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

Richmond Hill Post - - News -

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.roger­

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.

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