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Raonic Features In Men's Journal

Raonic© Ella Ling/Men's JournalMilos Raonic features in Men's Journal.

Is Milos Raonic The Future Of Men’s Tennis?

That’s what Men’s Journal asks in the headline of a new, in-depth profile of the World No. 9. The article, written by Kevin Gray, labels the 23-year-old Raonic as the ATP World Tour young gun who “rattles the most nerves”, chronicling his rise from his early days in the suburbs of Toronto. Men’s Journal also joins the Canadian in New York City, providing a glimpse of his interests and life off the court.

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Here are a couple of excerpts from the story:

If Raonic feels the pressure, it’s not evident as he sprawls out in an upstairs booth at the Spotted Pig, a West Village haunt of New York City’s actors, rappers, media moguls, art dealers, and fashion photographers. “I should eat more pork,” says Raonic, as his burger without bun, plus salad, arrives at the table. “Apparently something about beef’s not great for me, but pork is,” he says. At least he skipped the bun. “I can’t have gluten either,” he adds. He recently saw a sports nutritionist (the kind that suggested Djokovic shift to a gluten-free diet just before he became No. 1 in the world), had his blood work done, and was given a strict diet. “My body doesn’t respond optimally to some foods,” he says. So no salmon, tuna, mandarins or nuts — “other than macadamia and Brazil nuts,” he says. A diet full of veggies and white meats is a big change for Raonic who hates trying new foods. (It took one friend weeks to convince him to try lobster. “Now, I love it.”)

It's here in New York City that Raonic says he feels most at home (aside from actually visiting his parents in Toronto). When he can manage it — a few times a year — he'll squeeze in week-long trips to Manhattan, sandwiched between 12-hour training days in Monte Carlo, and monthly tournaments around the world. He'll couch surf with friends in New York City, visit art galleries (studying up for future purchases); drink wine (up to three glasses a day with the new diet), and indulge in his other sport passion, basketball, on the city's courts. But such luxuries happen when it's not Grand Slam season (from the French to the U.S. Open) when he's working on his returns, volleys, fitness and, of course, his serve.

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Raonic recently bought a two-bedroom, 1800-square foot condo with an outdoor deck, in a historic skyscraper — the former home of Imperial Oil — in downtown Toronto. He is overseeing the remodeling himself. While he is new to the world of art and culture — up to this point, it’s been all tennis — he’s passionate about one day soon buying his own art, though he’s not yet sure what genre or period it will be. But he is thinking it through with typical force, telling his decorator he wants to curate it all himself. “Somebody comes over, I want to be able to tell them about a piece,” he says. “I might not know anything about any other piece in the world, but I’ll know about that piece.” He is just as logical about not wanting a girlfriend during these hard-working years. “I would be attracted to a girl who is ambitious, like me, and competitive, an artist or an actress,” he says. “But I can’t ask someone like that to travel with me and sit around while I’m in the locker room. How can you do this? Then she’s not ambitious.”

Ambition is everything to Raonic, and as such makes the taste of defeat so much more potent than the taste of winning. “I hate to lose," he says. "I hate to lose more than I like to win. It’s weird, people always say that it makes it seem like I don’t enjoy anything." There are times when he’s been so frustrated with his game that he’s flown halfway around the world — once from Rome to Toronto — just to get away for a few days. When he was struggling at the French Open last year, he again wanted to go home to his parents. But his mother calmed him down over Skype and convinced him to go instead to Monte Carlo by train and take it easy. “I get very disappointed,” says Raonic. “It’s a process, and all I’m asking is….” He trails off and looks around the crowded streets. “I can be hard on myself,” he says. “But I’m getting better every day. And I believe if I do so, I will eventually get to where I want to be. So I have to be patient. My coach is always telling me, ‘Don’t worry, it’s going well, it’s going well.’”

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