Before they hit the hardcourts in Montreal, Milos Raonic, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer met with the media on the eve of the next ATP Masters 1000 tournament.
Raonic, now fully recovered from a hamstring injury that took him out of action earlier in the season, was optimistic about his ability to do well in Montreal.
“Physically, I’ve been healthy for a while now, which has been nice,” he said. “Through the last eight, nine, 10 months I’ve been thinking about a lot of other things like staying healthy, things surrounding my game that allowed me to focus freely on just being out on the court as much as possible.”
Despite a quarterfinal defeat at the Masters 500 tournament in Washington, DC, on Friday, Raonic is not overly concerned about the quality of his game, and in fact, sees some positives.
“The things that haven’t been the core of my game, I’ve been doing quite a bit better over the last few weeks,” he said. “I’ve gained a lot of confidence, because things that I tend to do quite well I can normally catch on and control for a longer period of time, which I expect to be able to control this week.”
Although it may seem like a more natural home tournament for the player from Thornhill, Ontario when the Rogers Cup is held in Toronto, he is thrilled to be back at the venue which doubles as Tennis Canada’s National Training Centre that he moved to as a 16-year-old.
“It’s great being back here. I know this facility better than I know the Toronto one. I’ve trained on these courts,” said Raonic, who also noted the great energy that the Montreal fans provide. “All those kinds of feelings of familiarity are very nice. It’s nice to be here in this tournament with the family that hosted me for so many years but also my family, due to proximity, is able to come and support me this week.”
In 2013, Raonic was a finalist in Montreal, losing to Nadal. According to the Spaniard, Raonic may have faced adversity over the past few months but he believes he has the ability to make a big move.
“The only thing he needs to do is win,” said Nadal. “Stay passionate and wait for the right moment. He had some injuries, that’s always tough, but he managed to recover from them very well. He’s a very complete player. For sure he’s a candidate to win here and win a Grand Slam, especially if played on hard.”
The ATP Masters 1000 tournament in Montreal is the second event in the men’s US Open Series leading to the season’s final Grand Slam. Notables missing from the field are Andy Murray, Novak Djokovic, Stan Wawrinka and Marin Cilic.
For his part, Federer believes that the hard work the Canadian has been putting in will eventually pay off.
“Maybe not having Novak and Stan and all these guys around is going to make things easier for everybody, including Milos,” said the 19-time Grand Slam champion. “I don’t think he needs to change a whole lot. I think he’s got the game, he knows what he wants, he knows what he needs to do and you know, if you work hard good things are going to happen to you, so I hope that’s the case for Milos.
Raonic’s first match in Montreal will be on Tuesday night while Nadal will play earlier that day. Federer is expected to see his first action on Wednesday. You will find the full schedule of matches here .