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20 Year Old Milos Raonic Interview
By Ken Miller, Lawn Tennis Analyst, Posted: Wednesday, March 23, 2011 1:55pm PST USA
Milos Raonic Memphis Final Interview MEMPHIS-- Seeded 31st at this week’s Sony Ericsson Open In Miami, the 20 year old Milos Raonic of Canada exploded onto the ATP Tour last month from nowhere, winning nine matches in a row to become one of the most exciting players in years.

ATP Tour: With the 32 aces Milos hit today, he established a tournament record since 1991 when the ATP began keeping the aces statistics. He finished with 129 aces this week. And with the runner-up, he’ll move into the top 40 in the ATP Rankings on Monday. Questions?

Milos Raonic of Canada | Image: Getty

Memphis Final 2011:
(1)Andy Roddick(USA) def. (WC)Milos Raonic(CAN) 7-6(9-7), 6-7(11-13), 7-5

Question: Milos, you never showed an external emotion. But how many internal ups and downs? How much emotion was involved in that match for you?

Milos Raonic: Oh there was a lot. It was a difficult match. I don’t think either of us was playing great. But we just kept competing and doing what we could to try to win. And it’s tough when your mind’s telling something to your body, and your body’s not reacting. It’s tough when… when you’re in the final playing a top ten player… you’re not at your best… all you can do is fight… keep fighting; hope things turn around. Some things were unfortunate doing the match. And I think it’s nice that he had to come up with something that amazing to finish off the match.

Question: It seemed that you had this never saw die attitude. You fought off four matchpoints. Did you feel that today?

Milos Raonic: Oh, I try to keep that demeanor all the time, because there’s a lot that can change during the course of even one or two points. A match can turn around so quickly. And I’ve learned that through experience. I don’t have as much experience nearly as everybody else at these tournaments. But ah… I’m sort of… just… it’s all I can do… and something I learned is a big value if you keep that not just for yourself, but for the respect from others, and it can only help you. You don’t lose anything. It’s one of the things you can control. You can’t control the outcome of the match; you can control these kinds of things. But your effort, your demeanor, and your attitude is something that you can control. So this is what I try to keep on my mind, and just try to use to my advantage rather than my opponent’s.

Question: When you wake up tomorrow, you’re going to be number 37 in the world. What do you think about that?

Milos Raonic: I think it’s something really special and amazing. It’s not by any means something to be too happy with because I want to keep improving. I mean goal-wise, I want to keep improving. I want to keep progressing and developing. And I think I could do a lot more. But I’m going to have a chance tomorrow morning when I wake up… even tonight, to soak up everything’s that’s happened these two weeks… even in the last six weeks. A lot has happened since the beginning of the year. I’m going to take the moments I need… take the time to think about it… learn from it, as well as use it to my advantage in the future.

Question: You’re going to play Acapulco?

Milos Raonic: I’m going to go there… prepare and try to play… prepare to play on Tuesday and everything…

Question: You tired?

Milos Raonic: Yea, but it’s normal.

Question: When you were down… you’re serving at 1-4, you’re down 15-40. It felt like there were times in the match that you could if you were to give into it say, ‘you know what? This is not my day.’ Where there moments where you had to gather yourself and fight through the match?

Milos Raonic: No, it’s… it’s … you can’t… You never want to think that way. It does enter your mind, but it’s something that I’ve sort of developed this year. The difference is saying, ‘screw it. I’m already here. Let’s keep fighting.’ And ah… It’s the end of two long weeks, and I just gave it everything I had. And it didn’t work out my way, but nevertheless it was a brilliant final I think. And it was a lot I pushed out of him. He’s been in the top ten for how many years now? it’s a positive outlook from him and something to be very proud and happy with.

Question: Your serve is well documented. But with only your second year on the pro circuit, are you happy with everything else in your game?

Milos Raonic: Yea, I think to be able to break a player like Roddick, you have to be able to return reasonably well, and you have to be able to do something off the baseline… he’s not… That serve doesn’t just come [unheard] or anything. You have to get behind it. You have to do something. He’s not going to give it to you. He’s consistently top player having serve… games won percentage in the year. He’s always on top of the serving stats. It shows that there is more than just the serve. It’s something that’s developed a lot in the last six months and it keeps developing. There’s a lot of progress I can make; a lot of improvement I can make from the baseline and the net.

