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Getting to know the rising star of Men's Tennis: Milos Raonic

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milos_raonicMilos Raonic, the 21 year old Canadian tennis star was ranked 156 in the ATP Tour rankings at the beginning of 2011. Coming into the year, Raonic and his coach Galo Blanco each wrote down what they believed his year-end ranking would be and sealed it in an envelope – Raonic wrote 47 and Blanco 31. Raonic finished the year at 31!

Raonic did not have the best of starts to the new season as he failed to qualify for the main draw of the Chennai Open 2011. However, the Canadian caught the attention of the tennis world by reaching the fourth round of the Australian Open. Raonic continued his impressive run by winning the SAP Open title at San Jose in February 2011 and finishing runner-up at Memphis the following week. Further, he was instrumental in re-establishing Canada in the Davis Cup. However, Raonic suffered a set back at the Wimbledon Championships where he sustained a hip injury and was out of action for six weeks. Following his return to the circuit, he picked up right from where he left off by reaching the semifinals of the Stockholm Open.

Milos Raonic was voted the ATP Newcomer of the Year 2011. His success is due largely to his strong serve. Standing tall at 6 foot 5 inches, the Canadian serves consistently over 140 miles per hour and has a very effective net game. A majority of Raonic's success has come on hard courts and he is excited about his return to India come 2012.

We catch-up with Milos ahead of the Chennai Open as he reveals his career ambitions...

What are your goals for the 2012 Season?

I would like to keep progressing my ranking. I don't have anything set as far as a direct ranking is concerned. I want to keep improving that's the most important part. I know if I do my ranking will follow.

Improving from 156 at the start of the season to a career-high 25 in May, the highest-ranked Canadian in the world rankings history, the youngest player in the top-30… tremendous achievements all. How has your career progressed and where do you like to see yourself over the next two years?

The progress has been amazing and fast. My tennis has improved so much and only keeps getting better. I know the more I play on tour the better I will get and the more experience I will pick up. I hope to be a fixed stature in the top rankings in the world and to be aggressively competing for big tournaments with the top guys.

High point and low point in 2011?

The high point was winning my first title in San Jose at the SAP Open. The low point was getting injured at Wimbledon and having to miss 3 months of competition.

Your second Chennai visit, how excited are you?

I am very optimistic and looking forward to it. I hope I can make more of a impact on the tournament than last year and start the year strong.

Are you planning for any special preparation ahead of the 2012 season-opener?

I will do the same off season training as last year. I will work hard for 6 weeks straight so I can be in great shape come tournament time.

On coach Blanco's influence on your meteoric rise?

He's been a great help. Being a former player himself he's helped me deal with the pressures and moments very well because they are all new to me, it's one of the reasons I have been able to keep progressing so well this year.

How important is your booming serve in your tennis armory?

It's my biggest weapon; I try to construct me game around it. It also helps on my returns because it put a lot of pressure on my opponents.

Canada qualified to the David Cup World Group 2012 after a gap of seven years. Your views on the achievement?

It's an amazing feat; hopefully we keep it up and keep winning. As well as making Canada a fixture into the world group.

Which achievement would you be more proud of, breaking into the top-10 ranking or winning the Davis Cup for Canada?

Winning Davis Cup.

File Photograph Copyright: Christopher Johnson