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Raonic Ready To Take Next Step In New York

New York City, U.S.A.

Raonic© Getty ImagesMilos Raonic won his sixth ATP World Tour crown in Washington.

On the heels of a dominant Emirates Airline US Open Series, featuring his first title run of the year at the Citi Open and a semi-final finish at the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 stop in Cincinnati, Milos Raonic is soaring into the final major of the year.

Talking to in New York, the World No. 6 believes he is a contender to hoist his first Grand Slam trophy and says the strong summer hard court swing gives him confidence to continue rising.

“I feel great,” said Raonic. “Toronto, Cincinnati and Washington were great events for me. I picked up a lot of (Emirates ATP Rankings) points through three weeks and played a lot of matches. And at the same time I know I am building up to play the best tennis in New York. I look forward to the challenge.

“I’ve made the fourth round twice. Last year I was one shot away from going through to my first quarters, so it’s something I’ve been building on and hopefully I can make my biggest breakthrough to date here in New York. That would be special.”

Seeded fifth, the 23-year-old Raonic is coming off his best Grand Slam result, when he advanced to the semi-finals on the lawns of Wimbledon. Despite falling in straight sets to Roger Federer, the Canadian says it was an experience that will only make him stronger.

“(The Wimbledon run) gives me experience. If I put myself in that situation again, I know how to deal with it better. There’s no cheat sheet on that. I’m in that same situation and I know what I have to do now.”

In addition, the 6’5” Canadian is looking to a strong fortnight at Flushing Meadows to boost his chances of qualifying for the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals for the first time. The second alternate at last year’s season finale, Raonic just missed out on a berth and says it’s something he is gunning for in 2014.

“It’s a big goal we set in the beginning of the year. We set some side goals as well, but if all those work out, it gives me a chance (to qualify) for London.”

As for his off-court plans in the Big Apple, the Ivan Ljubicic and Riccardo Piatti pupil is keeping it simple: “Friends and good dinners. I actually come here a lot in my time off. I keep it pretty quiet, nothing too crazy. I eat everywhere. My friends are from New York, so they know all these places and there’s always another place you have to try.”

The 2014 US Open commences on August 25th.

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