TENNIS WIMBLEDON 2014 – 2nd of July. M. Raonic d. N. Kyrgios 6-7, 6-2, 6-4, 7-6. An interview with Milos Raonic
Q. How does it feel, big boy?
MILOS RAONIC: Why does Tom get to ask the first question (smiling)?
It feels good. That’s all I’ll give you.
No, it’s a good feeling. It was a very difficult match today. A lot of not knowing what to expect because I knew I played him three weeks ago, but it was very different circumstances this time around.
I’m happy with the result I was able to get out of it.
Q. Earlier in the tournament we discussed the big four, what you learned from the various guys. What is your sense of change that is taking place right now with you guys approaching what they’re doing?
MILOS RAONIC: It’s a thing I guess that you can’t really out run time in one way. New guys got to come up and they’ve got to step up. We’ve been doing better and better, especially throughout this year. I think it’s been more on display and it’s stood out more.
It’s good to be a part of it. It’s nice to see that sort of human side to those four guys when you have to step up to face them. Have a belief more so than ever that it’s yours for the taking if you play well.
Q. Is there a notable change in the locker room with regards to the attitude? Is there more belief amongst the players outside the top four?
MILOS RAONIC: There is. But you don’t really see it in the locker room. I think you see it when guys step out on court. It’s not like one player is going to another player and saying, You should believe more now. It’s not a topic that comes around.
I think you see it more in people’s play and people’s attitude when they step out on court. It’s a big difference to where probably a lot of guys were maybe a year ago. It’s an even bigger difference where guys were two, three, four, five years ago where there was a very tight stranglehold on who was winning those big tournaments.
Q. Today Genie was asked if she felt surprised and whether or not people should be surprised by the fact she was playing in her third semifinal this year. She said, No, absolutely not, because I’ve always believed I’d be playing here; I’ve worked for it. Would you answer that question similarly? Would you say you’re not surprised by your ascension here because it’s always been the goal?
MILOS RAONIC: Yeah, I think the only sort of thing that sort of for the last two Grand Slams that has taken me a little bit more so, if you can call it a surprise, is where I’ve been doing it. I would have thought maybe I could have done better on the hard court slams quicker and earlier.
Unfortunately this year I was hurt at the beginning of the year. I felt really good going into the Australian Open. But now the place and the position I’ve put myself in, I have I think zero points outside of everything that’s not a Masters or a Grand Slam.
I’ve been consistently able to do well in all those aspects, and I’ve been giving myself the possibility to face those top guys more consistently.
I know each time I feel like I get closer and I understand more what I need to do to turn those results around.
Q. You said it would be time to step up. I guess there would be no better time to do that against Roger in the semifinal. He’s going for the eighth title. That’s not going to be in your thoughts at all when you play?
MILOS RAONIC: No. I’ve played him I believe four times now. He’s gotten the better of me all four times.
But I haven’t played him I think in more than a year, a year and a bit, so I think I’m a different player.
I’ve got in close with him in the past and I’ve found a lot of those things I can sort of pull away that give me a lot of belief that I can do this.
So there’s no point to talk about it. I’ve got to step up and do it.
Q. When you first came out on the circuit there was a fair amount of talk about your being the next great one or real potential. You’ve had some good wins, but there’s been a lot of bumps in the road, injuries. Talk about what finally breaking through here means.
MILOS RAONIC: It’s things I’ve had to face. You can face them after you break through or you can face them before. But it’s bumps, moments of disbelief, moments of doubt, moments of the best feelings that you’ll have, and you have to face them.
You can face them at No. 30 in the world, you can face them at No. 10 in the world, but those are challenges you’re going to have to put up with if you want to achieve the pinnacle of this sport.
In 2011 I broke through and I did a lot of things quickly, but I cannot say I had the level or by any means the understanding of, Okay, I’m going to be the next great one in a year or whatever that saying might have been.
I was far from that. There was a lot of developing I needed to do. There was a lot of learning, understanding about myself, about other people, about situations, about tennis, about life outside of tennis. There’s a lot you have to go through.
I’ve been able to go through that. I’ve been I feel every year getting better and better. I think this year I probably stepped it up a little bit more than I did maybe from 2011 to the 2013 season.
I have a lot more understanding and stuff, but I don’t think that you can do that in one year just because I went from whatever it was, 150 to 37, in however many weeks. The next steps are much harder.
