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By Chris Oddo | Tuesday July 3, 2018

 
Milos Raonic

Canada's Milos Raonic isn't being tabbed as a contender by many at Wimbledon, but he's backing himself all the way.

Photo Source: Clive Mason/Getty

Say what you will about Milos Raonic’s recent inability to stay healthy. Say that he’s dipped in form a bit from two years ago when he reached the semifinals at the Australian Open and defeated Roger Federer at Wimbledon en route to his first major final.

Just don’t tell Raonic that he can’t win Wimbledon this year.

Asked if he felt he believed he could win this tournament on Monday, he didn’t hesitate: “Definitely,” he said. “I gotta put together seven good days.”


Raonic comes to Wimbledon shrouded in—you guessed it—injury concern. He reached the final at Stuttgart before falling to Federer in the final, then pulled out of his second-round match at Queen’s and immediately flew home to have a pectoral injury checked out.

After his first-round victory over Liam Broady on Day 1, Raonic told media that he wasn’t concerned for his health, and he also seemed dead-set against discussing his injuries at length, almost as if he intended to keep any issues out of sight and thus out of mind.

“I feel my body's allowing me to play and hopefully that continues for a very long time,” was all he really had to offer the media.

Tennis Express

Raonic, now coached by 2001 Wimbledon champion Goran Ivanisevic, seems to be growing into the fledgling partnership which was formed in March. He’s looking to the Croatian to help foster his mental resiliency and Ivanisevic wants to encourage Raonic to relax about issues that aren’t under his control.

Raonic said that the partnership is about much more than tapping Ivanisevic’s big-match mentality and his legendary je ne sais quoi.

“Some of the best stuff we have done has actually been off the court,” Raonic said. “I haven't been consistently healthy enough to really put forth a day-to-day plan all the time. So we have actually had a lot of discussions off-court. One of them was, ‘Hey, you know, maybe the last week didn't go how you would have wanted to prepare but these are the things you need to focus on when you get here. That way you can sort of find yourself and work yourself into this tournament.’”

Raonic didn’t mince words when asked about his recent loss to Federer at Stuttgart. After that final he wondered out loud if Federer ever got sick of all the success and all the adoration that he receives from the fawning masses. It was a funny, if awkward, moment that put Raonic's envy on full display. I asked him if he might have showed his hand in Germany, and wondered if maybe it was actually him who was the one who was sick of Federer winning all the time.

Once again, he didn’t hesitate to reply.

“It's not a particular focus on Roger,” he said. “I'm just sick of myself losing.”

If Raonic really means what he says, there's a panacea for that. He’ll barrel through the pain and do everything in his power to avoid a loss at his favorite Grand Slam over the next two weeks. It may not be enough to avoid another frustrating setback, then again: one never knows.

 

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