Former Wimbledon runner-up Milos Raonic says that the possibility of a summer without Wimbledon would be hard to accept but it would be the right choice based on the global pandemic. Roanic is currently training in Miami during the tennis shutdown.
Speaking to TSN Canada in an exclusive interview, the former World No. 3 says, "It'd be a hard decision to accept at first but it's also going to be one that you understand is completely the right choice with everything going on around the world.
Once you enter those gates, even if it's during the practice week before the event, it's the tournament that strikes you the most. It's not the biggest venue, the courts aren't as big as they may be at the other slams, but there is the tradition there.
You notice the old-fashioned things that they've really stuck to. There are no sponsor boards in the back of the courts, the grass is pristine, they make sure all the players respect the court, I think the all-white (clothing) looks great as well so those are all things that growing up you really appreciate.
It's the only grand slam final I've made. I've consistently played some of my best tennis there. It's a tournament I look forward to going to every year. Many times I've come to it post-injury and managed to play well so it's sort of helped me rebound my season many times.
It's a place that's been very good to me and I'm very thankful for it. It's going to be hard not being able to go there if that's the decision, because it's always been a priority of mine to be healthy for that time of year.
But, you know, it will give me something more to look forward to in a year's time. The news is kind of hard to follow these days, because there's not much positive really coming out. It's all growing numbers and escalating pretty quickly so I think it's important we focus on that.
So, if there is no Wimbledon it will be a sad and difficult to accept, but you will be over it pretty fast knowing it’s the right choice. I think sport is not even secondary on the list of things that need to be going on right now."
The Canadian has also got a new puppy with his girlfriend Camille Ringoir and says that is something he has wanted for a long time. "I remember when we first moved with my family, when we first immigrated to Canada in '94, I always kept asking my parents for a puppy.
Back in Yugoslavia, for me, having domestic pets wasn't a thing. You know, we had a lot of stray dogs around and I would always bring them home and that kind of thing, but it's not a thing that could work. I remember my parents promised me when we moved from an apartment to a house, 'You can have a puppy,' but then I was playing tennis and then tennis was always the reason it wasn't possible, at least from them to me.
And then I started travelling and it's something I just didn't even think about. So, I said, 'If this is going to happen, it has to happen now and then I'll figure it out after,' and so far it’s been incredible."
While many players were upset at the decision of the French Tennis Federation to move the French Open to October, Raonic says it was the right decision to move the event although the manner in which the decision was made was not correct, "Overall, is it the right choice? Yes.
Did it happen in a way where the players felt valued and respected? I don't necessarily think so. The day it came out I learned about it over Twitter. We have this massive group chat with 70 of the top 100 players and everybody did learn it over Twitter.
I think only really one person was reached out to ... and even the president of the ATP, as well, was only reached out to so that's only two people and they weren’t even looking for opinion it was just more about, 'Hey, it's a heads up, we're going to do this, we're not asking anybody, we don't care, this is what needs to happen.'
I understand it from their perspective. They've done a lot of renovations this year, they've put in a new roof, they're still working on it. I know it's not finished so the question is when will the French government allow them to have that many workers in a tight space to finish construction.
That's also going to be another factor for them as well, because I don't think you can necessarily play while it's a construction zone. I think they wanted to secure a week, because they were nervous that a lot of tournaments will be looking to move ...
I think they said, 'We're going to go there and we'll bank on the idea that players will want to play grand slams rather than smaller ATP events and the Laver Cup.' And, at the end of the day, grand slams are the thing that is the most meaningful to us, that is the most meaningful to us from a personal standpoint ...
players want to achieve big things and also financially, because of their size they’re able to reward the players that do well the best. So, I think they sort of said, 'Hey, we're the French Open, we know it, we're going to go there and we think people will show up,' and I think people will.
The only question is how is it going to (be for) players who play three-of-five sets (over) four out of five weeks and with a change of surface as well. So, some players that don't do well at the US Open will have an advantage automatically, because instead of seven days of preparation it's going to be 20 or 16 days and that's a big difference.
So, it's the right decision because we want to play and we want to play as much as possible, we just sort of felt a little bit offended by how it happened."