MELBOURNE, Australia — Milos Raonic dedicated his third-round victory at the Australian Open on Saturday to victims of a shooting in Canada which left four people dead and at least two injured.
A gunman opened fire at the La Loche Community School in a remote aboriginal community in Saskatchewan, and at a second location.
"Today, before I stepped out on court, it was a difficult day back home,'' the 25-year-old Canadian, his voice sounding emotional at times, said after his win over Viktor Troicki.
"Unfortunately in Saskatchewan in a very small community there was a shooting at a high school, so I want to take a moment and give thoughts to that community, the family, the students and the school affected. We wish you all the best.''
Raonic did not speak about his match, as is the usual custom in on-court interviews.
"Today's victory was for that community, and a quick recovery and all of Canada, and I'm sure the world is behind you,'' he said.
"I want to take a moment and give thoughts to that community, the family, the students and the school affected. We wish you all the best.''
Raonic later explained that he made his on-court comments because it was important to let any Canadians watching the match on television know it was on his mind.
"I know there is a lot of Canadians that stay up,'' to watch the tennis, Raonic said. "Stuff like this doesn't happen much back home. I'm sure not just in that small community, but throughout Canada it was a lot of people that were sort of heartbroken over it.''
He said the incident caused him to reflect on his family's move from Montenegro to Canada in 1994 — when Raonic was 4.
"Canada has been phenomenal to myself, my brother, my sister, their kids, my parents,'' he said. "They came there. They worked very hard. They came with great education, very good heads on their shoulders with the simple thought of going there with almost nothing and just saying, 'We're doing this to give our kids the best opportunity possible.'''
Also on HuffPost:
Also on HuffPost