Here’s the Milos Raonic Wimbledon 2014 Semifinal Interview Transcript following his 6-4, 6-4, 6-4 loss to Roger Federer of Switzerland.
Q. I am going to ask you the same question that I asked of Roger: How important was that first game of the match?
MILOS RAONIC: Quite important. I think probably I would have given myself a chance to find a bit more understanding, a bit more comfort, and probably the level that I know I could display a little bit better if I was able to get through that one.
Q. What can you say happened in that game looking back?
MILOS RAONIC: He just played well. I didn’t put in the serves I needed to. Normally I start off serving much better, and then he came up with the right shots.
Pretty much every single time he was leaning the right way. He was hitting good, deep returns that didn’t allow me to sort of get into it.
Q. How do you feel about your level of play today?
MILOS RAONIC: Probably – well, not probably. I’m quite disappointed with the level I was able to put out. I know I can do much better.
Obviously I wasn’t expecting by any means to play my best, but I was expecting much better from myself.
Q. This may not be the best time to ask you the question, but I’m going to do it anyway. We’ve been talking all week about what it’s going to take for one of you challengers to knock the big four off their pedestal. Can you tell me what you think it’s going to take?
MILOS RAONIC: I think guys have the level within themselves. I think it’s more just an understanding of how to deal with the situation.
That’s something I didn’t do well today. That’s probably the thing that I can learn the most from. Because I believe I can put myself in the situation again, and the worst part would be to sort of have the same feeling after.
I know I can do much better. That’s the most I have to take out of it.
Q. Having seen you serve so spectacularly in the previous couple of rounds, psychologically is it harder to serve one of those big aces when the last thing you see when you look up is a player the caliber of Roger Federer at the other side of the net?
MILOS RAONIC: Yes and no. I think if sort of everything else was flowing a little bit better it makes everything a lot easier.
But I just felt like I was not where I wanted to be and I was putting a little bit more on my serve that it needed to be there for me a little bit more and I wasn’t going as freely with it.
Q. Is there more pressure to hit the corner of the corners when it’s someone like Federer on the other side?
MILOS RAONIC: A slight degree more, yes, but nothing I would say that makes you feel like it’s impossible.
Q. Today was the first time you played on Centre Court for this tournament. What was the atmosphere like, especially playing with Roger?
MILOS RAONIC: Yeah, it’s obviously a situation I would have liked to have had the opportunity before the semifinal, especially against Roger, who’s played triple digit matches on that court.
I don’t think it was the physical things around me that made it difficult for me today. I think it was more so knowing what kind of opportunity lies ahead beyond this round and beyond that and what I really wanted to go for and chase.
Maybe I just put that on myself too much.
Q. It seemed especially at the beginning that he had your patterns picked, that he was almost there half the time before you even hit the ball. Were you aware that he seemed to be anticipating well? How difficult is it to change those patterns or do something different on the fly when you’re still trying to win a tennis match with your go-to stuff?
MILOS RAONIC: Well, he was guessing the right way, but I sort of kept sticking to those patterns and they started working later. He started off really well, and it gave him definitely a comfort through that first set.
I stayed pretty calm in that situation because I knew, okay, just keep sticking through this and I know I can play much better than I’ve been playing. I was trying to sort of find that myself.
I think more so than I’m disappointed about how I lost that first game is how both times at 4-5 or 4-All, the games I played, those are much worse in every aspect than that first game, because I felt like he played really well in that first game.
There’s not much I could have done except put a few more first serves in. Even the ones I did he dealt with very well. So it’s the other aspects that I feel later through the second and third set that I couldn’t sort of find that solution.
Q. We talked a lot about your serving in this match. Roger’s serve was pretty dominant. Can you talk about what makes him so difficult to return against and what you feel you need to do to improve your return.
MILOS RAONIC: Well, I just need to keep getting better in general. Why he can hit all the spots? He hits them well. You always feel like, okay, if you sort of get going the right way you might at least be able to create an opportunity.
The most dangerous thing I think about him is the first strike he has after. He’s very quick; takes the ball early. That’s where you feel an average return isn’t good enough, that you have to press a little bit more.
That can bring errors out of you and cause just pressure. Rather than just focusing on making the return, you have to focus on making a very good return.
