“Because I love that game.”
That was my answer when someone asked me when I was twelve why I played tennis. I wanted to be playing it all the time. It appealed to me because it was an individual competition. It’s you. You’re responsible. That’s it.
My family moved from Montenegro to Toronto when I was young. By age six, I was already hooked on tennis and played whenever I could. When it came to balancing school and tennis, we worked out an arrangement so I could do both and excel at both. In fact, through a combination of classroom and online studies, I completed high school in two years and made a tough decision against college and decided to turn professional in 2008.
Being ultracompetitive has always kept me focused on one goal: winning. I hate to lose. So I am relentlessly driven to always play better today than I played yesterday. As basketball great Kobe Bryant once said, “Be willing to sacrifice anything, but compromise nothing in your quest to be the best.” That’s me. What will it take to get better? Show me and I’m there. To be the best at something – not just tennis – it takes a lot of work and dedication and professionalism, and it doesn’t happen quickly.
The one thing that really keeps me motivated, waking up early and having long days of training is that I feel that I can improve everywhere. So we work on everything. I feel that I have so much more to achieve so that keeps me very eager and very hungry to get out there and make sure I’m doing the right work.
Being a professional tennis player has brought me many great things in my life but the opportunity to travel has always been one of the greatest gifts. Getting to travel all over the world and to see all of my fans has really been one of my greatest joys and led to some of my favorite memories.
It has also been truly remarkable to be a part of the growth of Canadian tennis over the last few years at home. The hard work has really shown great progress at the grassroots level and to be the highest ranked Canadian in history really encourages me to keep growing and challenging myself for bigger and better things. No matter how good it gets, I know I have to keep working.
In 2011, after I got hurt in Wimbledon, I really had time to sit down and think while I did rehab ten hours a day. I started to think how I could grow something alongside my career and help kids who are physically disadvantaged. So in 2012, I started the Milos Raonic Foundation, not only for the kids but also every parent should be able to help push their kids to get to those goals.
The Milos Raonic Foundation supports children from disadvantaged backgrounds in order to remove economic, physical and other barriers that might prevent them from becoming healthy, productive members of society. This includes providing kids who need them with prosthetic limbs to help them reach their full potentials.
In both my tennis game and my life off the court, I constantly strive to get better at everything I do every day. It’s an ongoing goal. I’m never satisfied with just enough. That’s not how I think. Whether it’s on the court or off, good enough isn’t good enough. I can always do better and I work hard to make that a reality every day.