Milos Raonic: “Important thing is from the same position pretty much, same toss, to be able to serve wherever you want” - UBITENNIS
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Milos Raonic: “Important thing is from the same position pretty much, same toss, to be able to serve wherever you want”

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TENNIS WIMBLEDON 2014 – 1st of July. M. Raonic d. K. Nishikori 4-6, 6-1, 7-6, 6-3. An interview with Milos Raonic

 

Q. Your last match was the best you’d ever served. Was this better than that, the last three sets?

MILOS RAONIC: Yeah. I’ve been serving in general well this tournament, and even throughout the clay court season. But obviously here it sort of gets exemplified a little bit more. It’s a little bit more on display.

That’s helping me, taking a lot of pressure off me and putting more so on my opponents.

 

Q. Speaking of your serve, Kei just said he couldn’t read your serve at all. You are very intelligent player. Maybe that’s why he couldn’t read your serve. Can you talk about mixing up different kinds of shots. Talk about what is the key of making that many aces.

MILOS RAONIC: Well, the most important thing is when you decide to go somewhere that you hit the spot and you hit it, for me, pretty big. So it’s important to be able to hit your spots close to the lines and sort of keep it out of reach.

Another important thing is from the same position pretty much, same toss, to be able to serve wherever you want. And also, to have the confidence in all the serves, that when the important moments do come up, you don’t sort of go to a habit, you can always keep changing it.

 

Q. I think there were seven breakpoints in that first game. I think we’d only seen you face one breakpoint. Tell us a little bit about what it’s like to try and regroup after each one, sort of how you felt after losing the first game in the first set.

MILOS RAONIC: Well, each one, doesn’t matter if it’s triple breakpoint or if it’s a single breakpoint, you just treat it as one at the time.

For me, the most important thing is I focus on what do I need to do with my serve pretty much. And then after that, I always have sort of the game plan try to take a forehand no matter where it goes.

I just stick to a routine. It’s pretty basic in my mind probably because I’ve done it so much. I don’t really have to think too much about it.

But after that, it’s the first game. The next game I had another close game. But then after I started finding a rhythm, so I sort of calmed down pretty quickly. I wasn’t able to create any chances on his serve.

Knowing it’s three-out-of-five, the way I was able to hold at the end of the first set, it gave me a little bit of peace of mind if I could sort of keep going that way.

 

Q. You’re the first Canadian to reach the quarters here for 102 years. Do you feel you’re a part of history, on the verge of a breakthrough in a major? Will you be joining a Canada Day celebration anywhere tonight?

MILOS RAONIC: To the second one, no, just because I have to play tomorrow. It’s a quick turnaround.

To that first question, it is what it is. Unfortunately, to this point there hasn’t been as much Canadian success, especially on the singles side in the men’s.

So all the things sort of come and go and you appreciate them, but you don’t give them too much value because it’s ambitions that are beyond doing what no Canadian has done before. It’s about really trying to become the best player in the world.

 

Q. Earlier in the week you talked about how you watched the big four and how you learned from them. What did you learn from Nadal on court and off court also?

MILOS RAONIC: You see his habits, his tendencies. You see on court and off court, through training, the professionalism, the discipline that comes with it. You see how he goes through his stuff very diligently, but at the same time he exerts himself physically throughout tournaments.

He doesn’t really, outside of matches, exert himself mentally or psychologically. So he’s always fresh mentally for matches.

And then just the way he deals in the middle of matches. He can smell opportunities. He knows when he needs to pick it up.

When I played him in Miami, in that third set until 3-All, he made a few mistakes in the beginning of the third set, but you could see he was trying to find his range to be a bit more aggressive.

He sort of found it and was able to get past me towards the end of that third set.

Just those sort of habits you pick up. You know when you need to step up. You know what kind of things you’re looking for. You just try to incorporate as much as you can into your own game.

 

Q. Should we be surprised that you’re not serve and volleying that much? You almost do it more on clay courts. You’re not coming to the net all that much. Is it a specific plan that you have to work points from the baseline, or does it depend on the situation?

MILOS RAONIC: It depends on the situation. I know with Kei, he’s very quick. If you don’t get behind a good approach or if you don’t do enough with that first volley, you can be in trouble. He can sort of dig it out from both sides.

Previous matches, Lukasz didn’t put that many returns in, so I found a rhythm there. It’s whatever way I find the rhythm. Today at the end of the match I needed to do it because he was standing a little further back. To make him see something else, to not make him get comfortable. I wasn’t putting first serves in.

But I think on clay, the guys have the tendency of – maybe their first instinct is to return from further back. This way you just take time away from them.

 

Q. A lot of high-profile players have complained about the scheduling because of the rain delays, having to play consecutive days. Does that give you encouragement? Do you want to take that momentum forward knowing they’re unsettled?

MILOS RAONIC: To tell you the truth, it doesn’t really mean anything. Everybody, when they step on the court, they’re going to fight. They’re not going to hold a grudge against the scheduling or whatever. They know they have to play that match in that moment. It is what it is.

You just have to make the most out of the situation. Everybody’s really going through it. Really the only way you avoid that issue is if you’re a top 1, 2, 3, or 4 seed this week that’s been on Centre Court and you know you’re going to play the day you’re expected to play.

