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Milos Raonic bids farewell to Canadian fans in Toronto

Dustin Pollack
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Raonic is ready for his first Olympics. (Photo courtesy Alex Jones Photography)

While a tournament like Wimbledon carries more tennis history and tradition than the Olympics, Canadian Milos Raonic knows there's something prestigious about playing for your country on sports biggest stage.

"I never really watched Olympic tennis but at the same time as a kid you see the podiums and you see how [the athletes] are treated and respected, and to have the opportunity to put myself in that situation I think is an honour," Raonic said at an appearance in Toronto.

"What I saw as a kid, to maybe be able to fulfill that and get onto the podium would be amazing."

[Vote: What's Canada's most memorable Summer Olympics moment?]

Raonic met reporters and a small group of fans early Tuesday afternoon at Commerce Court in downtown Toronto to say how much he appreciated the support and was looking forward to representing Canada in London. He'll travel to Barcelona and spend the rest of the week training and preparing before heading the Games early next week.

It was just three weeks ago that the No. 24 ATP-ranked player was eliminated from Wimbledon in the second round by American Sam Querrey, so the Olympics represent his second shot at success at the historic All England Club.

He admits that as an athlete heading to the Olympics for the first time, being a little bit nervous is natural, but once he steps on the court he expects all of that to disappear.

[Slideshow: Milos Raonic speaks at Commerce Court in Toronto]

"I think it's a great atmosphere to play in and a great opportunity," he said. "To feel that national pride is a very big thing, you will feel it in London, there will be plenty of Canadians there, but you can feel it back home too which is a great thing."

And as for his goal in London, the 21-year-old kept it pretty simple.

"I hope I have the chance to contend. As an athlete, I would not be happy saying silver or bronze, my goal is to go for gold and I wouldn't be going if I didn't believe I had the opportunity to [do so.]"

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