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Milos Raonic recognized he’s not yet back to top form – he hasn’t played in a tournament since June 29 – but said the fact he’s playing in front of a home crowd makes it easier to cope.

Eric Bolte/USA Today Sports

Insofar as it's possible to look cool after having folded oneself, origami-style, into the back seat of a golf cart, the lanky Milos Raonic pulled it off.

One of the perks of the international tennis circuit is shuttling to and from your practice court, with the driver forced to do crowd control by yelling at the throngs of fans to get out of the way.

So when Raonic, ranked 10th in the world and first in the hearts of the local fans, practised on home soil ahead of his first tournament match in nearly six weeks (he plays in Tuesday's second round of the Rogers Cup, having earned a bye as the eighth seed), considerable vocal forcefulness was required from his driver.

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The Thornhill, Ont., native and strapping right-hander traded languid groundstrokes Sunday with French-born tour veteran Jérémy Chardy, and he thumped a few of his trademark serves.

The 6-foot-5 Raonic is recovering from surgery to fix a pinched nerve in his foot, but he looked crisper than he did on court five – the stands packed with several hundred fans.

A day earlier, he hit with world No. 1 Novak Djokovic, who, as usual, is the man to beat this week.

Raonic recognized in a media session this weekend he's not yet back to top form – he hasn't played in a tournament since June 29 – but said the fact he's playing in front of a home crowd makes it easier to cope.

"You find that extra boost of adrenalin; you find you're just more capable of things and you can easier get past some discomfort and things," the 24-year-old said.

Raonic will also feel good about returning to the facility where he once trained as a junior, and to a stadium court where he played the 2013 Rogers Cup final (losing to Rafael Nadal).

"I can't expect to play great … I understand how it's going to be; I'm just going to try to use everything I can that I've learned over the years," said Raonic, who will face either huge-serving big man Jerzy Janowicz of Poland or big-serving huge man Ivo Karlovic of Croatia (the former is 6 foot 8, the latter is 6 foot 11).

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Much of the attention will of course be on Raonic, but countryman Vasek Pospisil is also a player to watch.

The British Columbian is also working his way back from injury – in his case a wrist problem – and enters the tournament buoyed by a quarter-final appearance at Wimbledon, his best singles result at a Grand Slam.

"I think this is a tournament where I have a really good chance to play well," the 25-year-old said.

Pospisil is another alum of the National Training Centre. He's a player who has tapped into the good tennis vibes in Montreal before.

"It's a lot of really good energy for myself. I'm in a stretch where I feel like I'm playing pretty well and this is my favourite tournament, with the crowd and everything," he said. "In 2013, I raised my level and played well, so I think it will be good to play in Montreal again."

He won his first ATP tour match on the grandstand court at Jarry Park in 2011.

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The next year he played in a victorious Davis Cup tie against South Africa on the same court.

In 2013, he played Raonic in the semis – the deepest he'd gone in a Masters 1000-level event to that point in his career.

And last year he and doubles partner Jack Sock capture the title at Wimbledon.

Given his hectic schedule and the injury layoff – Pospisil recently had an injection into his bothersome arm – he won't play in the doubles competition.

Not that he's given up on the discipline altogether despite his success in singles (he has risen as high as 25th in the world, and currently sits 49th).

"I play doubles for my singles. I'll always play doubles," he said.

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No men's player from these shores has won the tournament formerly known as the Canadian Open since 1958.

Limited though they may be by injury, the best hopes of breaking that string of futility lie with Raonic and Pospisil.

It's not to say they're the only Canucks in the men's draw. Filip Peliwo, a former junior Grand Slam champion who is winding his way up the pro ladder, was granted a wild card entry.

Ditto for Frank Dancevic (215th in the rankings) and Philip Bester (203rd).

Any hopes that more Canadians might join them were dashed in qualifying – Brayden Schnur managed to win a match, but failed to advance to the main draw by losing Sunday.

Disappointment in the qualifying stages won't dim the enthusiasm on the tournament grounds.

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Not when an oncoming golf cart might contain the likes of Raonic or Pospisil.

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