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Raonic “getting closer” to the top guys

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Originally published on: 10/05/12 00:00

Roger Federer proved too good for him for the second time in two months, but Milos Raonic could take plenty of encouragement from his 4-6, 7-5, 7-6 defeat by the former world No 1 in the second round of the Masters 1000 tournament in Madrid. Raonic, who hit 21 aces in the match, has had a fine start to the clay-court season, having already claimed victories over Andy Murray and Nicolas Almagro.

The 21-year-old Canadian made his big breakthrough last year, when he climbed 125 places in the world rankings to finish the season at No 31. He has since made further progress, rising to his current career-high position at No 23. He has already won two titles this year, in Chennai and San Jose, and reached the final in Memphis, but believes he still has plenty of room for improvement.

“I do see a lot of parts of my game that I can get better,” Raonic said. “Work has never felt tedious to me or has never been a bother, so I'm really happy to do the work, to put in the hours. I feel the benefits that are coming from it, and I feel like I'm a much better player and I am getting closer to these guys.  I feel if we do play many, many times, obviously they'll win most of them, but I will have my opportunities a few times. So it's just a matter of those days clicking, the right things happening.  And when those opportunities do arise, you make the most of them and you go for them.”

Raonic might have done even better last year but for injuries, but he believes the experience has helped him. “I think it makes you appreciate things more,” he said. “I think it's a big learning point, just to accept things for what they are.”

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