You got served!
One on one with Thornhill tennis ace Milos Raonic as he takes another step toward greatness after his semifinal appearance at Wimbledon; is he ready to challenge the big four at this month’s Rogers Cup? by Ron Johnson
Milos Raonic, who learned to play tennis just north of Toronto, is now the sixth ranked men’s singles tennis player in the world after a monumental run at Wimbledon that solidified his place amongst the best young guns in the game. This month, Raonic is competing in Toronto and will attempt to finish what he started last year in Montreal when he made the finals of the Rogers Cup but lost. The tournament runs Aug. 2 to 10 at the Rexall Centre, www.rogerscup.com.
The next thing for you to do is to crack that long-running “big four” that exists in tennis today. How do you do that?
I think really you just have to keep getting better. I need to keep putting myself in those situations like Wimbledon. I just need to find solutions to be able to bring it out in the semi or quarter-finals. If it comes down to two out of three sets, I have a much better opportunity. I have to figure it out for grand slams that are three out of five.
Out of those four, who is most challenging for you to play against?
I would probably say Rafa out of those four guys. I’ve had success against [Andy] Murray, I think I’ve beaten him three or so times. Rafa [Rafael Nadal] is the toughest because his game is probably the most different out of those four guys. No matter who you play earlier, his game is so different. Some are similar to Novak [Djokovic], just not at the same level, same as Roger [Federer]. But nobody plays like Rafa.
What are you most proud of, so far, in your career?
I think two biggest things that I’ve been able to do so far are the semifinal at Wimbledon and the finals at the Rogers Cup in Montreal. Those are the two most standout moments.… The finals in Montreal meant a lot for me, it being on home soil, but also that’s the tournament that got me into the top 10 for the first time.
And what has been the most noticeable change since cracking the top 10?
I haven’t really seen too many changes. Obviously there are perks outside of tennis, but I travel so much, I don’t really indulge in those. The biggest thing is that it’s probably just made me hungrier to achieve my goal of being the best tennis player in the world. I’m so much closer than I was 12 months ago, so it just makes you that much hungrier.
What do you like to do to unwind when you’re back in Toronto?
I spend time with friends mostly, no crazy nights out.… But I go for a good dinner or stuff that’s not in my diet like chicken wings. And I really just try to catch up, and save my movie nights for when I’m on the road. When I’m here, I try to be more active, see my friends more.
How important is the Rogers Cup now?
It’s very important, the most important to me outside of the slams. I want to do well. Last year in Montreal was amazing. I think it would be so much more, another special one, to be able to do well 10 minutes from where I grew up and where my parents have lived for 14, 15 years now.
Do you have a big group of family and friends come out to watch you?
Yeah, a bunch, a lot of people. Even the family that hosted me for three years in Montreal, they drive down. A lot of people fly
out. It’s great to have that kind of support.