Most tennis fans probably know of Milos Raonic, but how well do any of them really know Raonic? Not very well, I would imagine. That was certainly the case for me. Sure, I knew the often-injured Canadian was a former world No. 3 and one-time Wimbledon finalist, but beyond that, I couldn’t tell you much. That changed once I started doing a little digging into his life after a comment he’d made about the French Open’s rescheduling. As it turns out, the world according to Raonic is a surprisingly interesting place, and not a whole lot different from yours or mine.
More fish, less dessert. Sound familiar? Raonic added a nutritionist to his team before the start of the 2013 season; the rest of his team felt like it was the area he could reap the most benefits. He says regimenting the times he eats has been a big part of the change, along with adding different kinds of veggies and limiting red meat to once or twice every two weeks.
But fish has been the most significant change because it’s such a big part of what he consumes nowadays. His go-to meal? Pan fried fish and vegetables — in part, he confesses, because it’s “easy to clean up.” Desserts are off-limits, but on the rare occasion he does indulge, tiramisu is by far his favorite.
Perhaps Raonic’s most down-to-earth qualities are his hobbies: reading and spending time with his new puppy.
He credits reading as being an easy way to shut down. He travels with a bunch of books everywhere he goes and loves going to different bookstores in different cities. Like most of us who love books, he thinks it’s sad to see a lot of mom-and-pop bookstores going out of business. His favorite book and top recommendation? Tuesdays With Morrie by Mitch Albom.
In addition to reading, the break in the tennis season helped him fulfill a lifelong dream: owning a dog. He’s always wanted one but having a domesticated pet in Yugoslavia wasn’t possible. In his own words about the puppy he and supermodel girlfriend Camille Ringoir (okay, maybe he’s not exactly like you or me) recently brought home:
“‘If this is going to happen, it has to happen now and then I’ll figure it out after,’ and so far it’s been incredible.”
It doesn’t get much more “guy next door” than a good book and a dog. I have feeling more than a handful of tennis fans will have no problem identifying with Raonic on this level.
So, Raonic is injury prone — every tennis fan knows that. But even I was surprised by the extent of the list. Injuries have affected almost every part of his body, including his right hip, right foot, left wrist, back, right elbow, glute, thigh, right ankle, right calf and right knee. However, now that he’s healthy and ready to make a push towards the top of the sport, it’s the other players on the tour he’s most concerned about. This is what he said about the compressed schedule later this year:
“Four weeks in five (in September) … I think that will pose issues for players, and I think also because a transition to a different surface (from hard to clay courts) will be very quick,” he told CNN’s Christina Macfarlane. “The thing that you really hope for is that it doesn’t create an uptick in injuries because that is quite tolling, quite a task.”
The French Open
Raonic is a smart guy. Both his parents are engineers. Math was a big part of his life growing up; he values logic and is process driven. His great uncle was an artist from Montenegro and he enjoys visiting art galleries or going to art shows that have coincided with the ATP Tour’s schedule. He studies finance for fun. So, Raonic is a smart guy. When he offers an opinion, it is probably at least well thought out, if not downright thought-provoking. Such is the case with the following statement regarding the French Open:
“I understand it from their perspective. They’ve done a lot of renovations this year, they’ve put in a new roof, they’re still working on it. I know it’s not finished so the question is when will the French government allow them to have that many workers in a tight space to finish construction. That’s also going to be another factor for them as well, because I don’t think you can necessarily play while it’s a construction zone. I think they wanted to secure a week, because they were nervous that a lot of tournaments will be looking to move …”
This is a big statement; the renovations at Roland Garros still aren’t completed? I’ve searched repeatedly but I can’t find any information online to corroborate or refute his statement. If he’s right — if the tennis grounds are still under construction — the French Tennis Federation’s ambition of playing the French Open at any date this year seems far-fetched.
His Own Song
That’s right, Raonic is a YouTube sensation! Well, I don’t know if you’d call him a sensation, but a video a couple of young Canadians posted about him has almost 41,000 views and isn’t half bad. Any time a couple of teenagers think you’re cool enough to write, perform, and post a video about you that 41,000 people watch means you’re not doing okay in life!
What makes Raonic like you or me is the way he responded to the video. According to Raonic, “I think it’s pretty sweet and nice, especially considering it was a school project actually. Even got the email of one of the kids and sort of sent them thank you for it, because I think it was good on their part.”
It doesn’t get more down-to-earth than that.
More Fun Facts
- Shoe size: 14D.
- Favorite tennis player: Pete Sampras.
- Girl crush: Taylor Swift.
- Age he started playing tennis: six years old.
- Perk of being famous: calling Drake for last-minute tickets.
Just One of the Guys
In a world where sports celebrities often have super-sized egos and lavish lifestyles, ] Raonic’s world is surprisingly simple. Other than a few perks that come along with being one of the best tennis players in the world, his day to day life isn’t much different from the people who watch him perform. It’s easy to see why tennis fans cheer for Raonic, even if they might not know much about him. At the end of the day, he’s just one of the guys, and that’s the guy we root for to win.
Embed from Getty Images