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Milos Raonic: Learning How To Walk Again

Raonic© Bongarts/Getty ImagesRaonic reveals ones of the hardest parts of his physical therapy last year was learning how to walk again.

Milos Raonic has been on the fast track to stardom on the ATP World Tour the past two seasons, making his mark with a signature serve, equally imposing forehand and a towering presence on court.

But last year, the 21-year-old Canadian suffered a major setback during his second-round match with Gilles Muller at Wimbledon. Having retired from the match, Raonic needed surgery on his right hip, stalling his rapid rise with a two-month recovery period.

Awarded the ATP’s Newcomer of the Year at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals last November, Raonic opted to modify his off-season training regimen, and it’s paid off this year. He blazed to a 15-2 season start en route to triumphing in Chennai, successfully defending his title in San Jose and finishing runner-up in Memphis.

Currently ranked No. 23 in the South African Airways ATP Rankings, Raonic will have a number of opportunities to break into the Top 20 during the US Open series and Olympic Games, having no points to defend thanks to his injury layoff in 2011.

As part of Compeed’s Form & Fitness series, Raonic reflects on the most difficult part of his physical therapy, how he overcame his fear of re-aggravating the hip and what he addressed in the off-season to get ready for his second full season on tour.


Compeed 

Last year, you suffered the first major injury of your pro career. What was your reaction when you first got the news about needing hip surgery?
When I realised I needed surgery, I knew it was something I could overcome quickly and would be something I would maybe have to face again in the future. It didn’t take too much thought. It was not a happy moment, but I tried to make the most of it.

What was the hardest part about physical therapy?
It was probably the bland and boring work, like learning how to walk again. It needed a lot of time and hours to be done correctly.

What are some positives you took from the road back to the tour after your time away from the game?
Not to take anything for granted. And nothing matters as much as winning. If you win, you have another opportunity to play better tennis. I want to fight as hard as I can in every match.

How long did it take you to get over the fear of re-injuring the hip and what did you do to overcome this apprehension?
A lot of treatment went into stabilising my hip. I don’t think I’ve thought about it too much. I did lack speed and movement a lot at the beginning, but I think I’ve overcome that.

What advice would you give to players down the road who suffer a similar injury and recovery process?
Whatever somebody tells you to do works. And have somebody with you that you can trust and knows you well. I’m sure most of the time you can do more, as I did, and that helped me recover quickly.

In this past off-season, what did you work on most in terms of your fitness?
This past off-season, I focused more on tennis specific movements, whereas the previous off-season, I was focused on building my base and my physical abilities. This time was more specialised, working on things like agility, aerobics and anaerobic exercises. It was more specified training.

Where do you think you have stepped up the greatest fitness wise the last 12 months? And on the contrary, what area(s) are you still working to improve?
I think I’ve stayed healthy. That’s a big thing. And that’s always a goal. I’m looking to improve everything. I want to be more agile, more fit and stronger in my upper body.

What exercise or drill would you recommend a recreational fan add to his or her training program?
I’d say Fartleks. Though they are tougher than running, I think they’re a lot more fun and enjoyable than running at one speed for 30 minutes.

Which player on tour do you think...
Has the best balance?
I think Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer, especially when they are stretched out.
Has the strongest core? David Ferrer.
Has the best footwork? Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic.
Is the most flexible? Novak Djokovic.
Has the greatest muscular endurance? David Ferrer.
Is the quickest? Hard to name one. David Ferrer, Grigor Dimitrov and Bjorn Phau can all run a fast 40-metre sprint. You’d need to get out the stopwatch. 

- COMPEED is an official supplier of the ATP.

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