Q. Roger will be basically in his home on Centre Court at Wimbledon. How easy is it going to be in your mind to play the 32-year-old man rather than the seven-time Wimbledon champion?
MILOS RAONIC: I’m going to step out there and I’m not playing the seven-time Wimbledon champion. I’m not playing a 32-year-old man. I’m not playing father of two sets of twins, which is a very low possibility I bet to do. I’m not playing the guy that’s won whatever he’s won, which I could probably list quite vividly.
I’m playing a guy that is standing in my way of what I want to achieve, and I’ve got to focus on everything that’s there, on the situation, how best to deal with it to give myself the best possibilities to achieve what I want.
Q. You’ve got an interesting coaching combination, two men from different generations, an Italian, then Ivan. Can you specify what does one bring to the people and the other, how they work together, their benefits?
MILOS RAONIC: Well, the biggest doubt I had first of all when I started with two coaches is dealing with two people not sure if there might be any kind of confusion because you’re hearing things from two people.
But knowing how close Ivan and Ricardo were through their time, whatever, 15 or whatever years ago, I hear things, but I always hear one message. I hear it from two different guys, but it’s always the same point.
We have the exact same goal. We spoke about exactly how and what I need to do to achieve that goal, how I need to play if I want to become what I strive to be. They both have very different ways.
I think Ivan, he’s a lot more calm. Ricardo gets very excited in very positive ways about tennis, but Ivan is a lot more calm. He gives me a lot more understanding of just experiences that I might face, the feelings I might face; whereas Ricardo, he’s very good not only from working Ivan, but working with a lot of players. He knows when to step in, what to say.
He can sense more from the player just because he’s worked with so many different players, types of players, characters. He knows how to help you deal with the situations and how to not only coach the player but coach the personality.
They both focus on the same things, but they communicate it a little bit differently. Even when one of them is with me and the other guy is not, they talk multiple times a day, so I’m always getting constantly the same type of feedback.
Q. Are you still aware this could be a defining moment in your career?
MILOS RAONIC: Yeah, but it can be if I get the job done. I focus on what I need to do. Everything else is a ripple effect. Everything else is a reason. I have to create the cause for it by playing good tennis and giving myself the possibility to win.
Q. When in this process of these years did you have the greatest doubt? Did you ever think you might not ever make it to the final weekend of a slam?
MILOS RAONIC: My process has changed quite a bit. I’m sure you’ll probably see an interview from 2009, ’10, whenever, that I would have said I would have been happy to be a consistent top 50 player.
If that were to happen to me now, knowing what I know, I would have been very disappointed with myself. So my process has really changed.
I wasn’t the best junior. In three Grand Slam tries I won one match here as a junior. A lot of things have changed for me. I’ve created a lot of possibilities and opened a lot of doors for myself.
I didn’t have a title by any chances, the next big prospect or anything. I worked for my things. Always had people around me that believed in me, coaches, my federation, my family and without that everything sort of come.
Now my ambition lies sort of to be the best. If you asked me that five years ago, six years ago, I don’t think I could have given you that same answer.
Richard Gasquet reaches his first Masters 1000 semifinal since Miami 2013
Frenchman Richard Gasquet edged past this year’s Wimbledon semifinalist Roberto Bautista Agut 7-6 (7-2) 3-6 6-2 after 2 hours and 12 minutes to reach his first Masters 1000 semifinal since the 2013 Miami Open.
Gasquet missed six months of action after undergoing groin surgery last January.
The French player set up a semfinal against David Goffin, who reached the semifinal after his Japanese opponent Yoshihito Nishioka withdrew from the match due to illness.
The first set went on serve with no break points en route to the tie-break. Bautista Agut hit a backhand wide at 1-2. Gasquet sealed the tie-break when Bautista Agut hit a forehand long.
Bautista Agut earned two breaks of serve in the second set and sealed it, when Gasquet made his third double fault on set point.
Gasquet broke serve with a volley in the third game of the decisive set. The French player went up a double break to race out to 4-1 lead. He saved two break points to hold his serve at deuce before serving out the third set on his first match point.
“I know how tough it was to come back. I know the moments I had at the start of the year, so I just wanted to enjoy, to fight. It is not easy to come back after six months out, but I am here. I am in semis tomorrow”,said Gasquet.
