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.
REPORT: Grigor Dimitrov Appoints New Coach
The former ATP Finals champion appears to have found a new mentor.
Former top 10 player Grigor Dimitrov has found a replacement following the departure of Radek Stepanek, according to one Bulgarian news source.
TennisKafe.com has reported that the world No.20 is now working alongside Christian Groh. A German-born coach who has worked with a number of top players on the men’s tour. Including Tommy Haas and Taylor Fritz. It is his work with Haas that Groh is best known for. During their 24 months together, he guided him from outside the top 200 to 11th in the ATP rankings.
The development comes a month after the 28-year-old stated that he was in no hurry to find a new mentor on the tour. Back in May he ended his collaboration with Dani Vallverdu after almost three years working together. He made the decision shortly before he exited the world’s top 50 for the first time since 2012.
“I’m not in a panic right now to find a coach. I always think that when I don’t have someone beside me, it’s hard to train. However, in the past months, I have done things myself that I have not done.” Dimitrov told reporters in November.
“You need to have freedom, to find yourself, to become closer to yourself.” He added.
Despite Stepanek stepping away, Dimitrov is still in contact with eight-time grand slam champion Agassi. Agassi is not a coach to the Bulgarian, but has agreed to a sort of consultation role where the two talk with each other regularly.
Dimitrov has experienced a roller coaster run on the tour this season with a win-loss record of 22-21. At one stage he failed to win back-to-back matches at six consecutive tournaments over the summer. However, his form surged during the last quarter of 2019 where he reached the semi-finals at both the US Open and Paris Masters.
Neither Dimitrov or Groh has yet confirmed their new partnership on the tour. Groh has recently been working as a consultant for the United States Tennis Association (USTA).
Heading into the new season, the first test for the duo will be at the ATP Cup in Australia. As well as playing, Dimitrov is the captain of the Bulgarian team.
Groh’s coaching CV
- 2011: Michael Berrer
- 2012-2013: Tommy Haas
- 2014: Bradley Klahn and Taylor Fritz
- 2015: Tommy Haas and Taylor Fritz
- ATP/WTA Players and United States Tennis Federation Player Development since 2015
Since the publication of this article, Ubitennis has received some additional details on Dimitrov’s work with Groh. The editor of TennisKafe.com, Borislav Orlinov, confirmed it was Dimitrov’s manager (Georgi Stoimenov) who revelled the two will be working together. They are currently training in Monte Carlo, but will head to Australia before the New Year.
Rival Backs Dominic Thiem To Win Stefan Edberg Sportsmanship Award
Only two players have won the award since 2004.
For the past 15 years only two players have managed to get their hands on the prestigious Stefan Edberg Sportsmanship Award, but one player thinks there could be a brand new winner this year.
Diego Schwartzman has lent his support behind world No.4 Dominic Thiem. The award recognizes those who have conducted the highest level of professionalism and integrity on the ATP Tour throughout the season. Established in 1977, Roger Federer has won the honour in 13 out of the past 15 years. The only other player to triumph during that period was Rafael Nadal, who won it in 2010 and 2018.
“I think Thiem can win it, he showed throughout the year a competitiveness and a respect with everyone that was spectacular,” Schwartzman told ole.com. “On top of that he is having great years of his career and this season was even better for the achievements he had.’
“He has a good chance of winning it.” He added.
Schwartzman, who reached the quarter-finals of the US Open earlier this year, has also been shortlisted for the award. Along with regular nominees Federer and Nadal. Only once has an Argentinian player won the title, which was José Luis Clerc back in 1981. At that time it was known as the ATP Sportsmanship award before getting renamed in 1996.
“I learned first (of getting nominated) through social networks rather than the official designation that the ATP sends you by mail.” The 27-year-old revealed.
“It is more spectacular than anything for the players I have next to me. It is a very important prize that recognizes a little what you do off the court, not only hitting the ball.”
Whilst he is dreaming of winning the honour himself, Schwartzman is just happy that he has been nominated.
“If I won this award, it would be spectacular. Now I am on that payroll that is very good and represents the values that I try to maintain on a day-to-day basis and that (my coaching teams over the years) have taught me. It is very nice to be recognized for that. “ He concluded.