Everybody else, 200 however many players, singles, doubles combined, everybody’s got that issue. Everybody makes it disappear mentally as soon as the match starts.

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(VIDEO) Novak Djokovic Makes Tearful Tribute To Mentor Kobe Bryant After Australian Open Win

The world No.2 pays his respect to ‘one of the greatest athletes of all time’ on the Rod Laver Arena.

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Novak Djokovic posing for a photo ahead of his quarter-final match with Milos Raonic at the Australian Open (image via https://twitter.com/AustralianOpen)

World No.2 Novak Djokovic shed tears following his quarter-final win over Milos Raonic after paying tribute to NBA legend Kobe Bryant.

 

The 16-time grand slam champion took to the Rod Laver Arena wearing a green zip-up top. On the top right of his jacket with Bryant’s initial along with the numbers 8 and 24. The jersey numbers Bryant worn throughout his 20-year NBA career with the LA Lakers. A love heart was also placed under the numbers on Djokovic’s top.

“’I don’t know what we could say. It really caught us by surprise.” An emotional Djokovic said during his on-court interview with John McEnroe on Tuesday.
‘He was one of the greatest athletes of all time, he inspired myself and many other people around the world. I had that fortune to have a personal relationship with him over the last 10 years.’
‘When I needed some advice and support, he was there for me. He was my mentor, my friend, it’s just heartbreaking to see what has happened to him and his daughter. It’s unbelievable.’

Bryant was killed on Sunday in a helicopter crash that also claimed the life of his 13-year-old daughter Gianna and seven others. As an athlete, he achieved numerous milestones. Including being named the 2008 NBA Most Valuable Player and two-time NBA Finals MVP. He was also a two-time Olympic gold medallist and played in 18 All Star Games.

Just days before Bryant’s death, Djokovic spoke about their friendship during an interview with ESPN. Praising him for the support he received during his elbow injury and fall in the rankings during 2017 and the start of 2018. Reflecting on the conversations the two have had, he said he received some ‘valuable guidance.’

“Kobe has been one of my mentors,” Djokovic told ESPN. “I’ve had several phone conversations with him and also of course when we see each other live in the past couple of years. When I was going through the injury with my elbow and struggling to mentally and emotionally handle all of these different things that were happening to me and dropping in the Rankings and then having to work my way up, he was one of the people who was really there for me to give me some very valuable advice and guidelines to kind of believe and trust in myself, trust the process that I’ll be back.”

Djokovic will play Roger Federer in the semi-finals of the Australian Open.

The tribute can be watched below (from 00:30 to 01:40)

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Dominic Thiem reaches his first quarter final at the Australian Open

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Dominic Thiem eased past Gael Monfils 6-2 6-4 6-4 after 1 hour and 50 minutes on the Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne to reach the quarter final at the Australian Open. Thiem has extended his winning streak to 6-0 in his head-to-head matches against Monfils.

 

He fought back from two sets to one down to beat Australia’s Alex Bolt in the second round, but he won eight of his past nine sets to advance to the quarter finals.

Thiem got two breaks in the first set and never faced a single break point in the entire match. The Austrian player converted his fourth break point after three deuces, as Monfils missed a backhand volley wide. Thiem started the third set with an early break in the first game, as Monfils hit an inside-out forehand wide from the middle of the court wide. Thiem won his next service games and held his final game at love.

Thiem will face Rafael Nadal in a re-match of last year’s Roland Garros final.

“I think that I played my best match so far at this year’s Australian Open. It’s a very good feeling. The score looks way easier than the match was. I think I was lucky to make an early break in each set and I was managing to hold my serve well. I am so happy because I am in the quarter final here for the first time”, said Thiem.

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Alexander Zverev tops Andrey Rublev to set Australian Open quarter final against Stan Wawrinka

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Alexander Zverev beat his friend Andrey Rublev 6-4 6-4 6-4 in one hour and 37 minutes to reach the quarter final at the Australian Open for the first time in his career and his third at Grand Slam level.

 

Zverev broke serve once in each set. The German player has not dropped a set at this year’s edition of the Australian Open.

Zverev ended Rublev’s 15-match winning streak. Rublev had not lost a match since October, winning four matches at the Davis Cup last November and back-to-back titles in Doha and Adelaide.

In the opening set Zverev earned his first break at 3-3, as Rublev hit a forehand into the net. He held his serve to consolidate the break and wrapped up the first set after 29 minutes, when Rublev hit a crosscourt backhand wide.

Zverev started the second set with an immediate break in the first game of the second set and closed it out with a hold at love with an ace after 29 minutes.

Zverev broke serve for the third time in the match in the ninth game of the third set to take a 5-4, when Rublev made a groundstroke error, and sealed the win with a forehand volley.

“It feels amazing. I played some great matches against some great opponents. This is Andrey’s first loss of the season, having won two tournaments and getting through to the fourth round with unbelievable tennis. I have known Andrey since we were ten years old. I think he will be top 15, top 10 very soon. I am just happy and I hope I can continue”,said Zverev.

Zverev will face Stan Wawrinka in the quarter final. The German star beat Wawrinka twice in their previous two head-to-head matches in St. Petersburg 2016 and Miami 2017.

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