Milos Raonic advanced to his first career Grand Slam semifinal today at Wimbledon where he’ll meet 7-time champion Roger Federer. But the Canadian has a plan and the plan is not to worry who’s across the net.
“I’m going to step out there and I’m not playing the seven-time Wimbledon champion,” Roanic said following a 4-set win over Nick Kyrgios. “I’m not playing a 32-year-old man. I’m not playing father of two sets of twins, which is a very low possibility I bet to do. I’m not playing the guy that’s won whatever he’s won, which I could probably list quite vividly.
“I’m playing a guy that is standing in my way of what I want to achieve, and I’ve got to focus on everything that’s there, on the situation, how best to deal with it to give myself the best possibilities to achieve what I want.”
Raonic possesses one of the biggest serves in the sport- he leads Wimbledon in aces – and he happens to be one of the more thoughtful players as well. The 23-year-old addressed the journey of phenom to someone who’s finally broken through.
“It’s things I’ve had to face,” Raonic said. “You can face them after you break through or you can face them before. But it’s bumps, moments of disbelief, moments of doubt, moments of the best feelings that you’ll have, and you have to face them. You can face them at No. 30 in the world, you can face them at No. 10 in the world, but those are challenges you’re going to have to put up with if you want to achieve the pinnacle of this sport.
“In 2011 I broke through and I did a lot of things quickly, but I cannot say I had the level or by any means the understanding of, Okay, I’m going to be the next great one in a year or whatever that saying might have been.
“I was far from that. There was a lot of developing I needed to do. There was a lot of learning, understanding about myself, about other people, about situations, about tennis, about life outside of tennis. There’s a lot you have to go through.
“I’ve been able to go through that. I’ve been I feel every year getting better and better. I think this year I probably stepped it up a little bit more than I did maybe from 2011 to the 2013 season.
“I have a lot more understanding and stuff, but I don’t think that you can do that in one year just because I went from whatever it was, 150 to 37, in however many weeks. The next steps are much harder.”
Raonic has never beaten Federer in four tries.
“I’ve played him I believe four times now,” Raonic said. “He’s gotten the better of me all four times. But I haven’t played him I think in more than a year, a year and a bit, so I think I’m a different player.
“I’ve got in close with him in the past and I’ve found a lot of those things I can sort of pull away that give me a lot of belief that I can do this. So there’s no point to talk about it. I’ve got to step up and do it.”
Raonic will have that chance on Friday.
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