Canadian young gun Milos Raonic says he is a definite contender for next week’s Australian Open following his narrow loss at the Brisbane International to Roger Federer on Sunday.
Federer won an enthralling final 6-4, 6-7 (2/7), 6-4 — the Swiss great’s 1,000th win at tour level.
But Ranoic, 24, won over plenty of fans as he came back from a set and a break down to push the 17-time Grand Slam winner all the way.
The Canadian said his performance demonstrated how much his game had developed over the off-season.
“You put me in that same situation a few months and weeks ago (down a set and a break) and I think I could be out of that stadium pretty quickly,” he said.
“I wish I could have served better in general… but I performed really well in other aspects.
“(There’s) not really too much else I can ask for myself. I couldn’t asked for a better way to go into the Australian Open.”
Raonic said he was in better shape at the start of the season than at any other stage of his career.
“I gave myself an opportunity to be in a final here against one of the best players in the world and gave myself a pretty good opportunity to win,” the world number eight said.
“I didn’t cross that line, but I can’t really ask more of myself other than obviously trying to get a win today.
“The progress I’ve been making, especially over the last six weeks — physically as a tennis player, technically, and just the way I go about things even mentally — I’m happy with that.
“I feel like I’m just going to get better over the next eight or nine days.”
He added that the Australian Open was a realistic goal, given his current form.
“I can put myself in the position to be (a winner),” he said.
“There is a lot of tennis to be played, there are a lot of things I need to do.
“But I feel like I have the confidence, and I believe I have that ability within myself.”