Milos Raonic: What the Future Holds for Canada’s Greatest Tennis Player
It has already been a banner year for Canada’s first legitimate tennis star. Following the Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell, Raonic jumped two places to No. 23 in the world, his career best and the best ever for a Canadian on the ATP Tour.
Not only has Raonic won two titles already, in Chennai and defending his title in San Jose, he also reached the final in Memphis for the second year in a row. Raonic has a number of wins against Top 10 players, such as Nicolas Almagro and Janko Tipsarevic and easily the most impressive was beating World No. 4 Andy Murray this past week in Barcelona. In many ways he was equally impressive in losing a tightly contested match to World No. 6 David Ferrer 7-6(2), 7-6(5) in the semis, in which both players won exactly 180 points apiece. However, questions remain as to what the rest of the year holds for Raonic.
Because Raonic injured his hip last year at Wimbledon, he missed the entire US summer hard court season, including the US Open. This means that he only has to defend 265 points the rest of the year. To put this into context he won 180 points this past week for reaching the semis in Barcelona, a Tier III or 500-level event.
As a result of his fast start, Raonic has amassed an impressive 1,160 points this year alone, only about a third of the way through the season, with 3 Grand Slam events and 6 Masters Series 1000 events remaining. A deep run in any of these nine events would likely propel Raonic into the Top 15, with a Top 10 finish a legitimate possibility.
Raonic is clearly most comfortable on the fast-paced hard courts, which is tailored perfectly to his big serving, power game. If healthy, I expect him to do well in a number of tournaments during the US Hard Court Season this summer and it will be particularly interesting to see how he handles the support from his hometown crowd in Toronto in August.
However, injuries remain a legitimate concern, as they do with any big man. Raonic already picked up an ankle injury that caused him to withdraw from the Miami Masters last month. Nevertheless, if he can avoid the injury bug this year, he will likely continue as ascension into the upper echelon of the tennis elite.
These are exciting times to be a Canadian tennis fan.
…and that is the last word.