Milos Raonic is feeling confident heading into the 2016 ATP Tour season, despite coming up short against Rafael Nadal in the final of the Mubadala World Tennis Championship in Abu Dhabi.
Raonic lost 7-6 (7-2) 6-3 to Nadal in the final on Saturday, but is confident he is following the right processes for a successful year.
The big-serving Canadian tested Nadal early, only to be outlasted in a 54-minute first-set tie-break and the latter was not to be denied from that point as he broke in the fourth game of the second stanza to clinch his third Mubadala crown.
"It's been going well, you know. I've been doing things right, incorporating a few new things into the game and always looking to improve, so all I can be is happy with that," Raonic said.
"I think I was coming in quite a bit more, working my way up into the net. The only thing I was really disappointed about was I didn't do a good job adjusting on the return of serve, which I know I could have done a little bit better, maybe a little bit earlier in the match to give myself a little bit more opportunity on his serve. I did the right things to put the pressure on him."
Despite the loss in the final, Raonic said the Abu Dhabi-based exhibition tournament had served its purpose in helping him prepare for 2016.
"It's been phenomenal, a premium way to set up 2016. You get three great matches against great players and you get a lot to build off of, a lot of insight and hopefully things can keep going well through the first month of the year and maybe I can play Rafa in the later stage of a bigger tournament," he said.
Raonic recently added former world number one Carlos Moya to his coaching team and said the influence of the Spaniard had helped him to better understand the mental side of the game.
"It's going to be a great compliment to my team. I have a big team around me and guys that love what they do," said Raonic, who parted with coach Ivan Ljubicic late last year.
"They really want to help me dearly and he's no exception to that. I think he bring a lot of experience, understanding, but also at the same time he's going to work very hard with me on court and he's also going to give me that kind of calm and peace in moments maybe where I can't find it on my own off the court and before important matches.
"I'm feeling good, I'm feeling great, I know I am definitely in significantly better shape than I ever have been before. So I am doing a lot of the right work. Hopefully my body appreciates it.
"I'm very confident. I think I am doing a lot of the right things. I think I have to find maybe a little bit of a balance.
"Today, serve and volleying probably 60 to 70 percent, of the time even on second services, but find a little bit of a balance. Definitely something I want to incorporate into my game and I feel like I can do really good things. I'm playing well, I'm fit and dammit if I'm not hungry!"