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Raonic out to take Australian Open shot

AAP logoAAP 11/01/2017 Ben McKay

Milos Raonic is delighted to enter the Australian Open as a career-best third seed but he's in no doubt as to where he lies in tennis' food chain.

As world No.3, he's simply the best of the rest.

The super-serving Canadian knows his place, and that's in the pack behind Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic.

"It's a very fine line that separates the two of them and there's a good step forward that separates them from the rest of the group," he said.

"They're both the players to beat.

"I doubt that anybody is going to be winning this tournament without going up against both of them."

Not that Raonic wants to be stuck in the pack forever.

The 26-year-old has pinpointed 2017 as the year he breaks through to claim a maiden major title, and where better than in Melbourne, a tournament he says has been the best of his career.

As a qualifer in 2011, Raonic surged to the fourth round before losing to seventh seed David Ferrer.

Raonic made the last eight in 2015 and the semi-finals in 2016, beating Gael Monfils and Stan Wawrinka on the way.

He held a 2-1 sets lead over Murray before collapsing on court and almost breaking down in his post-match press conference.

It was heartbreaking at the time but Raonic rebounded to make his first grand slam final at Wimbledon, losing to Murray.

He said he couldn't find anything in his 2017 preparation that would prevent him from a serious run at the title this year.

"This has been the greatest and most consistent tournament for me," he said.

"I've always come here early, played well and always had very crucial moments in my career.

"This is where I broke through in 2011. This is where I've consistently made progress. Last year I did some great things as well and hopefully that's not the end of it."

That's where the third seeding helps.

As the best of the rest, Raonic has earned the right to avoid playing either Murray and Djokovic until the semi-final stage.

"It's a big benefit and gives me an opportunity to work my way in," he said.

"But you can't by any means forget there's a lot of good tennis players so you've got to be sharp and ready from whenever you're called up."

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