Milos Raonic is drawing on his defeat in the Wimbledon semifinal as he begins his hard-court campaign.
Saying he is "still pretty angry" about his performance while going down in straight sets to Roger Federer, the 23-year-old is also looking to use that experience to good effect during this portion of the season.
"It’s been a lot of frustration, anger and disappointment, specifically to that semifinal, and it’s actually sort of transformed into a lot of energy to do better, to work harder and now it’s got me really excited,” said Raonic, who is seeded second at Washington, DC. “It makes me want to play that much more badly and get through these next tournaments."
Now ranked No. 7, the big-serving Raonic has a better sense of his game following his work with coaches Ivan Ljubicic and Ricado Piatti.
"I can make guys feel uncomfortable whether they’re ranked No.1 in the world or No. 50. I don’t think anybody enjoys playing me so I have a lot more understanding of that and how to use that to my advantage," he said.
Raonic reached the semifinals of Rome on clay as well as Wimbledon on grass. His performances on the two surfaces, where he is less comfortable, provide encouragement for the hard-court season.
"After spending four months of tennis where I’m adjusting to playing the surface, this is a surface where I’m comfortable," he said.
Like other players, he wants to take advantage of the opening in the rankings behind Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal.
"The biggest threshold and the biggest barrier," he said, "Novak and Rafa have on the one-two spots. But I think that the rest of the parts, this year specifically, are up for grabs. ''