April to August: Raonic ready for run-up to Rio
Milos Raonic’s season is about to hit full steam ahead.
“Everything has been a lead up to this period I actually have now.”
Coming off his quarterfinal appearance at the Monte Carlo Masters, Raonic has just finished a two-week training block, doing a wealth of off-court work so that he can physically withstand his busy spring and summer schedule.
The world’s 11th-ranked player is in Spain this week for the Madrid Open, followed immediately by a trip to Rome for the Internazionali BNL d’Italia, both Masters 1000 events. They are, of course, warmups for the clay court climax, the French Open, which begins on May 16.
Then it’s a quick transition to grass at the Aegon Championships in London in mid-June, his tune-up for Wimbledon.
Two weeks later he’ll be on the home hardcourt at the Rogers Cup in Toronto, which is his lead-in to the Olympic Games in Rio.
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“If you asked me at the beginning of the year, the six biggest targets were the four Slams, Toronto and Rio and that’s how it’s going to stay,” Raonic said in a recent interview with Olympic.ca. “I’m going to do everything in my power to make sure I can play my best tennis at those events. It’s going to be tough, but everybody else is doing it and it is about managing it better, or at least as well as they do.”
Part of the management process is ensuring his body is as fit as it can be. He came off the high of advancing to his second career Grand Slam semifinal at the Australian Open in January with an adductor tear that forced him to withdraw from two ATP tournaments as well as Canada’s First Round Davis Cup tie with France.
But Raonic is keen to see that low in a positive light.
“I feel like maybe not being able to play matches and games in that tournament atmosphere in the month of February could pay off as a benefit, keeping me more hungry and match fresh and that kind of stuff.”
Upon his return, Raonic made it to the final in Indian Wells, losing to world number one Novak Djokovic, and to the quarterfinals in Miami and Monte Carlo, all Masters 1000 events. Those results have him third in the world this year in points earned towards qualifying for the eight-man ATP World Tour Finals, behind only Djokovic and Rafael Nadal.
“It’s something to be proud of but also at the same time it’s not too satisfying and it has got me more motivated and pushing for more,” said Raonic. “And yes my body has caused some difficulties for me and it hasn’t always been participating as well as I would like to, but I’ve always made the most of my opportunities, even when I’ve been hurt.”
“Hopefully when I get that momentum going I can keep my body in shape so it allows me to keep building off those positive wins and starting to really use that momentum for benefit rather than changing my body and figuring out what I can and can’t do to stay healthy.”