18 May 2010

ITF Pro Circuit meets... Milos Raonic

Text Interview

Milos Raonic

This 19-year old Canadian ITF Pro Circuits competitor has reached seven singles and eight doubles finals on the ITF Pro Circuit walking away with four singles titles and five doubles titles. In 2008 he also made a successful appearance in a Challenger Circuit doubles final. March 2010 saw Raonic make his Davis Cup debut for Canada in a 4-1 away defeat against Colombia. Raonic recently achieved a new career high ATP World Ranking in the singles charts, the release of the May 17th 2010 list showed he had climbed to a position just outside the Top 300 at 303.

ITF Pro Circuit recently caught up with the Canadian rising star who will certainly be worth keeping an eye on! 

ITF Pro Circuit: Milos, can you tell us about where were you born and describe the area where you grew up?

Milos Raonic: I was born in Podgorica, Montenegro. It’s a nice small country on the coast of the Adriatic Sea; I still go back every year for vacation. I moved to Canada at the age of 3 with my family; Father; Dusan, Mother; Vesna, Sister; Jelena and Brother; Momir. I grew up within the suburbs of Toronto. I was a regular kid who was very into sports. Canada is mostly a hockey dominant country but I found my true aspiration to be in tennis because of the individuality and I felt I could train more alone and on a ball machine with my dad.

ITF Pro Circuit: You mention your family; do any other members of your family play sport?

Milos Raonic: My family is mostly into education over sport. My father has a PhD and my mother, brother and sister have all completed university. My dad and brother play basketball but only recreationally.

ITF Pro Circuit: So how did you get started in tennis? How old were you? Where did you first play?

Milos Raonic: I started tennis when I was 8 years old. I started mostly with my dad on a ball machine at 6:30am in the morning and 9.00pm at night due because court fees were a lot cheaper at this time. I played on the ball machine only until I proved I was good enough to train with the older group. I started with Casey Curtis as my first coach, at the Blackmore Tennis Club in Richmond Hill.

ITF Pro Circuit: 6:30am, that’s dedication. What can you tell us a bit about your current coach?

Milos Raonic: I am currently working with Frederic Niemeyer. He recently stopped playing on the tour himself, September 2009. He played pro for many years after university. We started working in December 2009 and so far I am feeling the benefits. He is helping me a lot tactically and is able to still hit with me at a very high level (career high of 134 ATP singles ranking) and this allows me to work on specific things while travelling and training at home.

ITF Pro Circuit: Growing up, did you have any specific tennis idols?

Milos Raonic: My tennis idol was Pete Sampras. I love his demeanour and attitude on court. His serve was my favourite. I taped all his televised matches as a kid and would watch them at least two times each.

ITF Pro Circuit: Although only 19-years old, what would you say was your greatest tennis memory so far?

Milos Raonic: My greatest memory to date would have to be playing the Montreal Masters 1000 last year. I got to play on the Bank National Grandstand court against Fernando Gonzalez. I played a great match I lost to him 46 76(6) 64. I had a match point in the second set tiebreak. I just feel the match was a motivational step for me and a sign of my capabilities at the top level of tennis. Since it was a home match the atmosphere was amazing and electric. Still my favourite moment to date.

ITF Pro Circuit: As a regular on the ITF Pro Circuit, can you share your experiences of playing on the ITF Pro Circuit?

Milos Raonic: The ITF Pro Circuit is fun. You make many friends and you travel to many different places. You don't always get to travel to the big cities but you get to see many different cultures. Most recently we were on the outskirts of Gimcheon, South Korea. The hotel was in a little side city with only true Korean restaurants. You would sit on the floor and eat! The thing that stood out to me about this place was that a famous food there was fried grasshoppers. I didn't have the courage to try one, but my coach did, he said that they were crunchy and just a bit too salty for his liking, after he proceeded to grab another one and eat it! My stomach could not handle even watching him eat it. The great thing about the ITF Pro Circuit is you always come back from trips with many memories and a more open mind to the world. The level of [play at] the Futures are tough and the matches are something you need to go through to play at the top of tennis. My coach has been around playing for the last few years and he says over the years the level of Futures tennis keeps getting higher and higher so that's a good thing for the sport I feel.

ITF Pro Circuit: Sounds delicious, I think I might have passed on them too! Moving away from tennis do you have any other interests?

Milos Raonic: I am into other sports casually, not really a fanatic about any teams but I like to know results and keep informed from time to time. Other than that I am into music and TV shows while travelling. My favourite show is How I Met Your Mother.

ITF Pro Circuit: Staying away from tennis, had you not taken up pursuing a career in the sport, what would you have liked to do?

Milos Raonic: I would have liked to be involved in another sport. If not that I would have liked to be involved in a financial career. I am still studying and taking University business courses while travelling and playing.

ITF Pro Circuit: Finally, in your opinion, what would you say were the best and worst aspects of being a professional tennis player?

Milos Raonic: The biggest downfall is the travel and the time away from the friends and family. But that also has its upside as you get to see the world. My favourite thing about tennis is I get to have fun playing and training and I get to make a career from doing something I love.

ITF Pro Circuit: Milos, thank you for your time.