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Milos Raonic: Canadian Trailblazer

Raonic© Getty ImagesRaonic says improvements to his return game and movement will help him break into the Top 10.

Before Milos Raonic burst onto the scene in 2011, Canada never had a player ranked inside the Top 40 of the Emirates ATP Rankings. So it’s understandable when Raonic breaks new ground, whether it comes through a new rankings milestone or a significant match win, both local and international media follow with interest.

As part of ATP’s ‘Emirates Stars Of Tomorrow’ series, the current World No. 16 discusses his role as an ambassador for Canadian tennis, what he needs to improve to crack the Top 10 and more… 

Emirates ATP Rankings

Every time you attain a new Emirates ATP Rankings milestone, Canada reaches one. How do you approach the responsibility of being a pioneer of Canadian tennis?
I find the best way to approach it is for me focus on myself. I’m focused every day on what I need to do to win and put everything else aside. It’s great to have the support, but I play tennis for myself. I’m very proud to represent tennis in my country and Canadians worldwide as best as I can.

You finished 2012 as the youngest player inside the Top 20. In light of that, how much do you think age and experience play a role in the Emirates ATP Rankings?
I think they do. I’m still learning a lot every match, win or lose. Experience is a big thing for me, especially trying to win in tough situations. I’m trying to make the transition to the top as smooth as possible by learning as much as I can every match. I’m not taking anything for granted.

How close do you feel to the Top 10, having been ranked as high as No. 13? What improvements can you make to move up to this elite group of players?
I’m keen on getting there and working hard to get there. I need to improve in many aspects. My return game and my movement are big things I need to improve. I also need to keep learning through experiences and I think that will help me get up there with the Top 10 guys. I’d like to squeeze into the Top 8 to make the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals in London.

Looking back, can you identify a point in time when you realised you had the game and mental strength to compete with the best players in the world?
There are two times. First was when I qualified and made the fourth round of Australian Open in 2011. I had two good wins over Mikhail Youzhny and Michael Llodra. But before that, I qualified at Montreal in 2009 and had match points against Fernando Gonzalez there. That gave me a lot of belief in myself and the work I was doing. It also gave me the respect I wanted.

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