Miles Raonic may have a top 30 ranking, an astoundingly bright tennis career and a pad in Monte Carlo, but when it comes to his favourite NBA players he gets just as star-struck as the rest of us.
Although not admitting whether he’ll be following them around the Olympic village with autograph book and camera in hand, he’s still pretty excited about bumping into the US basketball players as he makes his debut in the London Olympic Games. Speaking to reporters as he arrived at Heathrow, Raonic admitted to following their matches “pretty closely all year round” and when asked who he’d like to meet answered “LeBron? I’d be pretty excited. But Kevin Durant is No. 1”
The 21-year-old player, who is currently ranked 23rd in the world, has faced the very best of the best when it comes to the current crop of male players – Andy Murray, Rafael Nadal and world number 1 Roger Federer – and despite his globe-trotting adventures on the ATP tour it’s the Olympic games that he is really excited about playing. Born in Yugoslavia but a citizen in name and heart of Canada since he was three years old, it’s no wonder that Raonic is so enthusiastic about the games as this is the chance for him to truly represent the country that’s given him and his family a future and a home – “It’s an honour to be here. To have a chance not only to play under my name but the Canadian name. To do good things by that name would definitely be something special.”
The special opportunity of playing at the Wimbledon Olympics also brings with it special challenges, and although the talented player has prior experience at the All England Tennis Club he is aware that the sheer pressure of participating in the event needs to be “neutralized”. Telling reporters that he will make his time on court “just another match”, Raonic has a plan to make it just another match. Try to make the most of it. I’m just trying to find a way to win.