The four nominees for the Stefan Edberg Award was shortlisted by the ATP. However, it will be the players who will decide the winner. The result will be revealed later this month.
Multiple winners of the Stefan Edberg/ATP Sportsmanship award
Roger Federer – 13
Stefan Edberg – 5
Pat Rafter – 4
Alex Corretja – 2
Todd Martin – 2
Paradorn Srichaphan – 2
Rafael Nadal – 2
Kei Nishikori In Doubt For The Australian Open
Asia’s highest ranked male tennis player is contemplating when he should return to the tour following surgery.
World No.13 Kei Nishikori is refusing to rule out the prospect of skipping the first grand slam event of 2020 as he continues his recovery from surgery.
Nishikori hasn’t played a match on the tour since his third round loss at the US Open back in September. A month later he underwent a procedure on his right elbow in a move that brought his season to an early end. Currently undergoing rehabilitation, it is unclear as to when the Japanese player believes he will return to the ATP Tour.
“The prospect of a return from surgery on right elbow in January. Maybe February. In the second half of next year I want to be able to play well.” Nikkan Sports quoted Nishikori as saying.
“I don’t want to overdo it,” he added.
The Australian Open will get underway on January 20th in Melbourne. Should he miss the grand slam, it will be the second time he has done so in the last three years. Nishikori also withdrew from the 2018 edition due to a wrist injury. In January he reached the quarter-finals and therefore has 360 points to defend next year.
During his time away from the court, the 29-year-old has been kept busy making changes to his team. Recently it was confirmed that he has started working alongside Max Mirnyi, who is a former world No.1 doubles player. Mirnyi, who has won 10 grand slam titles in men’s and mixed doubles, will be working full-time with Nishikori alongside existing coach Michael Chang.
“I’m getting closer to retirement. I want to be cured and come back to play good tennis in the second half of next year.” Nishikori stated.
Despite the injury setback, Nishikori has enjoyed success in 2019. Reaching the quarter-finals in three out of the four grand slam tournaments. The first time he has ever done that in his career. He also claimed his 12th ATP title at the Brisbane International. Overall, he won 29 out of 43 matches played.
Nishikori will turn 30 on December 29th.
EXCLUSIVE: Daniil Medvedev On His Saudi Arabian Debut, No.1 Dreams And Russia’s Olympic Ban
Danil Medvedev and David Goffin reach the semifinal at Diriyah Cup in Ryadh
Andy Murray Suffers Off-Season Setback
Fabio Fognini sets up semifinal against Gael Monfils at Diriyah Tennis Cup
The ATP announces nominees for the Coach of the Year Award
At His Best Novak Djokovic Is Better Than Federer And Nadal, Says Mouratoglou
Rafael Nadal To Play For ‘A Few More Years,’ Says Former Coach
Roger Federer Outlines Schedule For Next Year With Open Mind Of Playing In His 40s
Andy Murray Opens Up On How The Dunblane Massacre Affected His Childhood
‘I Tried Everything’ – Frustrated Roger Federer Reacts To ATP Finals Exit
(VIDEO) Davis Cup Round-Up: Rafael Nadal Leads Spain To Victory
(VIDEO) Davis Cup Day 2: Historic Day For Canada As Spain Prevail In Late-Night Thriller
(VIDEO) Roger Federer, Alexander Zverev Guide Europe To Laver Cup Glory
(VIDEO) US Open Day 14: Rafael Nadal Ends The Tournament With An Extraordinary Win
(VIDEO) US Open Day 12: Bianca Andreescu Is The Queen Of New York
Latest news3 days ago
Caroline Wozniacki To Face Serena Williams In Farewell Match
Draw/Entry List2 days ago
Entry List For The Australian Open Announced
Latest news3 days ago
Juan Martin Del Potro will play at the Australian Open using the protected ranking
ATP2 days ago
REPORT: Grigor Dimitrov Appoints New Coach
Latest news2 days ago
Late Replacement Tomljanovic To Face Maria Sharapova In Abu Dhabi
Hot Topics3 days ago
Bianca Andreescu Rewrites History As She Is Named Canadian Athlete of The Year
Focus2 days ago
The 2019 ATP Tour Review
Latest news3 days ago
Jannik Sinner reveals his plan for the 2020 season