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An Interview With: Milos Raonic

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Q. Have you ever looked back at past Grand Slam champions? Just there was a long stretch there where a lot of different guys were winning. Obviously people talk about the Big 4. Almost a decade now they have dominated. Do you think it's ever been this tough to break into the top the way it is now, the way those four guys have dominated for so long?

MILOS RAONIC: Yeah, it's definitely a really standout time in that aspect. There have obviously been constant champions here. Lendl was I think here in how many finals in a row? You have had lineups really of guys winning, and never really by four guys solely other than in 2009. Even mostly three guys to some extent. So it's definitely been a tough time for everybody else trying to breakthrough.

Q. Genie Bouchard has her own Army. Is there a name for your own fan section yet?

MILOS RAONIC: No. I haven't come up with a name.

Q. If you could name it, what would it be?

MILOS RAONIC: I haven't come up with a name (smiling).

Q. What's the status with the arm sleeve? Yes or no?

MILOS RAONIC: It's sticking around.

Q. Until?

MILOS RAONIC: Who knows (smiling)?

Q. You are going to play qualifier in the first round. Do you have any idea about your opponent?

MILOS RAONIC: A little bit. I have sort of followed the scoreline. He played a Canadian yesterday. I think I'll probably do a lot of my research that way, from what I hear from there. Especially being the first match for me and he's already played three matches, it's going to be about finding myself in that first match, figuring out what I need to do, and sort of finding my range and keeping it very simple and not really trying to do much.

Q. Do you think you're going to talk to Polansky to get the information...

MILOS RAONIC: Neither him, nor I don't know if the Davis Cup captain was watching, whoever it may be, definitely I will be asking questions. Not even just him. Maybe see who he's played throughout this year. There's plenty of guys in the locker room. The tennis world is not that big.

Q. You look so old. You doesn't look so young. I think it's better for you in this sport and in general. Do you like tattoos? What do you think about this?

MILOS RAONIC: (Smiling) I like my girls without tattoos.

Q. You spoke in Washington about the period you had after Wimbledon taking some time away from tennis training in a non-tennis environment. Have you changed anything in your buildup to this Grand Slam in reference to how well Wimbledon went for you in terms of being a contender?

MILOS RAONIC: Yes, to the extent of during the preparation of Wimbledon, especially because it is such a new surface - I lost the first round in Halle - we were really trying to spend a lot of time on court. Whereas here I have played many weeks already on hard courts. I have played a bunch of matches on this surface. I have been doing well, but I haven't necessarily particularly been playing, I would say, all the time my best tennis. So I have been more so focused on what I need to do that one Monday or Tuesday, whichever day I may play my first match, when it all starts is that mentally and physically I'm a 100%, and then trying to figure out the tennis on the go. We're using this week as a preparation week, but also a recovery week from all the matches I have played in the past three weeks.

Q. Does it feel different now knowing that in the last slam you were so close to the final weekend?

MILOS RAONIC: Yeah. But even if you asked me at the beginning of this year the two slams that I would have said where I would have the best shot is Australia and here. So that's another exciting aspect of it, especially how the other two slams that necessarily I didn't mention in that best-shot conversation, how well I did there.

Q. You mentioned you felt you hadn't played your best leading up to this. What exactly was it about your matches in Toronto and Cincinnati that you weren't happy with, or were you surprised that things weren't going as well as you thought they would?

MILOS RAONIC: Well, Toronto I didn't expect by any means. There's just a lot of noise going around there. I wouldn't necessarily say pressure, but just friends, family coming out, you know, making sure everybody is taken care of. It's really not a week that, doesn't matter how well you do, you don't feel tired leaving that week. So that's always going to be that way. So I was not expecting to play my best. And Cincinnati I was just making the most really of the chances I had. I was just trying to get better and better each match, and I was able to do so. I was able to survive some things. I felt that's always the goal for those three weeks. It was about, okay, let's play well but understand that your goal is to be playing your best come US Open time.

Q. Where does the US Open rank for you in terms of the other Grand Slams during the year?

MILOS RAONIC: Wimbledon has a special prestige to it, but I would say in the aspect of everything else that it's probably my favorite one. I spend a lot of time in New York. I like this city a lot. But outside of that, just the tennis alone, just because I grew up going to a lot of basketball games and other sports in other arenas where it's constantly noisy, I like the rowdiness here particularly.

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