Question: The way the first set was going, you had every chance to win that set. You lost it. You regrouped and turned it around and won the second set. What transition, what adjustments did you make from the first to the second set?

Milos Raonic: Well, there wasn’t really too many adjustments that needed to be made, because I still had two set points. In the first set, two forehands: one clipped the tape, the other one was probably a couple inches wide. And I can’t be too upset about that. It’s not like I just stayed back and pushed and sort of hoped he would miss. I went for my opportunities that I had. I can’t be upset about that. So there wasn’t really too much I had to change. Um, I think my energy was going a bit up and down. So I tried to be a little more constant. I managed to do that better in the second set. And then in the third it went up and down again, but I managed to get back. I kept fighting. I didn’t really need to change too much from the first set. I just felt like the opportunities where there, and I just had to utilize them.

Question: Were you aware that he was sort of gutting it out there? Did it feel like two tennis players going at it?

Milos Raonic: Yea it wasn’t the prettiest tennis by any means. There weren’t brilliant winners other than that last point. And there were a few, but it was sort of what you sort of train for. You’re not going to expect to play amazing everyday, but you’ve got to try to find a way to win.

Question: There where two misjudgments on passing shots; one was a backhand. I thought it was clearly going out. You played that ball [unheard]. There was a forehand that you had a play on. You let it go, and it dropped in. Did that linger in your mind at all?

Milos Raonic: How it is. [smiles]

Question: It was lingering in my mind.

Milos Raonic: I recall them now. I don’t think I recalled them for most of the match or even until you mentioned it. I guess I’ll have nightmares about that.

Question: What did you think of the shot? Did you think you had it… the last shot of the match.

Milos Raonic: Um, personally I thought he was far off. I didn’t think he was going to dive. I just thought… because I thought I had the point. His legs were not close to it. He threw his whole body at it, and he got it.

Question: Even though you didn’t win today, do you take any satisfaction from a match like this?

Milos Raonic: Yea, there’s a lot of positives. There’s, um… I think the biggest positive would have to be gutting it out and fighting on a day like today. It’s easy to win when you’re playing well and when everything’s going your way. What makes, I think, the best players different from everybody else is they’re going to even on their worst days and on bad days, when something’s wrong, they’re going to sort of try their best to find a way. It was advice I got last week. And um… you just have to find a way to win even when you’re playing bad or if something’s wrong. I tried my best today, and I got close to a top ten player so I can only be smiling and happy about that.

Question: What kind of satisfaction are you taking out that people like you? You’re playing the American hero out there and they’re mixed. They’re cheering for you almost as much. What’s that mean to you?

Milos Raonic: No it’s nice. It’s nice to have this kind of welcoming feeling. Um, I guess I won’t have it too often. There’s only one tournament a year In Canada as far as in ATP. So it’s nice to be like and to be… the tennis is appreciated across other nations. It’s nice to have that warm open feeling from the crowd and from everybody. And it can never do you any harm, and it’s only a plus that comes from that. Nobody wants to be hated. There’s people that aren’t nice in this world. And people who think that they like being disliked, but nobody likes being disliked. Everybody wants to be liked. Everybody wants to be appreciated. I think it’s the reputation I’ve sort of gained. It’s a good one, and I plan on keeping it as much as I can.

Question: You realize how heavy that last statement was that you just said? Nobody likes to be disliked? That’s very heavy.

Milos Raonic: No, it’s true. Would you like it if I disliked you? [smiles]

Question: [laughter] No, no. We’re not going in that direction…

Question: Milos, I did ask you in San Jose. I remember your dad came out and gave you a big hug and that was kind of special. Have you spoken with you dad since the match was over?

Milos Raonic: I called him right away… after every match. As soon as I get through the hallway and sit down in the lockerroom, they’re the first people that I call. First thing I do is turn on my phone. Before I talk to anybody else, I speak with them. He said he was proud and happy about it. and he just said, ‘take care of yourself. We’ll talk tonight. And if we don’t, have a safe trip to Acapulco tomorrow.

Question: Special relationship you have with your dad?

Milos Raonic: Very good and with my whole family. My sister called me. Even though she’s here, she called me from the players’ lounge, because she knew I was in the lockerroom. And so it’s really close. And it’s something really you can build off of.

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