It's comforting to play in Chennai Open: Raonic

Chennai Open finalist Raonic gets candid about his love for the sport, butter chicken and more...

Canadian hard-hitter Milos Raonic proved just why he is rated so highly, when he crushed second seed Nicolas Almagro to enter his maiden Chennai Open final.  Raonic, who climbed 115 spots in the ATP world rankings in 2011 (from 152 to 37), defeated the World No 10 Spaniard 6-4, 6-4. Reaching the fourth round of the Australian Open, winning the title in San Jose and the final at Memphis all in the space of just four weeks is enough evidence the  21-year-old is ready to shine on the big stage now. Raonic gets candid about his love for tennis, Indian food and much more.
Excerpts from the interview:

Canada's Milos Raonic returns to Spaniard Nicolas Almagro
during Saturday's Chennai Open semi-final. PIC/AFP

What do you like most about the Chennai Open?
It is very comforting to come here as the tournament is organised very well and the people here are very nice. They help me make an easy transition. Also I love Indian food. Butter Chicken and Indian bread is my favourite. I do not like spicy food though.

How hard was it to come back from the hip injury you suffered at Wimbledon?
I am fortunate that it was getting better all the time and there were no hiccups in between. After my comeback, I won a few matches right away which gave me the required confidence.

What are your goals for the long term and this season in particular?
I want to be a top player and stay on top of the men's game for a long period of time.
This season I am looking to improve all parts of my game, get better physically and gain more experience. I believe that the ranking should then take care of itself.

Was there anything different that you did that was responsible for your sudden rise in the rankings?
Not really. It was a matter of getting confidence after winning a few matches particularly at the Australian Open. I earned the respect of players and that always helps you psychologically when you get on court.
Strategically I did not make any major changes. I played without a break after winning San Jose title but can't complain as I did well at Memphis the following week also.

How do you relax in between matches and what do you  usually do during the tournament?
Usually I travel with my coach and physiotherapist. We try to relax and not do something too tiring. We try to get out and see the city and look for some new experiences. After practice, I also want to some have time to myself. Perhaps watch some movies, TV shows before going to bed.  

What do you do for your holiday during the offseason? 
My holiday spot is going back home in Canada. Since I train in Europe at Barcelona and Monte Carlo, I don't get to spend much time at home. I like to spend time with my parents and friends, see familiar faces, restaurants, have a beer and relax. 

Do you have any girlfriend currently?
No. (Good news for you Indian girls. You can try your luck).

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