Raonic Reveals What Drove His Comeback After 'Not Picking Up Racquet For A Year'

Raonic Reveals What Drove His Comeback After 'Not Picking Up Racquet For A Year'

by Sebastian Dahlman

Milos Raonic made his comeback to tennis at the 2023 Libema Open, beating Miomir Kecmanovic in straight sets.

The Canadian hasn't played in a very long time so the expectations were quite low. The level he produced was pretty good though as he beat a decent player in his comeback. It's been quite a journey for the Canadian who is just thankful about being able to play on a tennis court again.

Speaking after the match, Raonic admitted that it was pretty nerve-wracking being on a tennis court and playing in front of people again but for the most part relief and joy is what he felt about the whole experience.

"Relief and joy. Relief I can step on court and play some good tennis without serious pain. Relief that I didn't poop the bed in the first match, and also a joy to be competing in front of people."

Raonic's career came to an abrupt end which is how these things generally go. It's rarely the fairytale ending as even legends of the game like Roger Federer know fully well. Raonic himself felt really crappy about the way it all unfolded.

"I let people know, 'I'm done. I'm retired.' I kept that close to myself. It felt like a crappy way to do it, but I let people know that. I was pretty content with that decision, because I was in considerable amounts of pain day in, day out. It didn't seem like there was a decision to make. It just seemed logical."

After it happened Raonic completely forgot about tennis. He didn't think about it, he didn't do anything related to it but eventually, he started to think about it more and more. He wanted a proper send-off. He wanted to do it on the court.

"I went a bit more than a year without picking up a racquet. I wanted to do a proper farewell. I wanted to play Wimbledon one more time. This year the Canadian Open is in Toronto. That was a big thing for me."

This wasn't his first attempt and getting back to tennis. He tried it a few times before but every time something happened. Whether it was another injury or COVID, Raonic simply couldn't put it together until he finally gave himself an ultimatum and this time it worked out.

I put an ultimatum on myself. I'm not going to stick around waiting another two years to go to Toronto. I'm not going to stick around another 12 months waiting for Wimbledon. This was a final go at it for me. And things have gone well. I've put in the work every day that I could. Some days it just wasn't possible but sucked it up and tried to make the most of each day.

Like many athletes, Raonic struggled with the mental side in particular. He had to get used to everything again, practising, the grind, playing, the rules, all of it. It was a tough thing to overcome especially because the game changed since he last played. It's not the tennis he remembers but it's still the game he loves. The goal is simple, play Wimbledon and play in Toronto.

I will step out on court at Wimbledon. I will step out on court in Toronto one more time. Beyond that, I'm not committing to anything at this point. After doing tennis for so many years and it being my whole life and then being away from it completely for a year, I realized life on the other side is okay too.


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