my serve.
Not much I can really complain about there. I'm taking care of my points and using my opportunities.
Q. Have you served better than that very often?
MILOS RAONIC: I feel like lately I've been working a lot on my serve. And I think a lot of pressure is taken off my serve because of my second shot, I'm playing well with it, dictating a lot. Because always I was getting a lot of block returns. Maybe I would get tight or not play the first ball after as aggressively and effectively.
Now I'm taking care of that, so that's taking even more pressure off my serve. So this is letting me relax more.
Q. Three wins in qualifying, then two in the main draw. Is this the best form of your career?
MILOS RAONIC: As far as playing on a specific day, I wouldn't say so. But as far as in a tournament, this is my biggest result. It's my biggest achievement to date.
But I hope to do more than this. I feel like I can. I feel like I'm playing at a level that I'm still there and I'm there with the top guys.
I look forward to the next match and I look forward to imposing my game.
Q. Has this exceeded your expectations, what's happened so far?
MILOS RAONIC: Before I came here, obviously I wasn't thinking this far ahead. But going day into day, seeing how stuff progressed, how I was playing better after the first week of the year, it's not really a surprise.
But before this trip, yeah, it is.
Q. How are you going to keep up the momentum as the stakes rise?
MILOS RAONIC: It's really not the stakes I'm too worried about right now. I'm not thinking about that too much. I'm thinking about really working my way up the ladder. Improving my level is a big thing for me, making sure I'm playing the game, making sure I'm playing well week in, week out. I feel like I'm doing that better now than I have ever before.
So I'm happy with my progress. As long as I keep developing in the right way, I feel the results will come. So I'm really not stressing too much about it. But I'm going to go out there and fight for every point.
Q. Having had those three qualifiers and these two matches, get a bit of rhythm, do you feel like you're learning more about yourself, what you can do against those good guys?
MILOS RAONIC: I've always known what I can do. It's just been about implying it and using my game, imposing my weapons on my opponents. And obviously it's brought on a new confidence to me, so this comes easier, believing in myself more. This comes with winning matches.
I'm able to do that more effectively right now than I have ever before.
Q. We don't know a lot about you in Australia. You've been compared to Mark Philippoussis. Do you know him at all?
MILOS RAONIC: I was a big fan of him. I followed throughout his career, most of his career. He grew up during my idol Sampras, whose matches I would tape and watch all the time, many times, one match. That's a really good comparison to have.
Q. No plans for a reality dating show?
MILOS RAONIC: No, not yet. Maybe after tennis (smiling).
Q. What do you feel like this means for Canadian tennis?
MILOS RAONIC: That's actually big, because always I want to be able to give back. With the state of Canadian tennis, I feel like there's a lot I can give to that. This is, I'm hoping, going to have a big effect on it.
My presence and my voice will have more of a say, I feel, within the Canadian tennis. I hope to help the sport grow, so this isn't a big deal for us. We want this to be four times a year in each of the Grand Slams, we want to have this consistent level.
Q. How are you feeling physically after five matches? It was quite warm today. Your opponent looked like he was feeling it fairly early on. You're even a bigger guy than he is. How did you feel? How did the heat affect you?
MILOS RAONIC: I was very fortunate last year. It's a fortunate situation, not unfortunate, that I got hurt at the end of the year. I tore my pec. But this allowed me to start up the off season on November 15th.
So this gave me six weeks of very tough fitness. It's really paying off here. It's helping out. I'm really feeling no stress, no fatigue in my body. I'm feeling fresh day in and day out. I'm obviously doing the things I have to to recover: taking care of my body, making sure I don't get hurt.
But I feel I did put in the hours this off season that are shining right now in my game and in my fitness, so...
Q. When you compare this match to the last one and maybe the next one, are you more relaxed playing these matches than you were playing that last match in the qualifying?
MILOS RAONIC: I wouldn't say it was more the pressure. I just had a different outlook on the match. As soon as I lost my serve at the beginning of the match, I started panicking right away. I wasn't really happy with that.
First week of the year, in Chennai, I lost last round quallies 7 6 in the third, not playing a good match, but also panicking.
But what I've been being told by my coach, It doesn't matter how bad you play, as long as you win, you'll have another chance to get better and another chance.
I won that match on that day, and I've had two chances and I'm playing better and better by the day and I look forward to my next match.
Q. And the 230, how many faster serves than that have you hit?
MILOS RAONIC: I didn't know I hit 230. What is it...
Q. 142, I think, roughly.
MILOS RAONIC: That's interesting. I'll look where it puts me on the leaderboard.
Q. Stupid question, but how hard do you think you could hit one?
MILOS RAONIC: I don't know. I don't think I could hit much harder than that. I do resort to sometimes going for that because I know I have a good shoulder on me. So it is a weapon of mine, so I use it when I can.
I tried not to get too carried away with the numbers, that aspect, because I feel like I can move the ball around the service box quite well.
Q. If it is Youzhny, any thoughts about possibly playing him?
MILOS RAONIC: He's going to fight for every point and so am I. We're going to get out there. It's going to be a good match. I'm going to try the same: impose my game, try to dictate play more, try to go for my chances, really not have any regrets after my match.
I know if I do this, everything's going to come together. We'll see what happens.
Q. What is the experience like of sitting in the same chair as Federer and Nadal in the interview room at the Australian Open?
MILOS RAONIC: It's something new that comes with everything, with the results, so forth. I hope it's not just a one time experience. I hope many more times.
I try not to get carried away with these quirks and perks. But it's nice to have. It's nice to have this recognition.
But I've put in the hours. I know that I deserve the moments I'm getting right now and the moments I'm fighting for.