Mental maturity behind surge in ranking: Raonic

Chennai: Canadian tennis star Milos Raonic credited greater mental maturity for his breakout season last year, when he surged from the depths of a 150 plus ranking to his career best ranking of 25 in the men`s singles roster in 2011.

"I worked on a lot of things but a big part of it was maturity," Raonic, the fourth seed at the Chennai Open 2012 here, told reporters.

"From a mental standpoint, just learning about my game. Learning to think what I needed to do for my game to be effective. (Nowadays) always in the pressure moments, I know the shots and the patterns I believe in the most. Whereas before, in the big moments, I would do something quite different," said the World No 31.

"But now I have such confidence in my game that I stick to the things that I do best. So it helps me get out of the tight moment. I learnt to accept things, to try to find a way to win. Every match you play, even if you`re not playing your best, if you`re playing the next match, you`re in the tournament. A lot of things came together, learning more about myself, trying to stay calm and collected," he added.

Raonic, who was born in what is now the southeastern European nation of Montenegro, moved to Canada with his family when he was three. Last year, he played as a qualifier here but lost in the final qualifying round to Frenchman Edouard Roger-Vesselin in a close encounter.

However, he went from strength to strength from thereon, reaching the fourth round of the subsequent Australian Open, in the process becoming the first qualifier to reach the fourth round of a Grand Slam since 1999.