Milos Raonic has had an up and down season to this point. At times Raonic has shown he is capable of raising his play to that next level so he can compete and win in the big matches. Other times however, he has shown he is just not ready yet to be a legitimate top contender at a grand slam.
Can Roland Garros be that breakthrough for Raonic? Can Milos Raonic win the French Open?
Well that is not looking likely at this point. Raonic has had surgery on his right foot to repair a damaged nerve. He has pulled out of Rome and it is unknown if he will be ready for the French Open when it starts in two weeks time.
This foot injury is nothing new for the 24-year-old Canadian. He was forced to withdraw in his quarter-final match against Tomas Berdych because of it in Monte-Carlo.
So the foot leaves a rather large question mark beside Raonic for the French Open. Now, however, let’s say he is healthy and ready to compete in Paris, is he capable of winning?
It will be a difficult ask of the Thornhill Ontario native who has yet to win a tournament this season, but he has had his chances.
Raonic started off strong in 2015, he reached the finals of Brisbane where he went up against Roger Federer. It was in that match Raonic showed he is not only capable of controlling matches with his serve, but with his sheer power of his forehand. He pushed Federer around the court. It was not like he was pushing around some everyday tour player, this was Roger Federer, although not in his prime, it was still quite the positive sign from Raonic.
Raonic went on to lose the match, but he had Federer on the ropes deep into the third set until he had a mental lapse and was broken. Raonic seemed to have learnt from that mental lapse because of what he accomplished in Indian Wells.
Raonic’s next great chance in 2015 came at the Masters 1000 event in Indian Wells. He made his way to the quarter-finals where he was up against, yet again, one of the greatest players in tennis history, Rafael Nadal. Raonic was a career 0-5 against Nadal heading in and that day looked no different early on.
Nadal took the first set 6-4 and it seemed as though he was going to close out the second set in a tiebreak, but Raonic thought otherwise. Unlike in Brisbane where the more pressure added on Raonic he eventually succumbed to it, in his match against Nadal he did everything, but succumb to the pressure. Raonic saved three match points in the tiebreak to force a third set which he won 7-5. For the first time in his career Raonic defeated Nadal.
Raonic showed once again another positive sign he is capable of winning against the top players on tour. He has the skill and has the mental awareness to do so. Now, he needs to work on his consistency.
In the semi-final Raonic went up against Federer and this time he was beaten easily in straights. This is the consistency part he needs to work on. Many players have shown that they can beat one of the top players on tour, whether it’s a Novak Djokovic, Nadal, or Federer, but the crucial step is beating the next one in the following match.
To win a tournament, most of the time a player will have to go through not only one of the top players, but two and sometimes three. If Raonic is to breakthrough in Paris, albeit if he’s healthy, he must be able to win against top players in back to back matches.
So if Raonic is healthy will he win the French Open? No, he has not shown the consistency needed to be able to win a grand slam yet.