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Clay perfect preparation for grass, says Raonic

2 min

London (AFP)

Canada's Milos Raonic says he is in great shape mentally thanks to the clay court season as he prepares to try and go one better than last year at the grass court tournaments of Queen's and Wimbledon.

The 26-year-old big serving Canadian, runner-up to British star Andy Murray at both Queen's and then Wimbledon in 2016, told The Times he feels even better having recovered from a hamstring injury which he said had been "exhausting mentally".

"Since I have started playing well on grass, the one thing I've accepted is that I won't play my best tennis (on the surface)," said Raonic ahead Queen's which gets underway on Monday.

"I'm excited to get out on the grass. It's where I can succeed and have great results, hopefully this year and in many years to come.

"One thing that does wonders for me leading up to the grass is how much more I have to put myself through mentally on the clay.

"It makes things flow a bit easier on the grass courts, takes a bit off mentally and lets me focus more on the physical aspects of moving, staying low, being a bit more aggressive and coming forward, rather than focusing so much on lateral movement," added Raonic, who reached the fourth round at the French Open.

Raonic was beaten by Murray in straight sets in last year's Wimbledon final but believes it opened up a whole new vista for him.

"I got to appreciate it at the end of the year when I was trying to finish at world No 3," said Raonic, again beaten by Murray after reaching the last four at the ATP World Tour finals.

"Without that result I wouldn't have been in that position, so that is when I had a chance to appreciate it.

"It wasn't as many steps forward as I would have liked, but it was something which was significant for me.

"Despite the bitter taste at Wimbledon, it was the best feeling I've had on court and the most volatile of feeling great for winning the semi-final (he beat Roger Federer) and then disappointment at not winning the final."

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