Chennai: He could not even make the main draw in the last edition of the Aircel Chennai Open but now Milos Raonic is optimistic of putting up a strong show at India's only ATP event as he has progressed immensely in the last 12 months.
Raonic had become the first qualifier to reach the fourth round of a Grand Slam since 1999 at the Australian Open, two weeks after he bowed out of the Chennai Open qualifiers.
In 2011, Raonic also became the first Canadian to win an ATP World Tour title at SAP Open in 16 years and climbed from 156 to a career-high 25 in the rankings.
"I am very optimistic and looking forward to it. I hope I can make more of an impact on the tournament than last year and start the year strong," Raonic, who is now ranked 31, said.
Raonic's biggest strength is his power-packed serve and he says he will make full use of his serve at Aircel Chennai open, starting January 2. "It's my biggest weapon. I try to construct my game around it. It also helps on my returns, because it puts a lot of pressure on my opponents," the 20-year-old said ahead of the 17th edition of Chennai Open.
Elaborating further on his dramatic rise, he said, "The progress has been amazing and fast. My tennis has improved so much and only keeps getting better. "I know the more I play on tour the better I will get and the more experience I will pick up. I hope to be a fixed stature in the top rankings in the world and to be aggressively competing for big tournaments with the top guys.
"The high point was winning my first title in San Jose at the SAP Open. The low point was getting injured at Wimbledon and having to miss 3 months of competition," he added.