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Raonic Weighs In On Federer, Nadal & The Battle For No. 1

Raonic© Getty ImagesMilos Raonic believes Roger Federer has every chance to add to his Grand Slam collection.

The competition on the ATP World Tour is closer than ever, but upcoming star Milos Raonic believes Roger Federer still has every chance to add to his record collection of 17 Grand Slam singles titles in the 2014 season. Federer’s last major crown came at Wimbledon in 2012, when he defeated Andy Murray in the final.

The 23-year-old Canadian, who is hoping to make his own Grand Slam breakthrough this season, commented, “One thing Roger knows how to do is he knows how to win and he knows how to win often. He knows what he needs to bring out from himself to get to [win another major]. So I think as long as he’s still playing, it’s because he believes he can get that out of himself.”

Raonic also claimed there could be several contenders for the No. 1 spot in the Emirates ATP Rankings this season, citing Juan Martin del Potro in particular as a player who could break up Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray.

“It’s going to be very competitive. It’s going to be very difficult and I don’t really believe that it’s just going to depend on those three guys,” said Raonic, who became the first Canadian to break the Top 10 in 2013. 

“Someone else could break through, there’s definitely the possibility for that, it’s sport. There’s so much unknown and so many variables. I think there’s a lot of guys playing great, especially del Potro last year. He managed Top 5, missing a big part of the season as well. There’s so many guys that can step up and challenge for that spot. I don’t think it’s a giveaway to those three guys.”

Last season arguably belonged to Nadal, who made a remarkable comeback from the left-knee injury that had sidelined him for seven months. On his return, he won 10 tour-level titles, including two Grand Slams and five ATP World Tour Masters 1000 crowns. The Spaniard will subsequently be the man to knock off the top of the Emirates ATP Rankings going into the new season.

"I think it’s spectacular and I think it’s probably one of the bigger, if not biggest comebacks in all of sport over such a quick period of time,” said Raonic. “I follow a lot of different sports and to come back from what he had, and from how long he was out… especially the fact it’s an individual sport, if you’re feeling sore you can’t take a timeout and have somebody play for you and then you get back into the game. 

“He just showed immense ability this year, when he seemed most vulnerable, to not be vulnerable at all. I think that’s the most spectacular part.

“Definitely he works hard, but I think he’s one of the best competitors out there. He knows what he has to do to win. He’s one of the guys that understands best that it’s not going to be a great day every day, by any means, and he knows how to make the most of those opportunities and those moments and he brings the best out of himself.”

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©Keegan Bursaw / Embassy of Canada

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