THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. I think it’s your fourth semifinal. What is it about playing here that brings out the best in your game, you think?
MILOS RAONIC: I think the conditions are good for me, especially when the sun’s out. The court heats up a little bit. There is a good amount of jump on the court.
This year it’s a little bit slower than the previous years, but it allows me to take a few more swipes at a few more shots, and I can do different things with my serve that I need to get ahead in the point.
Q. How confident were you going into the match?
MILOS RAONIC: You know, confident like each time when you step out there. I knew it was going to be difficult.
I played him in Brisbane after — I wasn’t aware until they mentioned it today that he was the Lucky Loser, but he beat fairly handily Leonardo Mayer there. That was a tough match. Today I knew it was going to be tough. He’s won his last three matches against good players.
So I knew he had nothing to lose, and I had to be really disciplined with myself, and I’m happy I was able to follow through.
Q. As you look ahead to the next round, at this point obviously you don’t know who it is, but if you could look at each player individually.
MILOS RAONIC: Yeah, Gaël, he’s been playing well over the last couple of weeks. It’s tough with him. You never really know what you’re going to get. It’s important to focus on yourself and make sure you take care of your things and try to execute them well.
With Dominic, you know, you can’t give him too much time. He can do a lot of good things, get ahead in the point, and start to run you around a lot if he has time to get into a point and work it.
Both of them, it’s going to be important that I’m very strict with myself and on top of it from the first shot.
Q. There was a point at I think 4-3, deuce point, where you kind of gave him a steady diet of backhand slices. I’m curious if you have been working with Fabrice on or you thought before about working that shot in?
MILOS RAONIC: Yeah, I just tried to — so many of the guys, young guys, just generation, even the generation that’s been around for a while now, everybody moves extremely well laterally. Sometimes you can try to get glimpses of better looks by trying to bring them in a bit more. And I think that’s what I was trying to do and something I’m trying to incorporate more and more into my game.
MILOS RAONIC: Fabrice has put quite a bit of attention on it. Sometimes I do it too much, but it’s a good option to have, to incorporate.
Q. Yesterday you complained about you were unhappy with your serve. Today it was a different match and the forehand, too. Do you think you played close to your best tennis today?
MILOS RAONIC: I did a lot of things well. I didn’t serve well, I don’t think, today. I don’t think I was above — I was just above 50%. But even when I was hitting the spots, I wasn’t hitting them that well. That’s something I’m going to spend a little bit more time on tomorrow. I think that can get better.
But there’s other things I’m doing well, for sure. As soon as I had a chance on the first forehand, I was able to find my way to be the one dictating the point. And I put a lot of returns in and gave myself a chance there. And as soon as I had the first look to get ahead, I was pretty efficient at that.
Q. You probably have spoken about this before, but if you could comment on it again, that would be great. Working with Fabrice, such a different player from you, but so experienced, magical on the court. Just talk about the experience, what he brings. Does some of his shot-making ever sort of blow your mind?
MILOS RAONIC: Yeah, we practice together every day. You can see how effortlessly he can do a lot of things, a lot of things that sort of surprise you.
You know, he can’t blow you off the court, but he can make you feel pretty bad out there with the different rotations of spin.
I think the most important thing where we really struck a note was that we are both very meticulous about how we go about things. We spent a lot of time throughout this week, together and apart, watching matches over and every again, my matches, other matches, the guys I’m playing. Something I have always been very keen on, and he approaches it the same way.
I think that kind of attention to detail can only be a good thing.
Q. Is there any detail or two that he’s focused on? Movement, anticipation, strokes?
MILOS RAONIC: Mixing up things, being a bit more unpredictable. We only had four practice days before my first round here. His main focus was how to better use what I already do. We hadn’t had a chance to incorporate anything new. His focus is try not to hit the same ball twice.
Q. How can you compare — you worked with John McEnroe a good while ago, and he was just so fantastic with his control of the ball, his finesse. How can you compare that with Fabrice who has such great touch?
MILOS RAONIC: You know, I think one thing that John could do just because he had a little bit more ability to generate, I think he could dictate more. I think Fabrice was more dependent on how to throw off the other guy. John, if he could get ahead, I think he could, you know, dictate more and play more on his terms. Not just the two of them playing, but they both have a very meticulous approach with me, and I think their thought aligns across where my game needs to go, is quite similar.
Q. You said it wasn’t your best serving day. Is it comforting to know maybe some of your best tennis is still ahead of you as you get later in a tournament?
MILOS RAONIC: Yeah, and especially when it’s something that I can fix, I know how to do that. You know, if you told me, hey, I’m really struggling with returns of serves, I’m going to have to listen to somebody else quite a bit and try to figure that out.
But when it comes to the serve, it’s not really something I discuss too often. I go out and hit a bunch of them and I get into my rhythm. Thankfully I’ll have the day tomorrow to go through that process.
Q. How do you rate today’s dropshots you made? How do you feel about that?
MILOS RAONIC: Yeah, there were important moments. You know, I tried to bring him in. You know, I think I had a pretty good success rate. I think I won all the points when I hit a successful short chip cross. So that is a very positive thing.
Q. Can you talk about what a Masters 1000 title would rank in terms of your accomplishments?
MILOS RAONIC: It would be there, I believe, parallel to the Wimbledon final, if not higher, just because it’s going through a week amongst the best players in the world without sort of ending with a loss.
I think that’s how — it’s not easy to do, especially not the ones at the beginning of the year, these two, because guys have a lot of time. Nobody is really rushing here. Guys can bring their best tennis because it’s an extended tournament. So it’s tough to do it here.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports
Rev #1 by #366 at 2019-03-14 23:42:00 GMT