Q. You were complimentary about Roger’s achievements before the match. I wonder who you think is going to win the final. If Roger prevails in the 8th title, where would that rank him in terms of the history of tennis?
MILOS RAONIC: I don’t know who’s going to win that final. I don’t think really today’s matches matter in that aspect. I think it’s something that’s 48 hours away, and so much can change in that period between. It’s a situation that both of them have dealt with.
Roger getting to number 8 here, which is another record on its own, getting to number 18, which is another distancing himself from the rest, have a lot of significance.
But also there’s a lot of significance, okay, because maybe they’re not necessarily records, but for Novak to be able to add another one and so forth, I think they mean just as much.
I think just because nobody’s done it or whatnot, it has a lot more writing power in Roger’s aspect.
Q. This is probably the biggest tournament ever in Canadian tennis history. Are you going to stick around to watch Eugenie? You did in Australia.
MILOS RAONIC: I don’t know exactly my schedule. I have to see. It’s been a lot of tennis recently. A lot of tennis. Fortunately there’s been a lot of tennis.
But I can’t imagine myself sticking around.
Q. Has it been difficult making a parallel run from your side?
MILOS RAONIC: No, because I think you follow it and you’re very proud to see it. It’s in the same sport, but it’s in two very different fields. It doesn’t have an effect on what I sort of need to do.
So you follow it, but you don’t really get too caught up in it.
Q. After all this time, what is the number one thing you’d like to do now?
MILOS RAONIC: Eat unhealthy (smiling).
Q. He said he took that end because he had the wind behind him. He ended up breaking that first game. Are you aware why he made that decision?
MILOS RAONIC: I thought the wind was coming more from the side. I thought he was doing that because he knew more so it was my first time in that situation.
Nobody really does that. It’s more to make a person think.
Q. As you got on the court near the chairs, he seemed to say something, are you going to sit there or something like that. You remember that?
MILOS RAONIC: I remember it. Does it mean anything?
Q. Did he say anything?
MILOS RAONIC: I don’t think he said anything. I think it was just a nod, like, Okay, I’m going to sit here.
Q. I need to know what eating unhealthy means. What are you going to have? What does the next couple weeks hold for you?
MILOS RAONIC: Well, the next couple weeks is going to be a bit of rest. But it’s going to be another sort of shortened off-season training camp so I can get ready for my next events through Washington, Toronto, Cincinnati, then leading to the US Open.
What eating unhealthy means? To tell you honestly right now, I’m craving chicken wings, so I’ll be having chicken wings.
Q. Seeing how Roger will turn 33 next month, seeing how he played today, that he’ll be rising up to No. 3 in the rankings, do you think you can still be playing at the top of the game at that stage? Does it also make you more patient knowing that players in their 30s can still be near the top?
MILOS RAONIC: It’s nice to see, but you sort of know it’s very capable coming from Roger. But this is the same guy that’s done a lot of things that don’t seem capable.
So I think it’s quite different terms for everybody.
Yes, I’d love to be playing at that age at a high level, but I don’t know what my body’s going to say. I don’t know what my psyche’s going to say to me at that point. There’s so many different factors.
Just seeing Roger around, seeing his persona, his aura around, you know that a lot of people could have and have written him off in a lot of ways, you knew this was very capable for him.
Q. What’s the most important thing you learned over this tournament, in your opinion?
MILOS RAONIC: I don’t think I’ve learned it yet. I think I’ll learn it when I step away and maybe emotion doesn’t affect the way I’m looking at the match right now.
But how to deal with the situation is probably the thing I’ll probably put the most focus in so I can avoid it from happening.
Q. Judging from everything you said, I know you won’t be satisfied with how this tournament’s finished up, but are you proud of what you’ve achieved overall? Will you be able to channel that moving forward for the breakthrough Grand Slam win that you obviously crave?
MILOS RAONIC: Right now, looking at the big picture, last two weeks have been, in a lot of ways, very successful. I go from never winning consecutive matches here, to probably only winning consecutive matches once on grass, to putting myself in position of the final four in this event.
There’s a lot of good things to take from it. If you asked me before the event started would I sign on a dotted line to make semis here, yeah, I would have in that sense.
But when you get here to this point, I think it’s just human nature, the greed of human nature, that you want so much more. You feel it in front of you and you want to grab it.
I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that.