Danil Medvedev cruises past Jan-Lennard Struff to set up an all Russian quarter final against Andrey Rublev
Ninth seed Danil Medvedev cruised past Jan-Lennard Struff 6-3 6-1 in 66 minutes to reach the quarter final at the Western and Southern Open in Cincinnati.
Medvedev committed just 12 unforced errors and won 18 of Struff’s 25 second serve points.
Medvedev broke twice in the second and eighth games to win the first set 6-2. The young Russian player got two consecutive breaks in the second and fourth games to race out to a 4-0 lead and held his service game at deuce after saving a break point in the fifth game. Struff held his serve to get his first game on the scoreboard, but Medvedev sealed the win on his first match point. The Russian player has improved his head-to-head record to 3-0 againt Struff.
Medvedev has won 11 of his past 13 matches during the North American hard-court season. He has a solid 41-16 record this season. He finished runner in two consecutive finals to Nick Kyrgios at Washington and to Rafael Nadal in Montreal. In the quarter final the Russian star will face his compatriot Andrey Rublev, who upset Roger Federer 6-3 6-4.
Recent Wimbledon semifinalist Roberto Bautista Agut cruised past Miomir Kecmanovic 6-1 6-2 in just under an hour setting up a quarter final against Richard Gasquet, who beat Diego Schwartzman 7-6 (8-6) 6-3.
Japanese qualifier Yoshihito Nishioka beat Australian player Alex De Minaur 7-5 6-4 in 83 minutes with one break in each set. Nishioka rallied from 4-6 down in the tie-break of the first set to edge Adrian Mannarino 7-6 (8-6) 6-2 in 1 hour and 37 minutes.
“It was a great match and I got better as it went on. I am feeling sharp. I am feeling great now and I am looking forward to the quarter finals of a Masters 1000. I have nothing to lose”, said Goffin.
Roger Federer Crashes Out Of Cincinnati Masters
The seven-time champion has suffered a blow to his preparations for the US Open.
World No.3 Roger Federer has been knocked out of the Western and Southern Open in Cincinnati after falling in straight sets to Russia’s Andrey Rublev.
The 20-time grand slam champion struggled to find his range as he was overwhelmed by his fearless opponent during the 6-3, 6-4, loss. Despite the huge disparity in experience between the two, 21-year-old Rublev managed to dominate the majority of rallies with the help of some heavy hitting. Producing 17 winners to six unforced errors, compared to Federer’s tally of 19 and 20.
“I respect him a lot, I respect all the top players a lot, but today when I was going to court I was going there to win.” Rublev said during an interview with Amazon Prime.
“I was not going (to the match) to enjoy. I was going to fight, try to win and do my best.”
Rublev’s shock win saw the underdog outdo the Swiss maestro in almost every area of the match. Winning the most first serves (85% to 63%), second serves (57% to 63) and a bigger majority of points at the net (5/6 to 7/19). Breaking him twice in the opening set and once in the second. The Russian, who is 70th in the world, is the lowest ranked player to defeat Federer on the tour since Thanassi Kokkinakis at the 2018 Miami Open.
The loss leaves a mark on Federer’s impressive record in Cincinnati, which he has won a record seven times. It is the first time he has failed to reach the quarter-final stage since losing to Ivo Karlovic in the third round back in 2008.
“He was playing well. I was maybe struggling especially on the offensive, because overall I didn’t think I was feeling the ball badly.” Federer reflected during his press conference. “It’s just, you know, sort of fast-court conditions and when you sometimes then can’t rely on that serve to go or on the one-two punch, which I didn’t think was excellent today from my side, you need an opponent that maybe lets you get by some tougher moments, but he didn’t do that.”
“He was super clean. Defense, offense, serving well. Didn’t give me anything. He was everywhere. So it was tough for me, but excellent match by him. I was impressed.”
Rublev now has a meeting with compatriot Daniil Medvedev in what will be his first quarter-final at Masters level. Medvedev has reached the final of tournaments in Washington and at the Rogers Cup since Wimbledon. He is yet to drop a set this week and brushed aside Jan-Lennard Struff 6-2, 6-1, in his third round match.
“It’s going to be an interesting match for Russia.” Rublev previewed. “It will be a tough match for me because the way he plays. Nobody likes to play him.”
“I lost to him in a Challenger a few years ago, so it’s going to be interesting tomorrow.” He added.
The latest victory is only Rublev’s second over a top five player in his career. His first was against Dominic Thiem at the German Open last month.
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